• Microwave cheng fen (Camellia Aebischer)Source: Camellia Aebischer
When dim sum is out of reach, fulfil the craving with this quick at-home microwavable dish.
Camellia Ling Aebischer

22 May 2020 - 12:31 PM  UPDATED 25 May 2020 - 9:11 AM

If you’ve ever seen the Cantonese steamed rice rolls, cheung fun (known by many different spelling variants), being made, the idea of recreating these at home is out of reach.

Recently I joined the closed Facebook group, ‘Subtle Asian cooking’ and all I can say is that where there’s a will for dim sum in isolation, there's a way.

Quite a few recipes for steamed rice roll at home workarounds were posted, like soaking and microwaving dried rice paper rounds; or going the traditional route with one user filming her Vietnamese mother who had tied a piece of fabric taut around the top of a pot of simmering water using twine and was cooking the steamed rice flour batter directly on it to make banh cuon.

Itching for a chewy rice roll fix, I decided to test out a few of the recipes to find the right balance of soft and sticky. I ran into a few roadblocks with the batter sticking to the bottom of my pan but have worked out an easy solution to get your rolls sliding off with ease.

Rolled up and ready to go down the hatch.

How to make microwave cheung fun

For the batter, mix half a cup of rice flour, half a cup of glutinous rice flour (or tapioca starch), 1tsp cooking oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, a pinch of salt and 1 cup of water in a small bowl.

You can adjust the amount of glutinous rice flour and replace with standard rice flour depending on how chewy you like them. More glutinous, more chew. Just make sure to buy the rice flour from the Asian grocer as the regular supermarket stuff is too coarsely ground.

Next, find a small square or rectangular container or plate with a completely flat bottom and cut a piece of baking paper to fit leaving some paper hanging out on each side for easy removal.

Mix the batter and pour a very thin layer on the bottom, then sprinkle with sliced spring onion. Microwave on high for 60 seconds.

Lift out your noodle using the baking paper handles and add any optional fillings (prawns, char siu or whatever you please), then fold up.

If you’re using a large container then cut the sheet as needed, or make one large roll and slice in half/thirds.

Drizzle with soy and sesame oil and enjoy.

Pro tip: I cut two pieces of baking paper so while one roll is cooling I can pop another one in the microwave.

If you're not having dim sum serve these as a dinner entree.

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