A type of Chinese doughnut, Bánh Tiêu is stands out from the rest due to its unique characteristics. They should be light, round, slightly sweet and crunchy center with a hollow center. I got this recipe from a Vietnamese cookbook authored by the well known Madam Quốc Việt aka Gia Chánh Quốc Việt. The original recipe instructs to prove a starter dough for 12 hours before making the main dough which then has to prove for an additional hour before frying. However, I after a few times of following the recipe exactly I came to ponder why not just mix everything at once and fry the dough immediately afterwards? After all the leavener in this recipe is baking ammonia; unlike yeast, baking ammonia doesn’t “grow” if you prove it, so what’s the point of proving the starter? So into the kitchen I went to test my new theory. Happy to say, I was a success!

Original Recipe:
-40g bread flour
-50g water
-1/4tsp baking ammonia

*Mix everything together and prove overnight (12 hours).

Main Dough:

-250g bread flour
-100g water
-80g sugar
-3/4tsp salt
-sesame seeds

*Mix together starter, sugar, water, and salt. Add this mixture to the flour and knead to form a smooth dough. Prove for ½ hour, divide into 10-12 portions, roll into balls and sprinkle sesame seeds on both sides of the dough balls, prove for another ½ hour. Finally, heat a frying pan with enough oil deep fry. Roll balls into flat circles and drop into the hot oil. Within seconds the dough pieces should float to the surface and puff up. Remove when golden.

½ hour version (based on the original version above):
-290g bread flour
-150g water
-1/4 tsp baking ammonia
-80g sugar
-3/4 tsp salt
-sesame seeds

*Mix together flour and sugar. In a in a different bowl mix together ammonia, salt and water. Add this mixture to the flour and sugar. Knead to form a smooth dough. Rest dough for 5 mins, before dividing into 10-12 portions. Roll each portion into round balls and sprinkle sesame seeds on both sides. Heat a frying pan with enough oil to deep fry. Roll dough balls into flat circles and deep fry until puffy and golden.


Can add ¼ tsp 5 spice powder for a more interesting flavor. All purpose flour can be substituted if bread flour is not on hand.

Comments (26)

On 1:50 PM , Anonymous said...

I love this snack, in cantonese, it's called Hum Chim Bang. In Singapore, there are sweet & savory versions. The savory ones are the ones you made & the sweet ones have fillings like red bean in them. My favorite is the savory one, yummy! I would love to try out your shorter version recipe one of these days :)

On 11:04 AM , Little Corner of Mine said...

tt, this looks sooo yummy!

On 2:40 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

I never realized there was a sweet and savory version, never tasted the sweet version befor but excited to try. Some vietnamese also eat this with rice cakes (bak tong koh) stuffed in the hollow center. :)

it's yummy and easy to make!

On 5:38 PM , Anonymous said...

With bak tong koh as the fillings, this is something interesting to me :) Do try making it with the red bean filling, it's pretty good too!

On 3:25 PM , Anonymous said...

Can you convert the gram measurements to cups, tablespoons, etc?

On 4:28 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

Sorry, there's no exact way to covert weight measurements to volume (cups, tbs, etc...). Reason being nothing has the same weight. For example, consider a cup of sugar and a cup of flour, although they have the same volume (1 cup), sugar is heavier than flour. Thus 1 cup of sugar can weigh 200g while a cup of flour scales in at only 150g. Also, measuring by volume is just never accurate. A cup of sifted flour can weigh about 120g while a cup of unsifted flour can weigh 150g. Another reason to avoid measuring by volume is a cup, tbs, etc… is not the same around the world. Thus, the margin of error for measuring by volume is pretty high and this margin of error can throw off a recipe leading to unsatisfying results. Therefore, it is better to measure by weight because there is less room for error as 100g of flour is 100g of flour no matter what, the world around.

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On 9:43 AM , Anonymous said...

Hi tt. Thanks. I will just go get that scale when I have a chance. Thanks for posting up recipes and pictures. I really enjoy visiting your site. Can't wait to see what you're posting up next!:)

On 7:11 PM , Anonymous said...

