Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food–Popiah Sarawak Style (干式薄饼)

IMG_8078

UPDATED POST ON 6-10-2014

As this is an very old post, I have decided to prepare some Sarawak Style dry popiah and do some picture shooting. Being one of the very first post of this blog, the pictures were not well taken.

Today, I have prepared these popiah using home made popiah skin and  if you are interested you can refer to this post: Homemade Spring Roll Crepes–Popiah Skin (春卷皮,薄饼皮, 润饼皮)

IMG_8059


INTRODUCTION

Popiah (Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pȯh-piáⁿ) is a Fujian/Chaozhou-style fresh spring roll common in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Burma/Myanmar, where it is called kawpyan. Popiah is often eaten in the Fujian province of China (usually in Xiamen) and its neighbouring Chaoshan on the Qingming Festival. In the Teochew (Chaozhou) dialect, popiah is pronounced as “Bo-BEE-a”(薄餅仔). [1]which means “thin wafer”. In Thailand, no doubt influenced by its large Teochew Overseas Chinese community, the spring rolls are called “Bpaw! Bee Uh”. In variants of the Hokkien dialect, it is also commonly referred to as “lun-BEE-a”(潤餅仔), which probably explains why the spring rolls are referred to as “lumpia” in the Philippines. It is sometimes referred to as runbing (潤餅) or baobing (薄饼) in Mandarin, and also as bópíjuǎn (薄皮卷).        – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popiah  

First and foremost, I have to qualify that the name Popiah – Sarawak Style was used because it is different from the popiah that I have eaten in West Malaysia and Singapore. What I have cooked and written here is based on my memories that my late mother have prepared for us and the type that were commonly sold in the “kueh” stalls in Kuching about 20 years ago. We can easily buy popiah  together with other Kuehs such as curry puffs, fried bananas, angku kueh etc. as breakfast items. It is prepared in advance and not the type that they only wrapped it when you order as commonly found in the food courts or hawker stalls.  The hawkers who sell the popiah usually did not prepare the Popiah on the spot. However, I am uncertain if this type of popiah is still common among Kuchingites but internet research shows not many bloggers talking about this version of popiah (presumably out-dated). However, I still insist to prepare popiah in this manner as it is easier to prepare and store (if you cannot finish) and personally more tasty and less soggy.….

IMG_8082

Difference between Popiah Sarawak Style and West Malaysian/Singapore style

So, what is so different about my Popiah Sarawak Style. Frankly, not much difference except once critical process of  preparing  the jicama filling. Instead of simmering the cabbage and jicama in prawn soup etc. as in West Malaysian/Singapore style, we fried it  and therefore I termed mine as the dry version.

IMG_87481

Singapore and West Malaysian Popiah appeared to be the Hokkien version of popiah originated from Xiamen, China, jicama and cabbage were julienned and cooked over slow fire in prawn stock or plain water until they are very soft. When wrapping, people used fork or other kitchen utensils to press against the cooked jicama for purposes of squeezing the water out before wrapping using the rice crepes.

IMG_87521

For dry version, no cabbage was used and jicamas were usually julienned into thicker stripes. It was then sprinkled with some salt to “force” the water out using the principle of osmosis. After that, it will be fried together with other ingredients. One thing to note is that the jicama when julienned, should not be too fine.   Other wise, your fried fillings will be too soggy for wrapping.

IMG_1171

Preparation process

I have to admit that I hate to make popiah as it involves a lot of works of slicing, dicing, julienning and cutting of ingredients and most of the processes have no shortcut using food processor except using your own hands. Among the main steps are:

  1. Julienning jicama (bangkuang);
  2. Dicing of taukwa ( I am looking for the hard yellow taukwa for dicing but I can’t find it this round, instead I use the brown taukwa. Unlike the wet version, they prefer to mesh the white taukwa)
  3. Slicing of dried mushrooms;
  4. Mincing of dried shrimps;
  5. Picking of bean sprouts’ “tail” and blanching the bean sprouts
  6. Chopping of garlics and onions into very fine pieces for frying (this I opt to use a food processor);
  7. Shelling of prawns, blanched and diced into cubes;
  8. Dicing of French beans;
  9. Frying of eggs pancake and julienned into small stripes;
  10. Grounding of peanuts and sugar;
  11. Mincing of pork belly (I opted to buy ready make)
  12. Cleaning of lettuce and coriander. Use some clean cloth to dry the lettuce and flatten it.
  13. Preparation of sweet sauce (corn starched with sugar but I opt to buy the ready made sauce)
  14. Preparation of chilli sauce (I have used the chilli sauce that I have made earlier)

IMG_1221  IMG_1220

Therefore, from the above, the process of preparing of raw material is laborious and  it would be  tough for one person to shoulder all the responsibilities of preparing all the ingredients by one self. In old time, such preparation process is actually a “come and help” social gathering whereby usually lady guests will come earlier and help with the preparation of the raw ingredients and the man would come after all the popiahs were wrapped! 

