November 30, 2023

Shrimp Cheung Fun 鮮蝦腸粉

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

This delectable little morsel, the Cheung Fun 腸粉, is a part of the classic Cantonese dim sum experience, a must order for any dim sum lunch.   These dim sum rice rolls come with various fillings such as minced beef, char siu pork, pork floss, dried shrimp and fresh shrimp.  We'll be making the fresh Shrimp Cheung Fun 鮮蝦腸粉 today; an unique experience of sea sweet fresh shrimp rolled up in delicate slippery rice sheets: a savory, slightly chewy, slighty slurpy taste sensation of the first order.  

You can now enjoy this at home with this recipe and guide where we've worked out all the kinks and tips for successfully making shrimp cheung fun at home.  It's fairly easy with the right batter recipe and once you get the hang of it and, may I just say, WOW is it just a great delight to be able to whip up these delicate dim sums at home for a quick and totally delicious snack!
 
dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

The most difficult part of this recipe was working out the batter for the rice sheets.   We tried all sorts of recipes for the rice sheets.  The rice sheet needed to be thin to create a delicate taste and allow the chueng fun to be 'slurped' up when eating.  It also needed to strong enough to not break up when folding the steamed rice sheet around the filling.

Tricksy business this batter!  Our first attempts came out rather rubbery...uck...  Then they started coming out too soft, mushy and breaking up when we tried to fold the rice sheet.  Urgh!

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

So finally, after many, many attempts and flour just about everywhere lol, we finally found a cheung fun batter recipe that worked!  With this recipe you can make thin delicate rice sheets that are strong enough to stay intact when folding over the cheung fun fillings. 

The key is the correct ratio of the rice flour to the starches.  Also it's important what starches are used.  With the right combination and ratio of starches and the right amount of water you can achieve the same delicate texture of cheung fun that you get at dim sum restaurants.  As to the amount of water, you can further adjust the water added to achieve more delicate, thinner sheets, or slightly thicker, more durable sheets.  


dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

Okay, now you have an oiled tray in your steamer.   The steamer's warming nicely.  Pour in a small amount of batter.  The amount of batter used will decide the thickness of the rice sheet and remember the thinner the better the mouthfeel.  Since the tray size you use might be different from ours it's good to experiment to find the least amount that can be used for your tray size.  A tip is that it is less than you think it will be.

You'll notice that the oiled tray has made the rice batter swirl about in wild loops.  No worries about that.  Just take a brush and brush the batter about.  

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

With the brush you'll quickly be able to spread the batter and it will stay after a bit of urging.  Once the batter is spread out evenly it's time to close the steamer and let the rice sheet steam!  Once you've found the right batter it's actually pretty easy to make the rice sheets.  The problem is finding the right combination of all the factors to begin with but hey, that's what we're here for, amirite?!

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

Let's back track a bit and talk shrimp. 

We had to work out some kinks with the fresh shrimp as well.  At first we tried to cook the fresh shrimp along with the rice sheets.  Umm...not so good...  The shrimps extruded water as they cooked and the rice sheet areas around the shrimp soaked in the water and stayed mushy, making it impossible to fold over without breaking up.

After some thought and research, we decided that the shrimps had to be cooked separately from the rice sheets.  Now how to cook them to plump perfection?  First we brined the fresh shrimp: salt to keep them moist, baking soda to keep them crisp and firm.  Second we poached the shrimp, which just means cooked in water, starting from room temperature water (important!) to a just cooked stage.  Result?  Perfectly plump poached shrimp!  

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

The rice sheet, when cooked, will turn an opaque white and bubble up a bit.  Check the rice sheet readiness by pressing gently with a finger.  It should not stick or be mushy.  Our perfectly plump poached shrimps are placed on the rice sheet.

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

Use a dough scraper to lift and fold the rice sheet over the shrimps.  The dough scraper should be well oiled, this will greatly help the whole lifting process.  If you have some it is a good idea to use 'cooked oil' 熟油 (just oil that's been heated through once) for this purpose, as it is tastier and smoother.  This extra oil also helps the rice sheet retain its lovely smooth slipperiness.

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

Lift and fold, lift and fold.  Oil the dough scraper again if things get sticky.  

