The first time I had banh tieu, or Vietnamese doughnuts, was while I was wandering the heart of Vancouver’s Little Saigon with my sister-in-law. We’d already eaten banh mi but were on the hunt for sweets. When she saw the little puffs of fried dough, she told me we had to get them.
Sweet, doughy fried bread. Can there be anything better? The banh tieu we had that day were cold and oily, but delicious. As mediocre as I thought those banh tieu were, I saw the potential. Good banh tieu are round, puffy, and slightly sweet with a hollow centre. They taste best when they’re hot and fresh, but most places here make them in the morning and sell them throughout the day.
Luckily for me, my father-in-law is an excellent banh tieu maker. It’s one of the only things my mother-in-law lets him do in the kitchen. It’s a simple recipe of flour, sugar, yeast, baking soda and water. Mix it all together, let it proof, roll it out and deep-fry. Sounds simple right?
The simple things get me every single time! My dough came together nicely, but when it was time to roll out the doughnuts, every single one turned out misshapen and they didn’t puff! Well, they puffed a little, but they were no where near as puffy as my father-in-law’s. Guess I’ll have to work on my banh tieu making skills. In the mean time, I’ll head over to the in-law’s to enjoy master puffs.
Vietnamese Doughnut/Banh Tieu recipe
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp sugar
1/2 warm water
Mix the dry ingredients and slowly add the warm water in a well in the middle. Stir to combine into a shaggy ball. Knead until the dough comes together, cover and let sit in a warm spot for 40 minutes.
Knead the dough on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 10 if you’re making larger banh tieu, or 15 if you want more mini doughnuts. Roll out with a rolling pin until about 1 mm thick.
Deep fry in 350˚F oil until golden brown and puffy. Drain on paper towels and enjoy hot. Alternatively, you can pan fry them in about a 1-2 cm of oil.