Have you heard of Popiah (spring roll), the Hokkien version? We just had our very unique homemade Hokkien Popiah when my relatives got together over the weekend.
What we are more familiar with is usually this local version of Popiah which is easily available outside, popiah wrapped with a mix of chopped turnips (mang kuang), dried shrimps, mushrooms and tiny slices of pork and prawns. This is not what we usually eat at home. What we make at home is another variant of popiah my mom learnt from my late paternal grandmother who was Hokkien. That is why, to me, I usually call it the Hokkien Popiah.
It is actually quite tedious making the Hokkien Popiah compared to the more common mang kuang type. Here are the ingredients we need, which involve lots of cutting and chopping, from clockwise: The main portion is Cabbage, followed by chopped Chinese Long Beans, Carrots, and Fried Beancurd.....
.... as well as another type of Long Beans (flatter type), a kind of Chive veggie (we called it 'Sng' in Hokkien), thin slices of stir fried 3-Layer Pork, as well as small pieces of Prawns. We used very little of the pork and prawns, and more of the different types of vegetables.
Each of the above ingredients was stir fried lightly and separately with a little oil and hardly any salt. After that, all the ingredients were mixed thoroughly and evenly together. We had 2 big pots of these crucial popiah ingredients combined.
These are the rest of the other stuff you need to complement the mixed ingredients, DIY. From clockwise, fried egg in thin strips, boiled beansprouts, lettuce, and peanut powder which we grinded ourselves (more fragrant).....
..... and we need Black Sweet Sauce, grinded Garlic paste, and Chilli paste, and Coriander. Someone brought over some avocados, so we thought we can just throw it in....
We use the handmade popiah skin selling outside or the more readily available popiah skin made with flour and eggs. For a start, before we start rolling..... you need to peel off each popiah skin gently and slowly and cover them with a moist clean cloth, otherwise, the skin dries up easily. Here was my cousin doing the hard work. :D
Here we go! There is no hard and fast rule how and what you want to put inside your own DIY popiah. Just throw in whatever ingredients you like. For myself, these are the steps.... popiah skin is laid on a clean dry plate, take a leaf of lettuce, spread garlic paste (use sparingly if you do not like it too spicy), followed by chilli paste (also sparingly) and black sweet sauce on top of the lettuce leaf. This is because I do not wish to 'wet' the popiah skin beneath too soon. Then I throw in some beansprouts or the mixed veggies from the pot, portion varied to your liking. Then I sprinkled some peanut powder on top, with the strips of egg, coriander and finally some slices of avocado.
This is how colourful my unwrapped popiah looked like. It really looked enticing and appetising at this stage.
And after wrapping it up, the fresh Hokkien Popiah is ready! Here we have different sizes of popiah in different length and looks, all made by different individuals of course. The top left popiah was mine! Everyone had fun making their own popiah! About 20 of us used between 100-120 pieces of popiah skin! Imagine!
It was love at first bite, juicy, crunchy, all the ingredients were bursting with its combined taste - refreshing, hot, spicy, fragrant and sweet, all at the same time.