SARAWAK STYLE POPIAH

Cooking process – the dry version

  • Fried some minced garlics and onion until brown, sieved and set aside for later use.

IMG_1178   IMG_1219

  • Stir fried minced garlics and onion, dry prawns and mushrooms until the fragrant comes out. At this stage, I usually add some condiments such as pepper and salt at this stage.

  • Throw in the minced pork belly, French beans, dried tofu  (in this order) one by one until the pork belly is 70% cooked. Add the jicama and bean sprouts and fried until you see the jicama start to get soft (which is very fast). I have to caution against that jicama should not be over cooked other wise it will be soggy.

  • Mixed the blanched prawns, add additional condiments to taste and you are done. You should have a rather dry filling.

IMG_1189

IMG_8068

IMG_8067

Wrapping process

IMG_8074

  • Lay one Popiah skin on the table, put a leaf of “flattened” fresh lettuce, put some deep fried garlics and spread some sweet sauces and chillies on the lettuce. It is wise to spread this fix ins on the lettuce because this will prevent liquids penetrating the skin making the skin too soggy for wrapping.

  • Put some fillings, eggs stripe, coriander leaves on top of the lettuce;

  • Put some sweet sauce on top followed by some groundnut powder. Note, I only put sweet sauce at this junction, again, I want to let the sweet sauce penetrate the filling and collected by the lettuce.

IMG_1224IMG_1223IMG_1226

  • Fold the spring rolls and open your mouth to eat….smile.

IMG_8084

Serving

  • Serving of the dry version is usually not cut into small pieces. As it is dry, you can just take one and popped into your month without utilizing any spoon and plates. In older days, it was wrapped with a piece of white paper to facilitate your holding and prevent juices coming out of the filling.

  • If you cannot finish it, you can just wrap it and store in the fridge. The next day, just fried it and it will become fried spring roll. If the skin is too damp, since it is frying, you can add another skin. Alternatively, you can store you left over filling in the fridge and wrap it the next day before frying or consider making the Kueh Pie Tee.

You can have as many variants of popiah as possible but in my humble opinion, the following ingredients should not be substituted to make it to taste like popiah: taukwa, jicama, French beans, beansprouts, grounded peanuts and sweet sauce. 

IMG_8088

Lastly, please note that the filling for these Chinese style Sarawak Popiah can be used in Kuih Pie Tee as well. If you are interested, you can refer to this post: Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food -Kueh Pie Tee

IMG_8726


CONCLUSION

Lastly, I found two bloggers talking about these version of popiah and they also name this Sarawak Popiah but none is certain about the name but stressed that “this is the style my mum used to serve us back in Sarawak”. The reasons of what culture influenced the elder Sarawakian prepared this type of popiah is still unknown and I would be glad if any of the reader can tell me the evolution of this type of popiah in Kuching. Sarawakians, shall we patent it ?? LOL

IMG_8080

Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

IMG_8086


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

IMG_8076

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 12-5-2013

 

IMG_2566

Yesterday, I am not cooking and we decided to dine outside.

Today is Mother’s day and I have invited my nephew and his wife to join us for dinner,

On 12-May-2013

White rice served with:

  1. Bok Choy Pork Rib Soup (大白菜排骨汤)
  2. Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Style(日式烤鸡)
  3. Steam Golden Promfret Teochew Style(潮州蒸金鲳)
  4. Pig Trotter cooked with Chinese black vinegar (猪脚醋/甜黑醋焖蹄膀)
  5. Kailan fried with Ginger (姜片炒芥兰)
  6. Curry chicken (咖哩鸡)

The curry chicken was cooked by my neighbor and she was kind enough to give us a big bowl together with some roti prata. As the dish portion we cooked today was quite a lot, therefore it is likely that tomorrow we will  continue to have these dishes for meals.

Thanks for reading.

