Chinese Breakfast – Chee Cheong Fun 猪肠粉

Fried Shallots n Oil 010 edited re-sized

“Eat a hearty breakfast” is still the mantra. This is re-emphasized at school. Most households are in a big rush to get everyone ready for school in the morning. Even with much urging, neither of my kids could eat more than a slice of toast – it is just too early at 6.50 am! Nonetheless, we still try to offer a variety of items to tempt them to eat. A popular local breakfast is Chee Cheong Fun (猪肠粉).

A Cantonese version of this rice roll is known as Cheong Fun (肠粉) which is a finer version filled with a few varieties of stuffing (cha siu, prawns, beef, yu tiao). Cheong Fun is a regular item for Dim Sum.

A mixture of water and commonly, ground rice and tapioca flour is poured over sheets of cloth spread over large steamers. Once cooked, these rice sheets are rolled up. Sometimes, corn flour and/or wheat starch (澄麵 ) also forms part of the ingredients. Hence, if you are looking for gluten free chee cheong fun, double check the ingredients!

This post does not teach you how to make the rice roll itself as these can be so easily purchased ready-made both in Singapore and at Asian groceries all over the world. Instead, it teaches you how to assemble as array of toppings, sauces and garnishes to serve a lip-smacking breakfast or light lunch.

To serve them, we cut each roll into 3 cm sections with the kitchen scissors, steam or microwave these cut sections for only a few minutes. The other ingredients are used to flavour. It is the sauce, toppings and garnishes that distinguishes each plate of chee cheong fun.

Singaporeans tend to serve Chee Cheong Fun with a type of brown or red sweet sauce called (甜酱, timzheong). Penang’s version uses a shrimp sauce called hae ko. Their version was an instant hit with my husband and daughter during our KL days. Click here to watch how it is done in Penang https://youtu.be/CzmpTjZGnHg

 

Some comments about the Ingredients

  • Chee Cheong Fun is known as rice rolls in the West. Ready-made Rice rolls may now be purchased at Asian Groceries in the West, our local supermarkets and wet markets. In Singapore and Malaysia, chee cheong fun rolls are sold plain or with bits of dried prawn and spring onions.
  • Tim Zheong a sweet sauce. It can be red or brown in colour. There is a distinction in their taste.
  • Chilly Sauce there are so many commercially prepared varieties and brands. Use your favourites. We favour Sin Sin Garlic Chilly Sauce.
  • Light Soy Sauce If you are on a gluten free diet, ensure that your soy sauce is gluten free
  • Sesame Oil You can find oil made from toasted and un-toasted sesame seeds and from white and black sesame seeds. Just use what you have stocked.
  • Fried Shallots these are also available commercially prepared. I like to make my own as I have the benefit of a bottle of absolutely heavenly shallot oil (click here). Drizzle a few drops to create a much deeper flavour on any dish.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds these are also available commercially prepared
  • Fresh Cilantro and Spring Onions Finely chopped and used as garnishes.

RECIPE

Serves: 4 persons

4 to 6 ready-made rice rolls, cut into 3 cm pieces

Sauces per serving to be drizzled onto the heated chee cheong fun

  • 1/2 tsp Tim Zheong
  • 1/2 tsp Chilly Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Light Soy Sauce

Garnishes per serving to be sprinkled onto the heated chee cheong fun

  • 1/4 tsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Fried Shallot
  • 1/2 tsp Finely chopped spring onions and fresh cilantro

Optional (for a heartier meal or even as a quick light lunch) One of the protein items and some vegetables listed below

  • 4 to 5 slices of cha siu (cha siu may be purchased ready made at the markets or food courts or click here for my earlier post.
  • 3 to 6 steamed prawns per serving
  • a tablespoon of sambal hae bee hiam per serving. Click here for recipe.
  • a few pieces of blanched chai sim

 Method:

1. Fill your steamer with sufficient water and get it started. If you are using an electric steamer, just follow those instructions. If not, your steamer can be made from a simple assembly of a large pot with a tight fitting cover and a 2 inch rack. Use what you have. it is important that the water in your pot or electric steamer is boiling and steam is being created BEFORE you start using it. Exercise caution when placing your chee cheong fun into the steamer.

2. Cut each roll into 3 cm segments and place them in an greased plate on one or maximum 2 layers. Spread the segments as one layer over the plate.

3. Steam for about 5 minutes. Divide into 4 portions and drizzle with all the sauces, add the toppings (these are optional) and sprinkle the garnishes. Serve immediately as Chee Cheong Fun is best eaten hot.

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