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THE HEALTHY ASIAN BURITO : POPIAH

We went to Malacca and packed some popiah on the bus home for dinner. Mr Washy was first introduced popiah on his first visit to Singapore and he loved it saying it is rather healthy. The only difference of popiah in Malacca is that the vegetable stew has gula melaka in it and they do add crispy pork lard for that extra flavor and crunch.

Ingredients
Filling (A)
  • 1 bowl belly pork (3 layer pork) (boiled for 5 minutes, cooled and shredded finely)
  • 1 bowl shelled prawns (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 bowl turnip (cut into fine slivers just thicker than a toothpick)
  • 1 bowl french beans (cut into fine slivers just thicker than a toothpick)
  • 1 bowl carrot (cut into fine slivers just thicker than a toothpick)
  • 1/2 bowl cabbage (cut into fine slivers just thicker than a toothpick)
  • 1 bowl firm bean curd (cut into fine slivers just thicker than a toothpick and deep fried)
  • 1 bowl bamboo shoot (cut into fine slivers just thicker than a toothpick)
  • 1/2 bowl shallots (cut finely)
  • 1/4 bowl garlic (cut finely)
  • 5 tablespoons oil
Seasoning (B)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 4 tablespoons light soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
(C)
  • 4 large eggs (beaten, fried thinly omelette-style in non-stick pan and cut into thin shreds)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (tailed and blanched)
  • 1 cup finely shredded cucumber
  • 1 cup pork loin (boiled till cooked, allow to cool and shred finely using fingers)
  • Lettuce and chinese celery
  • 1 cup peanut sugar (toast peanut in wok till brown, remove peanut skin, ground it till almost fine and mix with sugar on 1 peanut:1/2 sugar ratio)
  • Sweet flour sauce
  • Chilli spread (optional. Blend red chilli with garlic)
  • Popiah skin
Method
Separate the following into 5 equal portions:- pork belly, prawns, shallots, garlic and cooking oil.

Heat 1st portion of oil in wok and fry 1st portion of shallots and garlic till aromatic. Add pork belly and prawns and stir well for 2 minutes. Add turnips and stir till turnips slightly limp. Remove from wok and place in a big pot.

Cook the rest of the ingredients (french beans, carrot, cabbage and bamboo shoots) one by one just like how the turnips were cooked above and layer them in the pot.

After the 5 main ingredients were cooked and layered in the pot, heat up the pot and add the fried bean curd. Add seasoning and mix the ingredients thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the ingredients warm till required.

To serve the Popiah, place a piece of Popiah skin on a flat round plate. Spread a teaspoon of sweet flour sauce (and chilli spread if desired) in the centre of the skin and sprinkle some peanut sugar on the sauce. Tear a piece of lettuce and place over the peanut sugar. Using a tablespoon and fork, place 2 to 3 spoonfuls of filling ingredients (A) on top of the lettuce after squeezing out excess gravy. Arrange the ingredients like a sausage / roll. Top with a little fried egg, bean sprouts, cucumber, pork loin and chinese celery. Fold the sides, tuck in firmly then roll up tightly.

Serve immediately.

Popiah (Hokkien: poh-piáⁿ) is a Fujian/Chaozhou-style fresh spring roll common in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. Popiah is often eaten in the Fujian province of China (usually in Xiamen) and its neighboring Chaoshan on the Qingming Festival. It is sometimes referred to as runbing (潤餅) or baobing (薄饼) in Mandarin. In the Teochew (Chaozhou) dialect, popiah is pronounced as "Bo-BEE-a" [1], which means "thin wafer" (also in the Hokkien dialect).

A popiah "skin" is a soft, thin paper-like crepe or pancake made from wheat flour which is eaten in accompaniment with a sweet sauce (often a bean sauce, a blended soy sauce or hoisin sauce or a shrimp paste sauce (hae-ko, POJ: hê-ko), and optionally with hot chilli sauce before it is filled. The filling is mainly finely grated and steamed or stir-fried turnip, jicama (known locally as bangkuang), which has been cooked with a combination of other ingredients such as bean sprouts, French beans, and lettuce leaves, depending on the individual vendor, along with grated carrots, slices of Chinese sausage, thinly sliced fried tofu, chopped peanuts or peanut powder, fried shallots, and shredded omelette. Other common variations of popiah include include pork (lightly seasoned and stir-fried), shrimp or crab meat. Seaweed is often included in the Xiamen versions. Some hawkers in Malaysia and Singapore, especially in non-halal settings, will add fried pork lard. As a fresh spring roll, the popiah skin itself is not fried.

In mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan there are "popiah parties" at home, where the ingredients are laid out and guests make their own popiah with proportions of ingredients to their own personal liking.

Similar foods in other cuisines include the Filipino/Indonesian variant referred to as Lumpiang Sariwa, fried spring rolls and fajitas (Tex-Mex). In Vietnam, bò bía is the Vietnamese variant of popiah, introduced by Teochew immigrants. It is common to see an old Teochew man or woman selling bò bía at their roadside stand.

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