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 10-5-2013

IMG_2453

On 10-May-2013

  1. Hainanese Chicken Rice (海南鸡饭)
  2. Chicken Soup with Tofu and Vegetable (青菜豆腐鸡汤)

We have Hainanese chicken rice today and a post on process of chicken rice will be released soon. Please check food preparation series where I will detail out the steps to prepare the chicken rice. As there were some chicken stock left after I simmer the chicken, I just threw some Chye Shims, tomatoes and tofu to make a soup to go with the chicken rice.

Happy reading.

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food -Kueh Pie Tee

IMG_2325

Kueh Pie Tee is a thin and crispy pastry tart shell filled with a spicy, sweet mixture of thinly sliced vegetables and prawns is a popular Peranakan dish. The shells are made of flour and though some stores will make them from scratch, they can usually be found ready made in most supermarkets. Similar to popiah, the main filling is shredded Chinese turnips and carrots, and usually these two dishes are sold by the same stall in hawker centers. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kueh_Pie_Tee)

Once you made popiah (you can refer to my post Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food – Popiah Sarawak Style), you will think of making some Kueh Pie Tee or “Top Hats” or “小金杯“ of which the ingredients for the fillings are basically the same.  Kueh pie tee are usually served as party snacks and the presentations are usually eye catching and outshine other appetizers. Yesterday, I prepared some kueh pie tee using the fillings left over from making the popiah.

RELATIONSHIP WITH POPIAH PREPARATION

Making popiah, as explained in my earlier post, is a laborious “project” that involved using lots of ingredients, processes, kitchen utensils.  Therefore, I wouldn’t want to prepare quantity of fillings solely adequate for making the popiah. In addition, I knew very well that if I cannot finish using all the fillings, I can use it for making kueh pie tee, fried spring roll or become a dish for next day’s meals. In fact, it is rather difficult to estimate the exact quantities of the filling required for the popiah  due to inconsistency in the sizes of popiah rolled by party guests. Some greedy one would roll a big fat popiah whereas some others may rolled a small one for fear of weight gain, blah blah.blah.. 

FRESH VS OVERNIGHT FILLLINGS

One may questioned whether it is okay to keep overnight the fillings. My answer is yes.  Foods will not become bad or contaminated immediately if you have used a clean spoon to scope the fillings and packed it in a clean container before putting it in the fridge. Once in, don’t take it out before your next use. Of course, not too long.  My own guideline for keeping these type of vegetable dishes are not more than a week..

WHAT IS REQUIRED

Besides the popiah fillings which basically consist of julienned jicama, French beans, taukwa,  bean sprouts etc. , you will need to have some Kueh Pie Tee cups.

To make the Kueh Pie Tee, you will need to have a mold and deep fried your batters in hot oil.  The basic ingredients for the batters are plain water and wheat flours. However, most families would claimed that they have the best recipe for the cups with variations in type of flours and liquid which is reasonable since there are only two basic ingredients. Some add rice flour for a firmer texture and would not be soggy that easily or potato starch. Some add melted butter to the batter so that they have a buttery fragrance. Some add gassy drinks like seven up believing that it will be more crispy.

Whatever it is, I have decided not to make my own cups and purchased in a rather well known “peranakan” or “nonya” shop in Singapore. The reasons are dual fold. Firstly, I do not have the mold and secondly, it involved large quantities of oils for frying. As at May 2013 (intentionally written down as such for future reference), I bought 50 cups for S$17, working out to be 34 cents per cup.  If you are still keen to explore the process of making these cups, please visit here.

IMG_2285

Beside the left over popiah fillings, I have added two fresh ingredients, namely blanched prawns and egg omelets.

IMG_2261IMG_2280

These two are actually optional. In the olden days, prawns were not included as it is quite pricey. However, with the overall increase of family disposal incomes, people are looking for better quality of foods and prawns were included on the assumption that it will make this traditional delicacy look more presentable and appetizing. It would not be a surprise that in future, abalone slices may be added to show signs of wealth in parties for the rich and famous (since most traditional delicacy such as moon cakes, rice dumplings etc. already have this expensive ingredients added).

Eggs are also optional but since it is cheap, might as well add it since my kids love eggs.

 

STEPS OF PREPARATION

I am rather reluctant to detail the steps of preparation here as the process is very simple and I felt that too detail a description of the process with undermine my readers abilities to cook. The basic steps are:

  1. Get ready the kueh pie tee cups;
  2. Scope one spoon of the filling (refer to my popiah post) into a cup;
  3. Top with eggs, blanched prawns and garnished with spring onions or coriander leaves or Chinese celery leaves as necessary.

