Malaysian Spring Rolls - Popiah Recipe

Malaysian Spring Rolls - Popiah Recipe

Ingredients :

Wrappers -

345g (11 oz) plain flour

100g (3.5 oz) glutinous rice flour

3 cups water

4 eggs

1.5 tsp salt


Filling -

185g (6 oz) yam bean (bangkuang), or potato

100g (3.5 oz) bamboo shoots (canned)

8 spring onions

1 small cucumber

2-3 green chilies

3 cloves garlic

155g (5 oz) pork belly

220g (7 oz) beanshoots

2 eggs


2 cakes hard beancurd

2.5 tbsp sweet bean paste

155g (5 oz) raw prawns or shrimps



1 large lettuce

6 fresh red chilies, pounded

bunch of fresh coriander leaves

2 tbsp dry fried garlic or onions


Sauce -

1 heaped tbsp plain flour

3 tsp brown sugar

1.5 tbsp dark soya sauce


Method :

Prepare sauce first by sifting flour into a hot dry frying pan. Fry to a light golden color. Sprinkle on sugar and allow to melt slightly then remove from heat. Cool briefly, then add soya sauce and enough water to form a sauce of medium consistency. Beat for 2 minutes to remove any lumps then cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into several small bowls.

To make wrappers, sift plan flour into a mixing bowl with glutinous rice flour and salt. Stir in water to form a thick paste, then gradually blend in eggs. Beat for 10 minutes, adding water a little at a time until batter is of thin consistency and very smooth. Stand for 20 minutes before cooking.

Peel yam bean and grate. Put into a small saucepan and cover with boiling water. Simmer until tender, then remove from saucepan, reserving liquid. If potato is used, peel, grated and place in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and stand for 5-6 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.

Shred bamboo shoots finely. Thinly slice or shred spring onions. Wipe cucumber and grate. Thinly slice chilies and garlic.

Chop pork into 1 cm (1/2 inch) dice and put into a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook on high heat for 10 minutes, then remove, reserving stock. Mince meat.

Soften beanshoots by steeping in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again.

Beat eggs lightly. Oil a small omelette pan and pour in eggs. Cook until firm, turn and lightly brown other side. Remove from pan. Cool and shred finely. Shred beancurd.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan or wok and fry sliced garlic for 2 minutes. Add minced pork and brown well. Add yam bean or potato, bamboo shoots and bean paste. Stir well, then pour on 1/3 cup liquid from the cooked yam bean and 1/3 cup liquid from the pork. Simmer on high heat for 10 minutes, until liquid has dried up. Add prawns in last few minutes of cooking. Stir in cucumber, chili, beancurd and spring onions. Mix well and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Wash lettuce leaves and wipe dry.

To cook pancake wrappers, brush an omelette pan lightly with oil. Heat and pour in just enough batter to very thinly coat the surface of the pan. Cook on moderate heat until golden underneath with slight specks of brown appearing. Carefully lift up and turn to cook other side. Stack pancakes between pieces of greaseproof paper.

Let pancakes cool slightly, then line each with a lettuce leaf, smear with a little pounded chili and add several beanshoots. Top with a heaped spoonful of the cooked filling. Garnish with shredded omelette, a few more beanshoots and a sprig of coriander, plus a sprinkling of fried garlic or onion. Roll up tightly, taking care not to tear the pancake. Arrange prepared spring rolls attractively on a wide plate. Serve with the sauce.

If preferred, the lettuce, pancakes, chili, beanshoots, omelette, herbs and cooked filling may be placed on the table to be individually wrapped.

Makes about 30 spring rolls.

Popiah are a specialty of Penang but popular throughout Malaysia. They are prepared in two ways, one with a fresh pancake wrapper similar to the Lumpia of the Philippines and the other in spring roll wrappers. The latter is deep fried and is somewhat similar to the Chinese spring roll, from which it originated.

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