Yau kok zai 油角仔 are crunchy peanut crescents, a very popular snack for CNY especially Cantonese. I have been making these since I was a kid, it's a must have this time of the year. I like to make mine really tiny, it's labour intensive I quite enjoyed making them.
They are crunchy inside out, so can keep for several weeks in airtight container.
For this recipe, this will make about 75 tiny crescents or less if they are bigger.
300g plain flour (all purpose)
15g cooking oil (or melted lard), I like to use 50: 50 cooking oil and lard
15g melted lard (or you can use oil, lard tastes better and pastry is crunchier)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs (beaten)
125 - 150g roasted peanuts (preferably non salted), larger crescents use more peanuts
about 30g dry roasted sesame seeds
60 - 80g sugar (more if you like it sweet up to 150g), 60 - 80g sugar is not very sweet at all how I like mine
4 - 5 cups of oil for deep frying, best use fresh oil
*I normally roast the peanuts using raw peanuts with skin, dry roast in a wok using medium low heat and keep stirring for about 9 - 10 minutes till golden brown. You can also roast in the oven but I find dry roasting in a pan/wok the flavour is better. After roasting, put them in a colander, leave to cool for few minutes till cool enough to handle, then put the colander in the sink (dry) or on a pile of newpaper. Keep rubbing the peanuts with your hand and also rubbing them against the colander, this will release and pulverise the skins gradually falling out of the colander which you can clean up later.
For the sesame seeds, use raw seeds and dry roast in a pan/wok at medium heat for few minutes till light golden brown.
- Make the pastry. Mix sugar and salt into the flour. Add fat and oil then rub till combined. Then pour in the beaten egg, mix with a fork or spoon first then by hand. If the dough is dry add water a bit at a time. Mix till all the dry crumbs are absorbed leaving a clean bowl. Form the dough into a lump by gentle pressing. Do not knead the dough. Cover and leave it to rest for 20 - 30 minutes at room temp. If you make this in a very warm weather, put the dough in the fridge for about about 15 - 20 minutes.
- Then prepare the filling. Put everything in a food processor and blitz till fine.
- Cut the dough into 2. Roll out one piece first with some dusting of flour. Thickness of the dough needs to be quite thin, around 1.5 - 2mm.
- Use a round cutter and cut out the dough into small rounds. For tiny crescents use 2.5 inch (6cm) cutter, for larger crescents use maybe a 3 inch cutter.
- Take out the cut out pieces, mix leftover with the other fresh piece of dough and do the same again, rolling and cutting. You can also use the last leftover dough, squeeze together and roll again till finish.
- Put the cut rounds aside and cover.
- Take one piece, slightly damp half of the round facing you with water. Add about 1 tsp of filling (for tiny crescent only, large crescent use more filling), try not to put too much filling or it will be difficult to seal. Fold over and press the edge firm to seal and press it quite thin. If there is any filling overflowing to the edge, remove some by shaking it out and seal as normal.
- Make sure no split open edge at this stage. Then start crimping.
- Keep wrapping and crimping all other crescents till finished. Will take a while especially if you are not too experienced. Keep the finished crescents covered to prevent drying out.
- Heat the oil till medium hot, put one crescent in to test. If you see lots of tiny bubbles the oil is hot enough, continue adding in about 1/4 of the whole batch. If using less oil, fry fewer one at a time. Once the oil is hot enough keep the heat at medium low. Keep the crescents moving and flip over if necessary. The crescents need to be fried till crispy and crunchy all through, so they will take a while about 10 minutes (or more for larger crescents). If oil temp. is too hot, they will brown quickly on the outside and still soft inside. Fry the crescents till medium golden brown. Take them out and drain on paper towels.
- Once cooled put in airtight containers. Will keep for about 2 weeks (if they lasts that long!)