How to make Hong Kong-Style French Toast ？Today we wanted to teach you a modern Hong Kong classic, Fried French Toast.
This Cantonese version is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and commonly stuffed with a variety of tasty… stuff. Now.. for those that’ve never eaten around Hong Kong, your very first question might naturally be why there even is a Hong Kong style of French toast.
How To Make Hong Kong-style French Toast?
After all, why a dish that was originally Roman might have a French variant or a Spanish version is probably pretty straightforward, but a Cantonese one a little less so.
See, Hong Kong-style French toast was borne out of the Cantonese Tradition of Bing Sutt, or ‘ice rooms’, which originally were eateries in Guangzhou that specialized in their own style of Canto-Western fusion.
Post ’49 though, a good chunk of that Bing Suhtt tradition ended up moving across the delta into Hong Kong – where they were greeted with a very British system of rigid business licensing requirements.
The Bing Sutt generally didn’t have the capital to swing for proper restaurant licenses, so instead they operated as so-called ‘snack shops’.
which limited their menu to relatively humble fare like tea, sandwiches, and toast.
So when it came to making a French toast, those snack shops ended up developing a much more economical-in-Asia variant. For the coating, they’d skip the milk, and for the bread, they’d use that more chewy sort that you can find at Cantonese bakeries.
But to counteract that kind of bread’s intrinsic sorta softness, they’d shallow fry it till crisp, and then serve with butter, honey, or condensed milk.
So then. For you, when it comes to bread… to make this dish you want something cheap, chewy, and mass-produced. Save your homemade or bougie artisanal bread for some other use.
something with a bit of chew like potato bread or wonderbread is absolutly perfect.
And while it can be a bit stale, unlike the Western style it doesn’t have to be.
Now, using that pre-sliced bread we will need to add a bit of verticality to the mix, and this is where our stuffing is gunna come into play.
We’ll be sticking three slices of bread together using that ultimate sandwich glue, that is, peanut butter – here we used tablespoons worth for each toast.
Now, when frying, the crusts end up getting a bit overly hard and tough, so just cut those off… munch on them as a snack for the cook… and this toast is ready to go.
Of course, while peanut butter is the classic stuffing here, obviously it’s far from the only choice. Another common sight is ovaltine toast, which uses ovalmaltine spread for the stuffing.
To balance its sweetness though we suggest adding an eighth of teaspoon of salt to your tablespoon of Ovaltine spread, and for us,
we also like to smear a touch of peanut butter around the edges to help everything stick.
Now. To fry, I know that whenever we deep fry in a wok the percentage of you that end up actually making these recipes plummets into the single digits.
so fear not, today we’ll be shallow frying in a pan with about a half-inch of oil, which is another classic set-up for this in Hong Kong. So just heat that up over a medium flame, and as that’s going toss a half teaspoon of salt in with three or four eggs and beat that real well til no stray strands of egg white remain.
Then add your prepped toast to the egg, leaving it there for about five seconds so that the egg’ll absorb a touch, then twist it all around, being sure to cover and absorb each side with egg.
Then once your oil’s up to about 140 centigrade, or when it’s bubbling round a pair of chopsticks, toss in your bread.
Now, you’ll want to dip each of the sides in at first for about ten seconds or so to seal up those edges, then, you can drop the bread in. Keeping everything at around 140, let that go for two minutes, then, flip it.
This side is gonna be our ‘show’ side, so your goal here is to get the top there evenly golden brown by continuously spooning the oil in that pan-basting sort of hand motion.
Then once that side is nice and golden brown and everything’s starting to puff up a bit, after about 90 seconds, optionally further brown those sides there for good measure, then take it out and toss on a baking tray.
Now, to serve, we really like smothering it with condensed milk, but honey or golden syrup are two other classic choices. Then just toss on a knob of butter, and with that your peanut butter stuffed toast is good to go.
Then for that ovaltine-stuffed one, a common move is to serve by dusting it first with a bunch of ovaltine powder.
then hitting it with condensed milk or your syrup of choice… and, of course, that mandatory knob of butter.
Now, peanut butter and malt chocolate aside, if you’ve been to Guangdong any time in like the last decade, you’d know that these days one of the most popular stuffed French toasts is a gooey salted egg yolk version, so we wanted to teach you that one too.
It’s not difficult but it is a bit more involved, because you’ll need to make some of this salted egg yolk filling in advance.
Now, if any of you have watched our Dim sum custard buns video, this is basically the same thing as the gooey filling over there.
Just start it off by mixing in a half teaspoon of Cantonese rose wine with two salted eggs, and steam those covered for ten minutes. Then take those out, toss them on a chopping board, and smash those flat.
You wanna do a real bang-up job making sure that this’s nice and pasty though, so take your time with it. you’re looking for something about like this in the end.
Then next, to a bowl toss in 20 grams of sugar, 5 grams of instant custard, 10 grams of milk powder, half teaspoon cornstarch, 20 grams of coconut milk, 20 grams of condensed milk, and mix well.
Then on your stove toss 65mL of water to a pot and to that add in a half teaspoon of gelatin powder.
Mix that over a medium-low flame til it’s dissolved, then add in 30 grams of butter.
Once all that butter’s melted, add in your bowl of stuff from before, and continue to cook for a minute or two til that’s all combined. Then heat off, add in the mashed salted egg yolk, and give that a real good whisk together until the egg’s is evenly incorporated. Then just transfer over to a plate, cover, and let that set for a couple of hours in the fridge or 30 minutes in the freezer.
Now, we should say that what we just made there ends up giving you a more ‘gooey’ salted egg filling, but if you usually get this outside at chachaanteng the filling’s usually much ‘runnier’.
We prefer ours gooey, but if you disagree, just cut out that cornstarch and knock the gelatin quantity in half.
Now, to assemble this one, we’ll be cutting out a hole in our middle slice, then sticking these together with peanut butter.
Then just toss in as much salted egg yolk filling as’ll fit in your hole, then cover, and cut off the crusts just as before.
Then dip that into your beaten egg just as before, and fry in 140 centigrade oil just as before.
The only real difference here is that you really gotta respect the fact that you do have a lava-like cauldron of liquid goo nestled inside your toast that’s frying in your non-insignificant quantity of bubbling oil.
So don’t push it, once it’s just starting to puff, take it out, and don’t bother further browning the sides. Just smother it with some condensed milk, hit it with that knob of butter, and your salted egg yolk French toast is also ready to devour.
So right, over the years for the glue that is used to stick the bread together, besides peanut butter there’s also jam, butter, or a mixture between butter and peanut butter. and even kaya sauce from Malaysia and Singapore. So just play around with it, and find your favorite.
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