Inspired by Carb Lover's banh cuon post, I started playing with rice flour today. Banh cuon will have to come later for me, but I did have all the ingredients to make Chinese chang fen.
The filling for shrimp chang fen is just blanched shrimp with a little salt massaged into them. Be sure to get good quality shrimp with some crunch to them, because poor quality will really show in such a simple preparation. I'll experiment with pork and beef later, but it's usually just ground meat with chopped up water chestnuts, scallions, and a bit of ginger.
Making the skins is is a bit of a project. Whisk together:
1 cup rice flour
4 Tbs. tapioca starch (I'm going to try using some wheat starch next time too)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
Boil half a pot of water and place a steamer insert in the pot. Square pans are better, but I don't have one so I used an 8" cake pan perched atop the steamer. Pour in 1/3 cup batter (will try 1/4 next time) and swirl to just barely cover the bottom of the pan. Cover the pot tightly and let steam for 4 minutes. Don't overcook, because the skin will become dry on top. I know, it's counterintuitive to think that something being steamed can dry out.
The skin will be bubbly (see photo). Remove carefully to a shallow pool of water. Cool the pan down, then gently lift the wrapper from the cake pan and put onto a plate that's been lightly oiled. Flip the wrapper over to coat with oil on both sides. If you have vegetable oil spray, it will make this process easier.
While you're doing all this, it helps to immediately start another cake pan steaming in the pot. That way you can work up a rotation of cooling/oiling and steaming at the same time. Stack the well oiled wrappers, and chill them well before wrapping.
Wrap as you would a burrito. Place a horizontal log of the filling in the top third of the circle. Fold the top of the wrapper down. Fold the two sides in. Continue rolling down (towards you). When done, place the wrapped chang fen seam down on a plate.
When you're ready to eat the chang fen, steam the whole thing for five minutes or until cooked through. Drizzle with a combination of 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 2 Tbs. water, a few drops of sesame oil, and a pinch of sugar.
My wrappers weren't quite as thin and tender as at the best dim sum places, but it was passable and stacked up to most medium range dim sum restaurants. More practice!
Photos here: http://www.chezpei.com/2006/07/rice-p...
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