Hi tt. I tried to make this today but it didn't turn out well. It didn't puff up like yours. They are not chewy but very crunchy and somewhat hard. I used your 30 minutes method and used banh bao flour because I really don't know where to find bread flour. In store they don't mark it as bread flour...or I just haven't see one. I really like it with a little chewiness and some crunchy part. What is the ammonia for and effect does it do to the bread? If I use all purpose flour, will it give me the same result?

On 7:58 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

Try again using the correct ingredients...I guarantee you'll have better results.

ammonia is a leavener, bread flour can be found at almost all us/western grocery stores.

On 7:45 PM , Anonymous said...

do i use yeast if i use all purpose flour instead? It didn't puff that much...the middle is too thick. How flatten does it have to be for it to puff like your's?

On 11:53 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

you can not use yeast in place of baking ammonia. how flat does it need to be? Play with your food and the answer will come.

On 7:15 PM , Anonymous said...

I followed your instruction but still only one or two puff up nice and round and the other only have some small bubbles. I rolled the dough as flat as I can and some not as flat..still not like your's. What kind of oil do you use? Do you drop the dough in slowly or fast..I tried different ways but didn't get the result I wanted.:( I have to add baking powder for some of it to puff. Any idea..to improve it?

On 7:39 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

try using more ammonia.

On 6:57 AM , Anonymous said...

sorry i'm having the same problem.. the banh tieu i made was also all doughy in the centre, it puffed up a bit but just slightly.. could i put it in the oven instead? will that help? i've tried doing it really flat but same ol thing happened.. please help..
or if someone knows what we're doing wrong please post comment.. thanx

On 12:04 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

try playing around with the oil temp. If you think putting it in the oven will help then go ahead....play with your food.

On 5:49 AM , Anonymous said...

This snack brought back many memories of my stay in Asia. Made it yesterday with the easy version. I have cheese curd filllings in some of them! It was really yummy as the cheese was stringy and molten. I ended up having to add up to 220ml of water though the recipe asked for 150g. I love it.Thanks

On 11:55 AM , Anonymous said...

Hi TT, All the Asian store where I live does not sell baking ammonia. What do you suggest to subsitute this with? Baking powder? Baking Soda?


On 7:30 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

buy it online

On 8:18 PM , Anonymous said...

Hi TT,

I did a research on google of Baking Ammonia and found that it is an ancestor of modern baking powder. The only difference is, baking powder does not have the strong smell like baking ammonia. So what I did, instead of using the baking ammonia, I added 1/2 tsp of baking powder to the recipe and it work like a charm. I had to play with the temp. a bit to get it bloat up. Also, it need to be flatten out real good to get the hollowness in the inside. Everything tasted great! Everyone loves it! Made 3 batch today already. Thanks so much TT!!


On 12:47 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

happy to hear you liked the recipe. Kudos for not being afraid to play with your food!

On 10:40 AM , Anonymous said...

what is baking ammonia? is it baking soda?

On 11:53 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

they're leavening agents.

On 7:08 PM , K3lly said...

Is bread flour same as wheat flour?

On 11:27 PM , hoangtam/tt said...


yes and no... Bread flour is a type of wheat flour (there are lots of different types of wheat flour).

On 11:04 AM , Anonymous said...

Hi there!

Just wanted to let you know I tried this today and it turned out great!

I didn't have bread flour so I used cake flour. I came out a little doughy (which was expected). I am sure if I use bread flour it would be better.

I added 5 spice powder which how I remember it to taste. I also made it smaller version so my son can enjoy it better.

Thanks very much for the recipe!

On 10:44 AM , Anonymous said...

TT, I've tried this recipe yesterday with the original version having to prove overnight. i followed the recipe exactly and reviewed each person's comments. i've tried different temperature of oil and finally got it to puff up like yours but the inside was the thick version of YCK and not as hollow and the outside was very hard. When you say kneading the dough, should I need it just enough to combine the ingredients in the dough like making the YCK? Is it made similar to the YCK? please help..thanks!