Popiah is also known as fresh spring rolls and is a popular street food in Malaysia. (Rasa Malaysia pic)

Popiah is of Chinese origin, and comes from the Fujian province in China. In Malaysia, popiah is also known as fresh spring rolls and is a popular street food.

Besides Malaysia, variations of popiah can be found in Singapore, Medan, and Taiwan – all using simple and healthy ingredients that make it taste so delicious and refreshing.

Here is a family recipe, one which is much-cherished, not only because of its supreme flavour, but because of the flood of memories it brings back.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cooking oil
  • 20 fresh popiah wrappers
  • fresh lettuce, washed and drained dry

Filling

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 226 g shrimp, shelled, deveined and cut into small pieces
  • 1 kg yam bean or jicama (sengkuang), grated
  • 56 g French beans, sliced
  • 4 pieces bean curd, diced into small pieces
  • Store-bought fried shallot crisps (optional)

Seasonings

  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 cup water

Sauces

  • 1/2 cup sweet sauce, tee cheo or hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce, sriracha or Lingham Hot Sauce

Method

  • Heat the wok with 1/4 cup oil, shallow fry the bean curd until lightly browned. Dish out and drain on paper towels.
  • In a deep pot, add in the remaining oil until heated. Stir-fry the garlic until aromatic, add in the prawns and stir-fry until slightly cooked.
  • Add in the yam bean or jicama, French beans, salt, pepper, sugar and water, stir well.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until the yam bean or jicama turns soft, for about 30 minutes.
  • Taste the filling, add more salt and sugar if needed. Dish out the filling and keep aside to cool. The filling might be slightly watery.
  • Lay a piece of the Popiah wrapper on a flat board. Spread a little sweet sauce or hoisin sauce on the wrapper as well as a little chili sauce.
  • Place a lettuce leaf over the sauces.
  • Spoon three tablespoons of filling onto the leaf.
  • Top with the fried bean curd and fried shallot crisps.
  • Fold up the two sides of the wrapper and roll up.
  • If you wish, you can spoon a tablespoon of the liquid from the filling over the popiah. Serve immediately.

This recipe can be found in Rasa Malaysia.

Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.

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