Is there any difference between Spring Rolls 春卷 and Popiah 薄饼? I tend to call the deep fried type commonly available on the Dim Sum menu as Spring Rolls, whereas the kind that you have to wrap the ingredients yourself in handmade “pancake style” skin, and eat immediately before the skin gets soaked through with gravy are known as Popiah to me. I hope I am right.
I prefer the latter, as it is less greasy to cook without the deep frying part.
Plus, Popiah feels like a healthy dish when you top up on the filling with more greens like fresh crispy lettuce, cilantro leaves or chinese celery, and blanched bean sprouts.
Plus, it is real fun to have everyone gather around the dining table and chat while wrapping your own popiah. DIY Popiah makes a great party food item.
Plus, the ingredients for Popiah can be prepared way ahead, and be reheated when ready to eat. Somehow, the filling tastes even better after reheating.
Plus, it’s a complete meal on its own. With the vegetables covering most of the vitamins and fiber requirement, I simply add fried bean curd, peanut grounds, chopped hard boiled eggs to top up on the protein level.
Most of the preparation job lies in julienning jicama and carrot. I have been looking at a chopper set to make the grating and collecting job easier. But my $2 grater from you-know-where does not look like it is wearing out anytime soon.
I am amazed that it did not bend under my rough handling, turn rusty or blunt after so long! And I have found the right pot and the perfect position to anchor the grater, so that the vegetable julienne ends up nicely inside the vessel.
With the julienning job easier, let’s get the Popiah party rolling with the filling recipe!
This recipe size serves well for my family of four with 2 young children. The ingredients cooks in and fills up a 20cm pot nicely. May want to double the recipe for 4-6 adults.
MEATLESS POPIAH FILLING
1 large turnip / jicama, julienned 1 medium carrot, julienned 8 dried shitake mushrooms, softened and sliced thinly 2 red chillies, julienned 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoon oil 2 teaspoons fermented soy bean paste (tau cheo) 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce or date syrup* Salt and white pepper, to taste
01. In a heated pot/ wok, add oil till it warms up.
02. Fry fermented soy bean paste and garlic together till fragrant.
03. Add red chillies and mushrooms, stir to cook.
04. Add carrots, mix well, then add turnip/jicama, stir fry for few minutes till vegetables are cooked.
05. Add sugar, and date syrup*.
06. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
07. Allow filling to simmer for a few minutes without getting burnt**. Turn off fire. Ready to serve.
++ * I use date syrup instead of dark say sauce as I prefer my filling looking less dark in colour.
++ ** I do not add water/stock to cook my filling, so it is not as watery as other recipes, which makes the wrapping of popiah easier with lesser gravy. I sometimes add a bit of the liquid reserved from soaking dried mushrooms to make the filling slightly wetter, totally optional.