From the steps listed above, is it not simple? In fact, it is. It is that simple. As it is a party snack, how you topped your fillings become a crucial element in attracting the guests to take a bite of your kueh pie tee. You may design your own pattern and I can assure you that there are countless possibilities depending on your own creativities.

IMG_2326

Kueh pie tee should not be prepared too early in advance as the fillings will make the cups become soggy or not crispy. Therefore, if you are having pot luck parties, it is best that you only fill your fillings may be 10-15 minutes before the party starts. A soggy cup will definitely ruined all the hard works that you have invested in these delicacies. Alternatively, you can consider just give the cups to your guests and let them help themselves. 

CONCLUSION

If you looked at my posts, I have intentionally left out the exact quantities of the ingredients for the preparation. My rationale is simple, I am sharing with you how I prepare this in my very own manner and you can use it as a reference in your own context. I believed that I am still far from qualify to teach you how to cook. I always encouraged readers to try their own version after reading my posts. Don’t be ashamed of your own recipes. You should be proud of what you have tailored made for your family or the parties.  Since it is not patented like Yangchow Fried Rice, who say kueh pie tee must be prepared like what I said above?

Happy Reading.

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food _ Kueh Pie Tee

IMG_2325

Kueh Pie Tee is a thin and crispy pastry tart shell filled with a spicy, sweet mixture of thinly sliced vegetables and prawns is a popular Peranakan dish. The shells are made of flour and though some stores will make them from scratch, they can usually be found ready made in most supermarkets. Similar to popiah, the main filling is shredded Chinese turnips and carrots, and usually these two dishes are sold by the same stall in hawker centers. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kueh_Pie_Tee)

Once you made popiah (you can refer to my post Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food – Popiah Sarawak Style), you will think of making some Kueh Pie Tee or “Top Hats” or “小金杯“ of which the ingredients for the fillings are basically the same.  Kueh pie tee are usually served as party snacks and the presentations are usually eye catching and outshine other appetizers. Yesterday, I prepared some kueh pie tee using the fillings left over from making the popiah.

RELATIONSHIP WITH POPIAH PREPARATION

Making popiah, as explained in my earlier post, is a laborious “project” that involved using lots of ingredients, processes, kitchen utensils.  Therefore, I wouldn’t want to prepare quantity of fillings solely adequate for making the popiah. In addition, I knew very well that if I cannot finish using all the fillings, I can use it for making kueh pie tee, fried spring roll or become a dish for next day’s meals. In fact, it is rather difficult to estimate the exact quantities of the filling required for the popiah  due to inconsistency in the sizes of popiah rolled by party guests. Some greedy one would roll a big fat popiah whereas some others may rolled a small one for fear of weight gain, blah blah.blah.. 

FRESH VS OVERNIGHT FILLLINGS

One may questioned whether it is okay to keep overnight the fillings. My answer is yes.  Foods will not become bad or contaminated immediately if you have used a clean spoon to scope the fillings and packed it in a clean container before putting it in the fridge. Once in, don’t take it out before your next use. Of course, not too long.  My own guideline for keeping these type of vegetable dishes are not more than a week..

WHAT IS REQUIRED

Besides the popiah fillings which basically consist of julienned jicama, French beans, taukwa,  bean sprouts etc. , you will need to have some Kueh Pie Tee cups.

To make the Kueh Pie Tee, you will need to have a mold and deep fried your batters in hot oil.  The basic ingredients for the batters are plain water and wheat flours. However, most families would claimed that they have the best recipe for the cups with variations in type of flours and liquid which is reasonable since there are only two basic ingredients. Some add rice flour for a firmer texture and would not be soggy that easily or potato starch. Some add melted butter to the batter so that they have a buttery fragrance. Some add gassy drinks like seven up believing that it will be more crispy.

Whatever it is, I have decided not to make my own cups and purchased in a rather well known “peranakan” or “nonya” shop in Singapore. The reasons are dual fold. Firstly, I do not have the mold and secondly, it involved large quantities of oils for frying. As at May 2013 (intentionally written down as such for future reference), I bought 50 cups for S$17, working out to be 34 cents per cup.  If you are still keen to explore the process of making these cups, please visit here.

