How to cook Singapore Popiah
Popiah is a fresh spring roll common in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.
A popiah “skin” is a thin paper-like crepe or pancake made from wheat flour (rice flour is sometimes used) which is covered with a sweet sauce, often hoisin sauce, and optionally with hot chilli sauce before it is filled. The filling is mainly finely grated and steamed or stir-fried jicama (known locally as bangkuang), which has been cooked with a combination of other ingredients such as bean sprouts, French beans, and lettuce leaves, depending on the individual vendor, along with grated carrots, slices of Chinese sausage, thinly sliced fried tofu, chopped peanuts or peanut powder and shredded omelette. Some hawkers, especially in non-halal settings, will add fried pork lard. As a fresh spring roll, the popiah skin itself is not fried.
In Singapore there are “popiah parties,” where the ingredients are laid out and guests make their own popiah with proportions of ingredients to their own personal liking. Careful attention has to be paid to each element of Singapore Popiah dish. Below is the recipe which you can try at home.
Similar foods in other cuisines include the Filipino variant referred to as Lumpiang Sariwa.
Singapore Popiah Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons crushed chilli flakes or 6-8 red finger-length chillies,deseeded and ground
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed with a little salt
- 4 tablespoons Tim Cheong or Kecup manis
- 6 large lettuce leaves
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and finely shredded
- 100 g (2 cups) beansprouts
- 1 cake tau kwa (pressed tofu) 100g(3 1/3 oz), deep-fried until golden, diced
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- 2 lap cheong, simmered 3 minutes, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
- 1 small onion, halved, thinly sliced across
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 teaspoons tau cheo (salted soy beans)
- lightly smashed 100 g (3 1/3 oz) pork loin,
- very thinly sliced 100 g (3 1/3 oz) prawns, peeled, heads removed
- 250 g (8 oz) boiled or canned bamboo shoot, finely shredded
- 1 bangkuang, (300g / 10 oz), finely shredded
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 125 g (1 cup) plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) water
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons oil
Note: Tim cheong, or sweet black Chinese sauce, is a fragrant sweet sauce used in many marinades and sauces; substitute kecup manis, a sweet soy sauce.
Singapore Popiah Cooking Instructions:
- To make the Wrappers, place the flour, salt and water in a bowl and mix to form a smooth batter.
- Then add the eggs and mix well. Heat a 20-cm (8-in) skillet, add 1/2 teaspoon of the oil to grease the skillet. Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the batter and swirl the skillet to spread the batter in a thin layer.
- Cook over moderate heat until the batter sets, about 30 seconds. Flip the batter and cook on the other side for a few seconds. Remove from the skillet, place on a serving plate and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat to make 10 Wrappers.
- Heat the oil for the Filling in a wok or saucepan. Stir-fry the onion and garlic over low to moderate heat until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the tau cheo and stir-fry 1 minute. Increase the heat, add the pork and stir-fry until it changes colour, about 1 minute. Add the prawns and stir-fry 1 minute, then add the bamboo shoots, bangkuang, soy sauce and pepper.
- Stir the mixture and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until cooked through. Add 1 tablespoon of water if needed. Transfer the cooked mixture to a bowl and allow to cool.
- To serve, transfer the Filling and Wrappers to the dining table. Place the chilli, garlic and sweet black sauce in small sauce bowls on the table. Arrange the lettuce leaves, cucumber, bean sprouts, tau kwa, boiled eggs and lap cheong on a large plate.
- Smear one side of a Wrapper with chilli sauce, garlic paste and sweet black sauce.
- Add half a lettuce leaf, some of the Filling, cucumber, bean sprouts, tau kwa, egg and lap cheong. Tuck in the sides of the Wrapper and roll it up. The Popiah can be sliced into 3-4 pieces if preferred.
- Repeat to make the rest of the Popiah.
Singapore Popiah Recipe (Fresh Spring Rolls),
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