Chinese Rice Noodle Dish Chee Cheong Fun Made Quickly And Easily

If you've ever had dim sum or travelled throughout Asia, it's likely you have eaten chee cheong fun. It's been one of our ambitions to make it. 

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If you've ever had dim sum or travelled throughout Asia, it's likely you have eaten chee cheong fun. It's been one of our ambitions to make it. 

At breakfast time almost everyday while I was living in Malaysia, I walked to a local cafe to have chee cheong fun. It was an unfussy place, nothing fancy about it. But the chee cheong fun with brown sauce made everyday feel special. 

What is chee cheong fun? It's basically a big flat rice noodle. If you've ever eaten dim sum, you might have had shrimp in a rice noodle like this, or on a plate doused in brown sauce. However, perhaps like a lot of favorite foods where the taste is amazing, you might eventually start to wonder how it's made, or if you could make it yourself.

It was all because of a sauce that I recently tasted here in the U.S. that I became motivated and inspired to make chee cheong fun, and basically so that I could enjoy more of the sauce.

 Seed Ranch Flavor Co. - Oven dried olives, porcini mushrooms and capers, includes soy sauce.

Seed Ranch Flavor Co. - Oven dried olives, porcini mushrooms and capers, includes soy sauce.

With all of the research that I did, it's notable that wheat starch seems to be an essential ingredient for the best chee cheong fun. Although, I have seen it done with tapioca starch, this homemade wheat starch ensures you know what you're eating and that it's clean food. 

Many recipes fail because of a bad starch substitution, so results will vary depending on what kind of starch you use. To get the translucent effect and lightness of the dough however, you really need wheat starch. Unfortunately, it's not readily available organically, or at all. 

Have no fear! It is so easy to make at home. 

Watch the video!

How to make wheat starch

Making wheat starch is basically the same as making pie dough, but without the butter or salt: Just unbleached, white flour and water.

The goal is to make a hard round of dough and submerse it in water. While it's soaking in water, up to 12 hours, the dough ball starts to break down. What you get in the end is a sediment that looks like baking soda (that's your wheat starch) and a gooey leftover piece of dough. But don't throw that out. That's seitan and you can sauté it, and turn it into a dish. 

Wheat starch recipe (achieves about 1 cup of wheat starch)

  • 2 cups of unbleached organic white flour
  • 1/2 cup of cold water

Add flour to a bowl and mix in water until the flour begins to form into little balls. Use your hands to mold all of those pieces into one ball and knead it with your hands to make dough. If you need more water or flour to make the ball firm and dry (not sticky), add a dash of either flour or water until you reach the desired form.

Then, pour water over your ball of dough until it rests completely underwater. Let this sit on a counter top for 12 hours or longer. Mine sat outside the fridge for longer since we made it at 1PM and it sat until 8AM.

When the time is up, knead the dough like you would for a pie. Pour the milky water that forms into a clear container. Keep repeating this until the water runs clear. Let the contents of these containers sit until the liquid separates. Pour off the brownish liquid from the top. What remains is your gluten free wheat starch--a thick chalky white substance. You'll also be left with a blob of protein rich gluten or, seitan. You can actually spice that up and cook it. (We'll do that next).

Pour the starch onto a baking sheet and let it sit until it's dry. For some recipes, like this chee cheong fun recipe, you can use the starch right away. We'll try it with the dried alternative sometime to compare. But we didn't want to wait. 

Chee Cheong Fun Recipe (serves 4)

  • 1 cup organic rice flour 
  • 1/3 cup organic corn starch
  • 6 full tbsp wheat starch
  • 15 ounces of cold water
  • a sprinkle of salt
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil 
  • 1 cup green onions
  • A little bit extra oil for your pan
  • Dress with: Seed Ranch Flavor Co 'Umami' hot sauce.
  • Need: Wok, big pot or steamer that fits a dish either tin or ceramic (doesn't matter) and has a lid.

Add all of your ingredients into a bowl and whisk together really well. There should be no clumps remaining. Push down any of the batter that creeps up on the sides of your bowl and keep whisking. Key tip: Let it sit for up to an hour, but if you want it sooner, let it sit for at least 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, on the stove, place a pot (or steamer or wok) that is big enough to hold a square baking dish with lid. Fill the pot with water and place the tin on top. It's great if the dish doesn't move around. Boil the water and reduce to medium. 

Oil the bottom of your pan, use a pastry brush if you have one to get around the edges.

Ladle in four big, but shallow spoonfuls of mixture: enough to create a think layer across the full bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on a few green onions and cover for about 5-7 minutes. It might look ready sooner, but let it cook a little bit longer. And often, like pancakes, your first one or two might fail because the pan isn't seasoned enough.

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Then, pull out your dish and let it cool before rolling up your dough. Be careful, it's hot! We dove right in as we do. Using a flat edged scraper or the like, place the scraper at the edge of the dough and lift and roll. It might break a little as you get started, just keep rolling. 

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Serve with a brown sauce or Seed Ranch Flavor Co. 'Umami' hot sauce, and pour on the remaining onions. 

Seed Ranch Flavor Co. is made in Boulder in small batches. You can shop it on the Treatmo iOS marketplace and find more local and natural food items that you might not have tried before.

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