IMG_2285

Beside the left over popiah fillings, I have added two fresh ingredients, namely blanched prawns and egg omelets.

IMG_2261IMG_2280

These two are actually optional. In the olden days, prawns were not included as it is quite pricey. However, with the overall increase of family disposal incomes, people are looking for better quality of foods and prawns were included on the assumption that it will make this traditional delicacy look more presentable and appetizing. It would not be a surprise that in future, abalone slices may be added to show signs of wealth in parties for the rich and famous (since most traditional delicacy such as moon cakes, rice dumplings etc. already have this expensive ingredients added).

Eggs are also optional but since it is cheap, might as well add it since my kids love eggs.

 

STEPS OF PREPARATION

I am rather reluctant to detail the steps of preparation here as the process is very simple and I felt that too detail a description of the process with undermine my readers abilities to cook. The basic steps are:

  1. Get ready the kueh pie tee cups;
  2. Scope one spoon of the filling (refer to my popiah post) into a cup;
  3. Top with eggs, blanched prawns and garnished with spring onions or coriander leaves or Chinese celery leaves as necessary.

From the steps listed above, is it not simple? In fact, it is. It is that simple. As it is a party snack, how you topped your fillings become a crucial element in attracting the guests to take a bite of your kueh pie tee. You may design your own pattern and I can assure you that there are countless possibilities depending on your own creativities.

IMG_2326

Kueh pie tee should not be prepared too early in advance as the fillings will make the cups become soggy or not crispy. Therefore, if you are having pot luck parties, it is best that you only fill your fillings may be 10-15 minutes before the party starts. A soggy cup will definitely ruined all the hard works that you have invested in these delicacies. Alternatively, you can consider just give the cups to your guests and let them help themselves. 

CONCLUSION

If you looked at my posts, I have intentionally left out the exact quantities of the ingredients for the preparation. My rationale is simple, I am sharing with you how I prepare this in my very own manner and you can use it as a reference in your own context. I believed that I am still far from qualify to teach you how to cook. I always encouraged readers to try their own version after reading my posts. Don’t be ashamed of your own recipes. You should be proud of what you have tailored made for your family or the parties.  Since it is not patented like Yangchow Fried Rice, who say kueh pie tee must be prepared like what I said above?

Happy Reading.

Food Preparation Series–Kolo Beehoon

IMG_2273

This is our breakfast today and is prepared by my wife and not me. Why I decided to write this is because I found that it is easy to prepare and delicious and is uncommon among my circles of friends.

Looking at the picture, you may think that it is some sort of fried beehoon, in fact, it is not. It is quite healthy as it is using blanched ingredients (including beehoon) and no frying is needed. My wife prepared this at around 5:45 am for the eldest daughter for breakfast before she board the school bus at 6:30 am.

WHY THIS NAME?

Beehoon is a type of dried rice noodles which is very common among the Chinese Communities in Singapore and Malaysia. Kolo in Chinese is called “干捞”, a process of cooking whereby you blanched all your ingredients and mixed it together to become a dish.

In Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, we do have our famous delicacies Kolo-mee and the Sarawakians are having Kolo-mee for all meals from breakfasts to lunches to dinners and suppers. Usually, stalls that sold kolomee do have some variations for the noodles such as kolo beehoon, kolo kway tiao etc.… However, it was seldom prepared at home, at least, not at my parent’s home. Only after my two kids was born that my wife told us that she knows how to prepare this dish and claimed that it is very simple. Since then, occasionally, she prepared this when we are running out of breakfast ideas.

WHAT IS REQUIRED

Must Haves
Noodles Any type of noodles, be rice or wheat noodles (Kway tiao, Bee Hoon, Coarse Bee Hoon, Egg Noodles) etc. These noodles are very common in markets where there are huge Chinese populations. It is as popular as pasta in Western countries
Garlic and onion flavored vegetable oil We usually fried some garlic and onion in some oil and once turn golden brownish color, we will keep it in a bottle and let the fried garlic and onion submerged in the oil. We usually used it for dishes that we don’t wish to stir fry. Traditional way of preparation is using lard which is much tastier. However, this is considered as not healthy in the present context.
Condiments Salt, light soya sauce and some flavor enhances that you used at home like mushroom concentrate etc. In Kuching, they have variations like adding tomato ketchup, lard from Char Siew (叉烧油), black soya sauce, white vinegar and is served with freshly cut red chili submerged in vinegar.
Optional
Fresh leafy vegetables We usually add vegetables like Chye Shim, Bok Choi etc. Healthy to include this and have to role of negating the oiliness after taste if the noodle is too oily.
Spring onions To enhance taste and garnishing
Carrots For taste and garnishing
Fish cakes /Crab sticks Both fish cake and crab stick were used because we have it readily in the fridge and the kids loved it.
Minced meats A bit of minced meat for meaty flavor and can be substituted with Char Siew.
Note: if you are vegetarian, just opt out of all meaty items. As for garlic oil, fried chop mushrooms in the oil instead. You can add taupok, vegetarian char siew etc..

