Huan Xi Tuo – a traditional snack in Hubei

huan xi tuo

Huan Xi Tuo (欢喜坨), originating from Wuhan, Hubei Province, is a distinctive traditional snack found in various regions including Wuhan, Jingzhou, Mianyang (now Xiantao), Tianmen, Jiangling, with a history spanning over a century. It consists of glutinous rice flour rolled into round balls, coated with sesame seeds, and deep-fried until golden brown. After frying, the outer layer becomes crispy while the inside remains soft, yielding a vibrant hue and a delightful crunch followed by a burst of sweet sesame flavor.

In the 1930s, there was a shop on Cotton Street in Hanyang run by a person from Mianyang, specializing in “Huan Xi Tuo.” It became a popular breakfast item during that time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg glutinous rice
  • 300 g sugar
  • 150 g sesame seeds
  • 80 g flour
  • A little artificial sweetener
  • 2 kg sesame oil (approx. 250 g used)

Instructions:

  1. Wash the glutinous rice thoroughly and soak it in clean water for a day. Grind it into a fine paste and let it dry into a lump.
  2. Break the dried lump into crumbs, mix it with brown sugar, artificial sweetener, and flour evenly. Add water and knead it until smooth. Let it rest.
  3. Roll the dough into strips, then divide it into 60 small pieces (each weighing about 35 g). Roll each piece into a ball and coat it with sesame seeds.
  4. Heat sesame oil in a pan until it reaches 70% heat, then fry the dough balls until they float and turn slightly brown. Use a spatula to gently press them against the side of the pot, helping them to fully expand. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it may crush the balls and prevent them from puffing up properly. Remove from the oil when the balls have a slightly firm outer skin and a reddish-brown color.

Huan Xi Tuo, with its crispy exterior, soft interior, and rich sesame flavor, stands as a testament to the culinary heritage of Hubei Province, offering a delightful treat that has delighted locals and visitors alike for generations.

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