Home-made Tim Cheong Sauce (Sweet Sauce)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hi again.

Now that the cook book has been released, it appears that more are cooking now from my Mum's recipes.

It is a good thing that we are not done yet with paper and ink. There is something about that format which is more practical and connects better with the home cook. Good to know, as I had some doubts when the idea of a cookbook was first mooted.

The cookbook is best seen as a companion to this site or the other way round. From here, I can make reference to it. And yes, recipes do not need to be final when printed! There will alway be variations.

The recipes in the cookbook use limited photos due to constraints of space and design choices.  Here is where the blog can complement as photos of the process can be helpful for some recipes.

I want to talk a bit more about the home-made Tim Cheong Sauce (Sweet Sauce) which is used for many snacks like Steamed Yam Cake (Wu Tao Gao) and Chee Cheong Fun (lead photo). It is also used for Hakka Yong Tofu and Penang Rojak. A good companion sweet sauce do not need to be an after thought. The ones you buy off the shelf will be inferior. As you are using ingredients which you will likely to have in your larder, it is easy to prepare a batch.

Your home-made Tim Cheong will be tastier and you can also adjust the level of sweetness (amount of sugar), the viscosity (ratio of flour to water) and colour (type of brown soy bean sauce). For Penang Rojak you will want it to be thicker but for Hakka Yong Tofu or Chee Cheong Fun, it can be thinner.

This "roux" method can be applied to make other type of sauces including chilli-based, tomato-based and miso-based sauces etc.

If you have laboured over your Steamed Yam Cake (I will blog this recipe soon), don't serve it with inferior Tim Cheong. Make your own!

Stirring the oil and flour into a smooth roux
Home-made Tim Cheong Recipe

2 Tbsp of oil
2 Tbsp of plain flour
2 Tbsp brown soy bean sauce (tau cheong)
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 cups of water

Heat up the oil using a small flame. Add the flour in and stir over low heat till you get a smooth paste. You are basically using an equal amount of oil and flour to make a roux. The result will be less clumpy if you sieve the flour in using a strainer.

Mix the tau cheong and sugar in water till the tau cheong has dissolved. Gradually add to the roux, stirring and pressing with the spatula to remove clumps, till you get a smooth paste. Taste and adjust the sweetness (sugar) and viscosity (water) of the sauce. If there are still clumps, you can strain the sauce later.

Put in covered bottle if you are not serving it on the same day.  If it is kept chilled in the fridge, it can last for many weeks. 

You Might Also Like


  1. Thanks for the recipe. Using a whisk while cooking the roux will help eliminate the lumps. This method sounds very french, didn't realise tim cheong was cooked this way. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to buying your new book when I get to the bookstore!

  2. Great to learn this homey sauce. Is the red version using the same ingredients in general? Would you know what makes up the red hue? Thanks much.

    1. The red version uses sesame sauce and normally sugar is added to it. I am not sure where the red hue comes from though.