Glazed Tadpole-oca donuts w/ salted peanut dust
Publishing a recipe that is aimed at overtaking an old one on a recipe blog like this, is a bit of a dangerous rabbit hole to fall down in.
For starter, it implies that the old recipe being replaced, however satisfactory it was left for the public consumption in good faith, was after all, only subpar in comparison. An uncomfortable admission that these recipes, or at least some of them, are only as good as the limits of their developers at the time whose standards may at some point surpass their own creations. That some recipes are ultimately, imperfect and transitory. Which then leads to the question that, well, if one recipe here is found to be less than worthy of eternity, or at least till the end of mankind due to disasters of cosmic proportions, then who knows how many other recipes here are potentially shy of such basic standard? Because if this isn’t the promised space that guarantees unequivocally immaculate cooking manuals that fill the empty pockets of our blip of an existence in a totally indifferent no-shit-given universe, then what are any of us even doing here? What’s the point? I mean do you know? Does she know?! And when I said she, I meant I. What’s the meaning of all this?? Do I even deserve to live??!!
So you see, a bit of a hole.
But sometimes, things have to be done, holes have to be jumped into. Which brings us, to this mochi donut.
A few years ago at an early age of this blog, I published a donut recipe that aspired to yet fell short of mimicking the lovingly supple and chewy texture of a Japanese donut franchise called Mr donut, or aka, the pon de ring donut. To my defense, the recipe was accurately differentiated as mochi donut instead of pon de ring, because it was made of sticky rice flour instead of tapioca flour, and obviously shaped as a traditional donut instead of a ring of beads which simply can’t avoid suspicious sexual implications as it was typed out loud. But even as a mochi donut, although deliciously soft and chewy while they were warm, it was slightly denser in texture and even mores so once they became cold. An issue for people, even if only an untrained few, who aren’t mentally equipped to ingest a dozen donuts in one short sitting.
The truth is since then, for years, I’ve been sitting on a tapioca flour-batter recipe that is extremely easy to put together and lands on a donut that greatly if not perfectly mirrors the light and airy, silky yet chewy texture that had pushed pon de ring donuts to stardom amongst iconic Asian pastries. But, I haven’t told a living soul about it.
Why? Let me focus on the word, batter, here, meaning a formless glop that is impossible to shape into ringed beads (stop it) without specifically designed pipping machines to do so, as it is done in Mr Donut factories. Meanwhile the other pon de ring recipes across the internet which purposely made the batter denser like a dough in order to be formed into tiny beads one by one that are then arranged and stuck together on a parchment before frying just so you can finally have a reason to hang yourself from your shower rod afterwards, is frankly, for a lack of better word, stupid.
So for years, I sat on this recipe thinking, nevermind, it’ll never work, until one day, all of a sudden I realized, I was the one being stupid.
Seriously, who cares if thy donuts aren’t carrying an unambiguous resemblance to cheap second-grade adult play toy? And if you’re screaming yes yes you do! to that question, who shall safely remain anonymous god bless the internet, then I shall make an even strong, gastronomical argument against such silliness. Because I realized, by not insisting on an uniform shape and dropping the batter into the fryer in a specific motion, the end result rewards me with these elongated “tails” that became extremely crispy and chips-like which stay crispy several hours after, a pleasant surprise that contrasts the pillowy “main body”, a puffed golden browned air balloon that deflates as your teeth sink into its unexpectedly weightless and uncluttered interior, proportionally coated on a single hemisphere with glossy, vanilla seeds icing.
Held delicately by its tail, a dainty bouncy morsel that curtsies with a crunch.
I call them, the tadpole-oca donut. And they come with salted peanut brown sugar dusts. Bead that.
” the end result rewards me with these elongated ‘tails’ that became extremely crispy and chips-like which stay crispy several hours after “
- 1 cup (115 grams) tapioca flour/starch
- 1/2 cup (120 grams/ml) boiling water
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp (24 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Canola oil for frying
- 1 tbsp (15 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (73 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp hot water
- 1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts
- 2 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
- PREPARE BATTER: In a stand-mixer with peddle-attachment (or handheld mixer, or with a whisk but it'll take some arm muscle), add tapioca flour and boiling water. Mix on low speed until combined then medium speed until a thick and sticky glop forms. Add milk and mix on low until combined, then medium speed until it's evenly incorporated into a loose batter. Mix in the egg until even, then AP flour, light brown sugar and sea salt (do not add baking powder now), and beat until a glossy and sticky batter forms. It's fine if there are tiny lumps here and there. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes until cold to prevent the baking powder to react prematurely due to the warm batter. You can also prep the batter in the fridge a few hours ahead of time.
- PREPARE GLAZE AND PEANUT DUST: Meanwhile, whisk melted butter, vanilla bean seeds (or extract), powdered sugar and hot water in a bowl until even. Set aside until needed.
- In a spice-grinder, pulse salted roasted peanuts and dark brown sugar until coarsely ground. Be careful not to over-grind it and turn them into butter. Set aside until needed.
- FRY DONUTS: In a frying pot, add enough canola oil until it reaches 2" (5 cm) deep then bring to and maintain at 375 F/190 C. Right before frying, whisk the baking powder into the batter until evenly incorporated. Hold one dinner spoon in each hand, then scoop about 1 heaping tbsp of batter with one spoon (no more than 1 1/2 tbsp because donuts too large tend to deflate afterwards), and scrape it off gently above the frying oil with another spoon. When the batter drops from the spoon, a "tail" of batter will get dragged out. Move the spoon a little to the side to let the tail drop away from the donut (instead of right on top of it). You want these little elongated bits because they create a super crispy texture in contrast to the chewy donut. Not all of them will look the same but it's fine.
- You can fry several at a time without crowding the pot and turn them as needed. If your kitchen is warm, leave the rest of the batter in the fridge before it's needed again. Each batch should take about 8 minutes to get golden browned. I like a little more color on these donuts than normal, again for the crispiness. Let the donuts drain on paper towel-lined baking sheets and repeat.
- TO FINISH: If the glaze has solidified on the surface, warm it up slightly in the microwave. Let the donuts cool for 10 minutes, then dip one side of it into the glaze, drain off excess, then dip the same side into the peanut dust to coat the glaze. Serve warm with more scattered peanut dusts on top.