Chinese popiah is a popular side dish which uses spring roll wrappers to roll up a combination of cooked, grated turnips and other ingredients including eggs, bean sprouts, prawns and some basic condiments. There are different types of popiah dishes in Singapore, depending on one’s dialect and preferences. For example, some would use omelette strips while others use grated or sliced eggs; some with more vegetables while others less.
My version stems from the Hokkien dialect, which is very frequently eaten at my in-laws’ place. They love making popiahs whenever they are free, and they even take time out to roast their peanuts before grinding it for the toppings. I honestly do not have such luxury of time, but I think the rest of the preparations are doable and I finally took the courage to do it at home. Now that I have done it, it’s not so bad – the turnips cooked a lot faster than I expected. It’s just the hassle of having to prepare so many things in advance that gets me a bit tired out. Well, I guess we can do this once in a while, though this is definitely not an everyday dish to have at home!
- Turnip (jicama): 1, peeled
- Carrot: 1, peeled
- Oil: 2 tbsp
- Garlic: 2, minced
- Shallot: 5, minced
- Chicken stock: 1 cup
- Sugar: 1 tbsp
- Light soy sauce: 2 tbsp
- Oyster sauce: 2 tbsp
- White pepper: a pinch
- Bean sprouts: 100g
- Prawns: 10, deshelled & deveined
- Popiah wrapper: 20 large pieces or 40 small ones
- Sweet soy sauce: to serve
- Chilli sauce: to serve
- Boiled egg: 5, deshelled, mashed
- Ground peanuts: 50g (about 1 cup)
- Grate turnip and carrot in a blender. Leave to chill in fridge overnight.
- Heat oil in wok.
- Saute garlic and shallots till fragrant.
- Add in turnip and carrot. Stir to combine.
- Add in chicken stock, sugar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce & white pepper.
- Leave to simmer for 20min till softened. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Blanch bean sprouts and prawns in boiling water. Strain and set aside. Halve the prawns with a small knife.
- Place popiah wrapper on a plate or serving board. If using small ones, overlap 2 pieces, one on top of the other.
- Spread 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp chilli sauce on the wrapper with the back of a metal spoon.
- Place turnip on top of sauces, followed by prawns, eggs, beansprouts and ground peanuts.
- Fold 2 sides of the wrapper over ingredients. Then roll tightly into a log. Slice to serve.
You may have to squeeze out the stock in the turnip before placing them onto the wrapper, so that the wrapper does not get soaked and break easily. To do this, place the back of a spoon on top of a scoop of turnip and press it down to squeeze out the stock.
Feel free to add other condiments as you wish into your popiah – lettuce, cabbage, sliced omelette, fried tofu etc.
For better flavours, you can add in slices of roast pork belly while stir-frying the turnip so that the vegetables get a tinge of the deep roasted flavours as well.
6 – 8 persons