Steamed Rice Rolls, Hong Kong Style
By Felicia Yap
Silky smooth translucent rice rolls are common at dim sum joints in Hong Kong. Eaten piping hot, the different fillings include dough fritters, char siew, prawns and even scallops. Light and flimsy with a springy texture, these delicate rolls glide down your throat easily. This HK version differs from the thicker rice rolls, chee cheong fun that is often eaten for breakfast in Malaysia and Singapore. Rice rolls pair well with New Year Crystal Dumplings for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Total Time: 25 minutes
¼ cup tapioca flour
½ cup rice flour
1 tablespoon wheat starch (optional)
1½ cups water, room temperature
A pinch of salt
½ tablespoon oil
2-3 spring onions, chopped finely
A handful of dried shrimp skin
2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon chilli oil
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon oyster sauce
D: For Coating & Steaming
¼ cup oil or oil from cooking fried shallots
Black sesame seeds, toasted
Fried shallots, preferably home-made
1. In a medium mixing bowl, sieve in dry ingredients. Mix with a whisk to combine well.
2. Pour in water. Stir with a whisk until blended – batter should be smooth and light. Lastly, pour in oil and mix well.
3. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush bottom of a tray evenly with oil.
4. Using a ladle, spoon in 1½ scoops of batter into a 26cm x 20 cm tray to completely cover the base. Alternatively, a flat bottom round plate e.g. enamel or stainless steel is suitable.
5. Sprinkle with green onions and dried shrimp. Other tasty options include char siew, prawns or crabmeat. Or, simply enjoy rolls sans filling.
6. Fill up a wok with water reaching steaming rack. Place a steaming rack into wok and cover. Heat it up over high heat. Put in tray with batter. Steam each roll 2 minutes.
7. Remove from heat. Using a plastic dough cutter, work swiftly to roll it up while it is still hot.
8. Brush each roll with some oil to prevent them from sticking to each other.
9. Sauce: In a small mixing bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Combine with other ingredients until well blended.
10. To serve, spoon or pour some sauce over rolls.
Garnish with sesame seeds and fried shallots.
TIP: For children, replace chilli oil with the same amount of sesame oil. For more flavour, use shallot oil for making the batter and for brushing rolls after steaming.
BUYING TIP: Dried shrimp skins, also known as silver shrimps or dried krill, differ from the more common dried shrimps sans shells.
On the other hand, krill refers to crustaceans resembling shrimps which are commercially farmed in oceans around the world. Feather light with a papery texture, shrimp skins are sold with shells on; they are gently parboiled, sun-dried or baked to a light crisp in low oven temperature. In Japan, they are known as Sakura shrimps and possess a pinkish hue. A similar version is found in Taiwan.
TECHNIQUE: For tender texture, the ratio for tapioca flour:rice flour:water is 1:2:6. Wheat starch is found in ground wheat; it is often used in making dumplings and as a thickening agent in Chinese cooking. Wheat starch adds translucency; if omitted, it does not affect texture nor taste of rice rolls.
PHOTOS: Felicia Yap
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