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.
- 3/4 cup cooking oil
- 20 fresh popiah wrappers
- fresh lettuce, washed and drained dry
- 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)
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sweet sauce, tee cheo or hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup chili sauce, sriracha or Lingham Hot Sauce
- 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.