Popiah has been a regular dish at my family dinner table since I was young. My grandma used to make it for family dinner from time to time. After she stopped cooking, my mum has continued with this tradition. So a few times a year, this will be a meal for us which we all enjoy and always look forward too. Ivan and I have tried doing popiah by ourselves for a gathering about 5 years ago, but it was not too successful. Decided to have another go at it for our Nov birthday gathering for Nov babies – Ivan, Xinyi and Daniel. So once again, I got the recipe from my mum). This is the recipe that my family has been using to make delicious popiah all this while. This time round, we were quite successful and it was quite well-received by our guests.
Ingredients (for about 8 pax)
1. 3 medium sized turnips
2. 2 medium carrots
3. 2 bunches of Chinese lettuce
4. 1 cucumber
5. 6 eggs
6. 1/2 kg prawns
7. 4 medium tau kwa
8. 100 gm beansprouts
10. Chopped nuts (readily grinded ones are available at supermarket)
11. 5 chillis
12. 1-2 garlics
13. Tao chio (We use the one with the picture of a green urn which can only be found in wet markets)
14. Sweet black sauce (We use the one with yellow cap and manufactured by Sin Ngee Seng)
17. 30-40 pieces of popiah skin (We usually use frozen ones from NTUC – cheap and good! Or can be bought from shops selling popiah too but this is much more expensive from $16 onwards per kg. This time, we found some at a dry goods shop in the market at $11/kg but I found them to be a little dry.)
Main preparation for popiah is to cook the turnip. The rest of the ingredients are quite easy to prepare.
Method for cooking turnip:
1. Shred the turnip. (This takes quite a while depending on how good your equipment is!)
2. Peel the prawns and keep the shells for the stock. Set the prawns aside for later use.
3. Fry the prawns and about 500 ml water to prepare the prawn stock. Let it simmer for a while. Set the stock aside for later use.
4. Fry 2 tablespoon garlic with oil.
5. Add 3 tablespoons tau chio and fry.
6. Add prawn stock.
7. Add shredded turnip.
8. Stir and balance the taste with sugar and salt.
9. Cover the wok and stir occasionally till the turnip is soft.
Method for the rest of the popiah ingredients:
1. Eggs – Hard boil them and slice them.
2. Prawns – fry with some garlic and dice them.
3. Cucumber – remove centre and skin and shred.
4. Tau kwa – slice into strips and fry.
5. Beansprouts – Blanch them in boiling water.
6. Chilli paste – Blend the chilli into a chili paste.
7. Garlic – Blend/Mince till fine.
To roll and wrap the popiah:
1. Lay out the skin
2. Put a piece of lettuce
3. Spread sweet sauce, chilli and garlic onto skin/lettuce
4. Add all the popiah ingredients
5. Top with turnip
6. Wrap and roll!
To wrap and roll a nice popiah requires skill …… which even after making for so many years, my skill is far from perfect! Some tips: Too much filling will cause it to burst easily. It also helps to drain the turnip so that it is dry and will not cause the skin to break easily. Having a sharp knife to cut the popiah also helps.