Monday, 28 January 2013

Popiah (Spring rolls)

While spring roll is a starter dish in UK Chinese restaurants, it's Malaysian cousin, popiah is another type of kuih sold in stalls along with banana fritters and curry puffs, often eaten with a cup of afternoon teh tarik.

The filling is almost always vegetables, although you can make them with meat fillings if you wish, and served with a home made sweet chilli dip. Here's how you can knock up the perfect popiah for your party.

spring roll skins (sold in the frozen section of most Oriental and several mainstream supermarkets)
1/2 onion, chopped
150g bean sprouts
1 carrot, shredded
50g white cabbage, finely sliced or shredded
1 tablespoon oyster sauce, substitute with mushroom flavoured sauce for a vegetarian version
a dash of black pepper powder
oil for deep frying

Dipping sauce
3 fresh red chillies
1/4 onion
1 garlic clove
a dash of lime juice
200ml water

Fry the onion in a small amount of oil. The bean sprouts, cabbage and carrot go in next, along with the oyster sauce and pepper. Cook for about five minutes over medium heat until the vegetables wilt slightly. It is not necessary to overcook them.

Wrap the filling with the spring roll skins (see diagram below). Deep fry in oil until they are golden on both sides.

Blend all the dipping sauce ingredients until smooth. Heat it in a pan until it reduces by 1/3. Taste for seasoning and serve with the spring rolls.

Tip: If using meat fillings for the popiah, make sure to cook them beforehand. Bottled chilli sauce or ketchup are often decent substitutes for home-made dips.

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