STEPS OF PREPARATION

Have a pot of hot water, blanched the minced meat, fish cake, crab stick, carrot and leafy vegetable (in this order) and set aside. Note: you can prepare this in advance and keep it in the fridge and heat it up when you want to use it)

Use the same pot of water to blanch the beehoon (water conservation! By the way, it make no sense as all you ingredients will be mixed together and boil water for individual ingredients will only increase your water and gas bills).

In a big bowl, put some garlic oil but not too much if you are health conscious. However,  I opt to believe that some oils are needed to smooth out the final texture of the mixed beehoon. Is it not the same principle applies to having olive oils when you prepare your salad greens?

Put in the blanched minced meat and condiments such as salt, light soya sauce, mushroom concentrate, pepper, tomato ketchup etc. and stir until well mixed. You can add a bit of water to dissolve the salt and my wife likes to put a bit of Chinese black vinegar which is optional.

Pour your blanched beehoon into the above and mixed it well. Add in all other remaining blanched ingredients, garnished with spring onion and the Kolo beehoon is ready.

Cheap and tasty. Why not prepared it for tomorrow breakfast? Enjoy reading.

 

IMG_22301

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food–Popiah Sarawak Style

 

 

IMG_1230

Popiah (Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pȯh-piáⁿ) is a Fujian/Chaozhou-style fresh spring roll common in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Burma/Myanmar, where it is called kawpyan. Popiah is often eaten in the Fujian province of China (usually in Xiamen) and its neighbouring Chaoshan on the Qingming Festival. In the Teochew (Chaozhou) dialect, popiah is pronounced as “Bo-BEE-a”(薄餅仔). [1]which means “thin wafer”. In Thailand, no doubt influenced by its large Teochew Overseas Chinese community, the spring rolls are called “Bpaw! Bee Uh”. In variants of the Hokkien dialect, it is also commonly referred to as “lun-BEE-a”(潤餅仔), which probably explains why the spring rolls are referred to as “lumpia” in the Philippines. It is sometimes referred to as runbing (潤餅) or baobing (薄饼) in Mandarin, and also as bópíjuǎn (薄皮卷).        – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popiah

 

First and foremost, I have to qualify that the name Popiah – Sarawak Style was used because it is different from the popiah that I have eaten in West Malaysia and Singapore. What I have cooked and written here is based on my memories that my late mother have prepared for us and the type that were commonly sold in the “kueh” stalls in Kuching about 20 years ago. We can easily buy popiah  together with other Kuehs such as curry puffs, fried bananas, angku kueh etc as breakfast items. It is prepared in advance and not the type that they only wrapped it when you order as commonly found in the food courts or hawker stalls.  The hawkers who sell the popiah usually did not prepare the Popiah on the spot. However, I am uncertain if this type of popiah is still common among Kuchingites but internet research shows not many bloggers talking about this version of popiah (presumably outdated). However, I still insist to prepare popiah in this manner as it is easier to prepare and store (if you cannot finish) and personally more tasty and less soggy.….

Difference between Popiah Sarawak Style and West Malaysian/Singapore style

So, what is so different about my Popiah Sarawak Style. Frankly, not much difference except once critical process of  preparing  the jicama filling. Instead of simmering the cabbage and jicama in prawn soup etc. as in West Malaysian/Singapore style, we fried it  and therefore I termed mine as the dry version.

Singapore and West Malaysian Popiah appeared to be the Hokkien version of popiah originated from Xiamen, China, jicama and cabbage were julienned and cooked over slow fire in prawn stock or plain water until they are very soft. When wrapping, people used fork or other kitchen utensils to press against the cooked jicama for purposes of squeezing the water out before wrapping using the rice crepes.

