This is the perfect comfort food. Although considered an appetizer or side dish, my family and I usually have this together as a meal with rice. These fawm kauv or steamed rice rolls are filled with a simple pork filling and dipped in a savory sweet and spicy sauce. Personally, I love to separate them into bite-sized pieces with my spoon and then pour a small amount of sauce over it.
I remember the days when I was young and my mother would make these for my siblings and I. I watched her swirl the batter onto the frying pan, creating the next crepe, while quickly transforming the previous crepe into a beautiful steamed rice roll. We snacked on them so much while making them, that by the time dinner was served, we were already full. My mother had a difficult time perfecting the batter and crepes sometimes, but I always admired her patience and consistency in trying to master the crepes. She’s not the most confident in her cooking, but she’s truly better than she thinks she is. She’s a part of what has inspired me to learn how to cook so that she would have someone to turn to with cooking questions.
I admit – I’ve had my share of struggles getting the batter and crepes right, just like my mother did, too. & for a while, I had the toughest time making the crepes! With much practice and patience, things improved. I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t ever experience difficulty making these once in a while, though. For instance, I made these for my in-laws last year when Sam and I visited during the Thanksgiving holiday and they turned out perfect – no complaints; But when we visited my side of the family in Minnesota later that year in December, the crepes turned out dryer than expected. What’s up with that, right? After taking some time to reflect on this, I realized that the difference was because of the stove type. I have a gas one at home and so do my in laws; however, the one in Minnesota was electric. It’s always tricky getting the heat right when you’re using different types of stoves, so you have to experiment with it yourself.
When it comes to buying the ground pork for this dish, I always try to look for something that has some fat. Yes. I said it. The fat will help the filling to stay moist and that’s exactly what you want to achieve. Try to look for something that says, 80% lean, 20% fat. With that said, you won’t even need oil to cook the filling.
The batter may be the toughest part because it determines how your crepes turn out. The more water you have, the thinner the crepes. Less water, the thicker the crepes. I normally don’t like my crepes to be too thick nor too thin. I’ve found that 13 cups of water with 1 bag each of rice flour and tapioca starch works best. One time I accidentally added more water and you can only imagine how that goes. I wasn’t able to roll the steamed rice rolls as beautifully and often found that the crepes would tear or weren’t strong enough to hold the filling altogether. Oops! We learn through trial and error, I guess. 😀
Below is a video showing you how I roll the steamed rice rolls (Watch in HD 1080p for the best quality!).
Here’s a few helpful tips I learned along the way to achieve the best crepes. When you pour the batter onto your non-stick frying pan and…
1 the batter immediately forms a lot of bubbles, that means your heat is turned too high so you’ll need to turn it down lower.
2 the batter doesn’t stick well to the pan, that means you have too much oil. In that case, try to brush less oil onto your pan – or even skip the oil entirely – before adding in the batter.
Psst! I got the crockpot idea from the Hmong Kitchen community on Facebook. 🙂 I appreciate the way the crockpot keeps the steamed rice rolls warm, especially if you want to bring it warm for a potluck! My only advice is to not leave them in the crockpot for longer than an hour. It may make the steamed rice rolls too soft and could cause them to rip when you pick them up.
The oil is what gives these steamed rice rolls its glossiness and that’s exactly what makes them look so mouth-wateringly delicious. How do you like your steamed rice rolls?
- 1 bag of tapioca starch
- 1 bag of rice flour
- 13 cups of water
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 3 lbs of ground pork
- 6-7 stalks of green onion, thinly chopped
- 1 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons of fried garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of granulated chicken flavor soup base mix
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- Additional Ingredients
- Vegetable oil for cooking the crepes
- fried onion
- Sweet & Spicy Sauce
- 1/4 cup of fish sauce
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1/4 cup of peanuts, crushed
- 2 garlic gloves, minced
- Thai chili pepper, optional
- To make the batter: Into a large bowl, pour in the rice flour and tapioca starch. Then, add the water and vegetable oil and whisk away any lumps until the batter becomes smooth. Stir this batter often throughout the cooking process to maintain a smooth batter.
- To make the filling: Into a cooking pot, season the ground pork over high heat with salt, oyster sauce, and granulated chicken flavor soup base mix. Stir well, breaking any lumps of meat. When the meat is cooked, add in the fried garlic powder, green onions, and cilantro. After 1-2 minutes or once the green onions and cilantro is cooked, transfer the filling into a bowl and set aside. This step should take roughly 8-10 minutes.
- To make the crepes: Heat a medium-sized non-stick frying pan on low heat. Using a silicone basting & pastry brush, brush some vegetable oil onto the base of the pan. Next, scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter or just enough to cover the base of the pan. Swirl the pan around in a circular motion to make sure the batter covers the base evenly. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for about 30 seconds. Then, remove the lid and carefully flip the pan over onto a greased surface as the crepe should fall off easily.
- Repeat step 3. While you wait for the next crepe to cook, scoop about 1 tablespoon of the pork filling onto the center of your "already made" crepe. Sprinkle some fried onion over the pork filling. Fold the sides in and then roll it carefully. Transfer the steamed rice roll onto a plate. Flip the next crepe onto the greased surface.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the batter and pork filling is gone.
- Special material needed: silicone basting & pastry brush
- Yields: about 70 steamed rice rolls