Shaqima or Sachima? If you haven’t really heard much of this traditional Asian dessert then don’t stop and scroll ahead, as we are here to discuss all Sachima and all the related facts. Chinese cuisine is so full of surprise, where it offers a great many dishes for entrees, it also brings a distinct sweetness to the dinner table with delightful dessert recipes.
And Sachima is one popular dessert in the list. You will be wowed with the fact that how such basic blend of daily use ingredients can produce something as delicious, crispy and crunchy as Sachima. We are not only going to share a complete Sachima recipe in this article, but we will be highlighting its cultural significance also to better give you the idea of its speciality.
Sachima – The Chinese Pastry
That is right! Sachima is popularly acknowledged as the Chinese pastry. It is also written as saqima or Shaqima, but don’t get stuck in the semantics of the recipes. Let’s talk get more into its history and the secrets behind its epic taste. Well, this little pastry was originated in the Northeastern region of China- Manchus.
Ever heard of the place? Well, now you know it!
From this specific region, Sachima had spread in entire China. And today, it has even crossed the borders and people enjoy it different style and varieties.
The taste usually varies according to different regions of China, as people as ingredients more suitable to their taste and dietary preferences, but one thing the people couldn’t change about Sachima is its appealing appearance. The compact fried dough strips, dipped in the sugary syrup are available as glazed as centuries ago.
It is basically made out of fried flour dough which turns fluffy after minutes of deep frying. Then the cooled flour dough in the form of strips is tossed with special sugar mixture which is thick and shiny. In the end, people add crisp by adding seeds or nuts as per their choice.
Here it is, we have pretty much summed up the entire recipe.
But the ratio of the ingredients taken is most essential to get the best taste with the best texture. That crisp of the juicy and sugar dough strips is what makes the Sachima extra special. If you compare it with the American Rice Krispies treats, both have sort of similarities. So, you can also call it, the Chinese Rice Krispies, but with a lot of more sweetness than its American counterpart.
Not always, the Sachima is prepared with the good amount of sugar or maltose sugars, sometimes the sweetness if kept contained as per the regional preferences. That adds more variety to the original Sachima recipes. Based on this distinction here are few of the top-notch Sachima varieties, which are enjoyed in different parts of China.
As described above, Manchu is the birthplace of Sachima! So there the most original variety of this dish can be found. It is sweet in taste and is made out of butter, sugar and flour. This version of Sachima does not contain other extra ingredients like toasted seeds or nuts or dry fruits.
This variety is also commonly used in most parts of Mainland China and both the kids and the adults love it equally.
When you want to enjoy a delicious egg Sachima with mild sweetness than Cantonese is the variety you should look for. Though it is made out of basic Sachima recipe it also contains some other ingredients which mask the sweetness of the sugars used. Those ingredients can be raisins, sesame seeds, coconut shreds or dry fruits of your choice.
With the addition of these ingredients, Cantonese Sachima becomes crunchier and chewier in texture. Chinatowns chains working overseas mostly offer this particular variety of Sachima and people living abroad are more familiar with the Cantonese taste. It is not that popular in mainland China but in Hong Kong, it is loved by all.
Up next, is Fujian! It is commercially manufactured variety of Sachima. It is available in a fully packed form with various company labels. This commercial product is made out of milk, egg, sugar, malt sugar, vegetable oil and wheat flour. It also contains sesame seeds.
Though many extra ingredients are used in the making of this market variety the taste is basic and does not compare much to the sweetness of the Cantonese variety. One great advantage of using Fujian Sachima is that you would be saved from all the efforts. For a busy lifestyle, Fujian is a good alternative to homemade Sachima.
How Nutritious is the Chinese Delicacy?
Now let’s talk numbers! By that we mean, the nutritional value of the recipe and the ingredients used in it. It is clear that Sachima is high carb and high gluten dessert.
So, people having trouble with carbohydrate or gluten intake can refrain from it. However, using certain alternatives such as almond flour instead of wheat flour and low carb sweetener instead of sugar can allow you to enjoy this recipe without worrying about your health.
Let move on and jump to the second highest nutrient on the list, Fats! Since the dough is deep fried in vegetable oil, it does contain fats but using the plant-based oil makes these fats good to go. These are unsaturated fatty acids, which contain good cholesterol, so they are not at all harmful for your cholesterol levels.