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

The folding is done and you've got yourself a cheung fun!  

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉

Now you can divide the cheung fun into two and place onto a plate.  Give the top a quick brush with some oil to make it gleam and keep it moist.

As for the sauce that goes with cheung fun, it's basically soy sauce, sugar, water or stock if you're gonna get fancy.  The main thing is that it's a light sauce, both a bit savory and a bit sweet.  As for us, we were lazy and just watered down some bottled sweet soy sauce that we had already.  Worked like a charm.

A splash of sauce, then, and our homemade Shrimp Cheung Fun is ready!  Ain't it pretty as anything!?  And to eat!  A delicate thin wrapping you can slurp in is wrapped around a mouthful of firm, moist, sea sweet shrimp!  What a double treasure for shrimp and dim sum lovers!

dim sum, prawn cheung fun, Shrimp Cheung Fun, recipe, chinese, cantonese,  鮮蝦腸粉, 腸粉
Shrimp Cheung Fun Recipe  鮮蝦腸粉 
(makes 9 rolls)  Prep time:  15 mins   Cook time: 10 min  
(adapted from recipe here)

Ingredients:
  • 7" by 10" shallow baking tray (17 by 25 cm)
  • pot big enough to completely fit the tray in
  • steam rack
  • dough scraper

Shrimp Filling
  • 36 frozen pre-peeled shrimp
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp chicken stock (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

Rice Sheet
  • 2/3 cup rice flour, 100g 
  • 1 1/3 tbsp wheat starch, 10g
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch, 10g 
  • 1 1/4 cup water, 300ml (or 1 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp, 400ml, for a thinner sheet)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp cooked oil 熟油

Directions:

Prepare the shrimp:  Defrost the shrimp.  When defrosted add salt and baking soda, toss to mix and let brine for 15 mins.  Place in small pot with room temperature water to cover.  Cook over medium heat for 7 mins.  Remove immediately and rinse under running water until cool.  Dry well with paper towels.  Set aside for later.

Make the sauce:  Add soy sauce, sugar, water, chicken stock (optional) to small pot and heat until the sugar is melted.  Take off stove and add in sesame oil.  Let the sauce cool to room temperature.

Make the rice batter:  Mix rice flour, wheat starch and tapioca starch in a mixing bowl.  Add water, salt and 1 tbsp oil and mix thoroughly.   

Prepare the steamer:  Set up steamer with steamer rack, 2" water and tray.  Brush oil on tray bottom and sides.  While the water is heating, stir the batter (the starch settles to the bottom quickly) and then add 2 1/2 to 3 tbsp of batter to the oiled tray.  Use a brush to spread the batter evenly over the tray until the batter covers the whole tray.  Put the steamer lid on.  Steam for 2-3 mins over medium heat or until the rice sheet is completely cooked.  Test by doneness by pressing with fingertip.  Should not be sticky or mushy.  Remove tray from steamer.

Roll the cheung fun:  Place four shrimps in a row about 1 1/2" from one short end.  Oil a dough scraper with cooked oil then use it to scrape up and then fold the rice sheet over the row of shrimp.  Repeat the scraping and folding over until all the rice sheet is folded around the shrimp filling.  Re-oil the dough scraper as needed to prevent stickiness.  Brush a little cooked oil over the finished cheung fun.

Plate the cheung fun: Use dough scraper to cut the cheung fun in half or in fourths as you like.  Lift onto serving plate.  Add a tbsp of sauce over cheung fun and serve hot.  

Make more cheung fun:  Repeat the above steps for each cheung fun you want to eat right away.  Remember to stir the batter each time before scooping out the batter.  Any batter left can be stored in the fridge for up to a week which is great cause each time you feel like a cheung fun you can make one right away.  Enjoy the dim sum love!

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe! I love Cheung Fun and not only are the nearest dim sum restaurants hours away, they're not particularly good. Do you have any suggestions for beef filling?

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  2. We're planning on doing a bunch of cheung fun fillings, including beef. Gotta have the beef cheung fun, they're so yummy! Since you asked about it, we'll do that one soon, so keep an eye out for it. ~ellen

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