For dry version, no cabbage was used and jicamas were usually julienned into thicker stripes. It was then sprinkled with some salt to “force” the water out using the principle of osmosis. After that, it will be fried together with other ingredients. One thing to note is that the jicama when julienned, should not be too fine.   Other wise, your fried fillings will be too soggy for wrapping.

IMG_1171

Preparation process

I have to admit that I hate to make popiah as it involves a lot of works of slicing, dicing, julienning and cutting of ingredients and most of the processes have no shortcut using food processor except using your own hands. Among the main steps are:

  1. Julienning jicama (bangkuang);
  2. Dicing of taukwa ( I am looking for the hard yellow taukwa for dicing but I can’t find it this round, instead I use the brown taukwa. Unlike the wet version, they prefer to mesh the white taukwa)
  3. Slicing of dried mushrooms;
  4. Mincing of dried shrimps;
  5. Picking of bean sprouts’ “tail” and blanching the bean sprouts
  6. Chopping of garlics and onions into very fine pieces for frying (this I opt to use a food processor);
  7. Shelling of prawns, blanched and diced into cubes;
  8. Dicing of French beans;
  9. Frying of eggs pancake and julienned into small stripes;
  10. Grounding of peanuts and sugar;
  11. Mincing of pork belly (I opted to buy ready make)
  12. Cleaning of lettuce and coriander. Use some clean cloth to dry the lettuce and flatten it.
  13. Preparation of sweet sauce (corn starched with sugar but I opt to buy the ready made sauce)
  14. Preparation of chilli sauce (I have used the chilli sauce that I have made earlier)IMG_1221IMG_1220

 

Therefore, from the above, the process of preparing of raw material is laborious and  it would be  tough for one person to shoulder all the responsibilities of preparing all the ingredients by one self. In old time, such preparation process is actually a “come and help” social gathering whereby usually lady guests will come earlier and help with the preparation of the raw ingredients and the man would come after all the popiahs were wrapped! 

SARAWAK STYLE POPIAH

Cooking process – the dry version

  • Fried some minced garlics and onion until brown, sieved and set aside for later use.

IMG_1178IMG_1219

  • Stir fried minced garlics and onion, dry prawns and mushrooms until the fragrant comes out. At this stage, I usually add some condiments such as pepper and salt at this stage.
  • Throw in the minced pork belly, french beans, dried tofu  (in this order) one by one until the pork belly is 70% cooked. Add the jicama and bean sprouts and fried until you see the jicama start to get soft (which is very fast). I have to caution against that jicama should not be over cooked other wise it will be soggy.
  • Mixed the blanched prawns, add additional condiments to taste and you are done. You should have a rather dry filling.

IMG_1189

Wrapping process

  • Lay one Popiah skin on the table, put a leaf of “flattened” fresh lettuce, put some deep fried garlics and spread some sweet sauces and chilies on the lettuce. It is wise to spread this fix ins on the lettuce because this will prevent liquids penetrating the skin making the skin too soggy for wrapping.
  • Put some fillings, eggs stripe, coriander leaves on top of the lettuce;
  • Put some sweet sauce on top followed by some groundnut powder. Note, I only put sweet sauce at this junction, again, I want to let the sweet sauce penetrate the filling and collected by the lettuce.

IMG_1224IMG_1223IMG_1228IMG_1226

  • Fold the spring rolls and open your mouth to eat….smile.

Serving

  • Serving of the dry version is usually not cut into small pieces. As it is dry, you can just take one and popped into your month without utilizing any spoon and plates. In older days, it was wrapped with a piece of white paper to facilitate your holding and prevent juices coming out of the filling.
  • If you cannot finish it, you can just wrap it and store in the fridge. The next day, just fried it and it will become fried spring roll. If the skin is too damp, since it is frying, you can add another skin. Alternatively, you can store you left over filling in the fridge and wrap it the next day before frying or consider making the Kueh Pie Tee.

You can have as many variants of popiah as possible but in my humble opinion, the following ingredients should not be substituted to make it to taste like popiah: taukwa, jicama, French beans, beansprouts, grounded peanuts and sweet sauce. 

IMG_87521

 

Lastly, I found two bloggers talking about these version of popiah and they also name this Sarawak Popiah but none is certain about the name but stressed that “this is the style my mum used to serve us back in Sarawak”. The reasons of what culture influenced the elder Sarawakian prepared this type of popiah is still unkown and I would be glad if any of the reader can tell me the evolution of this type of popiah in Kuching. Sarawakians, shall we patent it ?? LOL

IMG_87481