By draining the excess oil after frying you can further reduce the fat content.
Use paper towels to absorb all the excess for more reduction. Moreover, extra oil is also not good for the texture as it can render the dough strips soggier than usual.
Sachima Calories are determined through the variety of the recipe we use and the serving size. Since it is so rich in sugars, a small amount is enough to pair your meal with. A single piece of sesame Sachima for a single serving (30g) can offer about 250 calories.
Carbohydrates constitute about 32 g of this serving and total fats are 3g. When you substitute the basic ingredients with their low carb alternative than both the caloric value and the carb levels alleviate considerably.
The Traditional Sachima Recipe
Here are the traditional sesame seeds Sachima recipe, trying making it at home using these basic ingredients:
- 1 ¼ cup of High-gluten flour
- 2 teaspoons of Baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup of Sugar
- 1/3 cup of Maltose (malt sugar)
- 2 tablespoons of Water
- 2 g of Salt
- Enough cooking oil for frying
- Cooked white sesame seed to taste
To start with the Sachima recipe first take a bowl of suitable size and whisk eggs in it. Gradually stir in baking powder and flour. Mix all these ingredients with your hands until well combined. It will be sticky at first but will eventually get into a smooth shape.
You can add more egg if your dough is too dry or add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Wrap this dough in a plastic sheet properly and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
Now lightly flour a working surface and unwrap the prepared dough. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangular sheet. Slice this sheet into thin strips of ½ cm in width. Avoid slicing thick strips, else it will not look good after frying. Separate the sliced dough using your hands so that they won’t stick during frying. Toss them well then set them aside.
Now take deep pan or wok and heat enough oil to submerge half of the strips at a time. Avoid overstuffing the wok, or the strips won’t cook well. Let the oil heat for seven minutes. Check if the oil is heated by adding a single piece of a strip. Then add the remaining strips batch by batch.
Continue flipping the strips during frying so that they will be cooked evenly from all the sides. Fry the strips until they are golden brown. Instantly remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon. Shake off the excess oil to avoid soggy texture. Place these strips in a plate lined with paper towel. Meanwhile, fry the remaining batch of the strips and repeat the same process.
Take a medium-sized saucepan and add water to boil. Stir in salt and sugar to the boiling water. Use a wooden chopstick to add malt sugar to the saucepan.
Now stir cook this mixture until its temperature reaches to 115 degrees C. Either reduce the stove heat to low or remove the saucepan from the heat to maintain this temperature. Then add the fried dough strips into this sugar mixture. Stir gently to coat all the strips well with the malt syrup.
Drizzle sesame seeds on top and stir again to evenly divide the sesame seeds into the strips. Transfer the fried dough strips into a greased rectangular mould. You can also use any greased baking pan for this purpose. Tightly press the mixture into the mould with your hand. Allow it to cool then flip the mould on to a plate.
Your Sachima is ready to serve. Slice it into bite-size square pieces using a sharp knife.
If you do not easily find maltose sugar in the stores nearby you, then no worries! Use honey instead. It will give a similar sticky texture to the sugar syrup coated on the strips.
Here are some creative ideas for you to make the Sachima more delicious. You can add finely chopped nuts to the fried dough instead of sesame seeds or use both. Or try adding more flavours with chopped raisins or cranberry.
Here a 6-inch non-stick square mould is used to make the Sachima, you can also use other sizes based on the quantity of the Sachima you are preparing at a time. Remember to grease other ordinary pans or moulds to avoid sticking.
People love Sachima for its amazing sugary coating and that is what makes it more special. Despite being a traditional Chinese recipe, it is popular in many other regions of the world because of the immensity of the flavours it provides. Take sesame seeds per se, they not only add admirable taste to the fried dough but enhance up its nutritional value up to many folds.
A bite of Sachima as an after-meal dessert or an evening snack is enough to quench your caloric needs for the day. We recommend keeping the Sachima stored in a sealed container, in a cool and dry place to enjoy whenever needed. You can also serve it along with morning tea or during the work break.
Perhaps the sugary content of the fried strips ensures a much-needed energy boost. If you add crunchy nuts or dried fruits, it will add up to both its nutritional value, taste and aroma.