Fuzhou Popiah

“My Delicious Fu Zhou-Style Popiah Meal at Home”

Last month, Eve, one of my readers, & I were chatting (in my web chat box before it was removed) about nutrition values of local delicacies and our favourite food, Popiah! It has been awhile after our happy conversation, I decided to make my home-cooked popiah meal over the weekend! It was for my girl, too! She enjoyed making and rolling her own popiah. It was so fun for her to make two rolls of super-sized popiah for her dinner (laughing)!

Home-cooked version is slightly different from outside stores as home-cooked one tends to have more ‘liao (料)’ (English translation: side ingredients/ fillings) than the commercial ones. However, I mixed all side ingredients into one pot instead of making each side ingredient separately. This is a tradition “Fu Zhou (福州)” (one of the China province) style, according to my mum. This “all-in-one pot of Fuzhou topping” helps to save some effort, and to create a more homely flavour (smiling).

There was something I don’t wish to forgo, the Chinese sausage (unless you don’t take pork, forget it then..)! It adds sweetness and frangrance to the taste of popiah. We all liked it!

Here comes the main filling, stewed turnip. Some outside stores will add grated carrot to enhance the colour of the overall food presentation. I did not add it here with the turnip as I have added the carrot into my Fu Zhou-style “All-in-one topping” (see below photo).

In my pot of “All-in-one Fuzhou topping“, I have added not only the grated carrot, but the shredded tofu (bean curd), french bean, bean sprout, and pork meat.

As for the popiah skin, you may get the freshly made ones purchased from either the popiah store or those stores at the wet market selling bean curd, preserved vegetables, fish balls and cooked noodles. There is a popiah skin making specialist shop at East side, I heard it is famous for its popiah skin, but I am not sure where is the exact location though. So, I have gotten my ready made popiah skins from a popiah store at Queensway 2-storey food centre (the popiah store is located at 1st floor). 1 kg @ $18 (about 30 pieces). The popiah skin from this popiah store is also thin and soft. Sometimes, we have to reserve the popiah skin in advance to avoid dissapointment of not getting it from instant purchase from these ready popiah stores or wet market stores.

See below full recipe:

Ingredients
For Turnip Stew:
2 regular size of turnip aka “Meng Kuang”, shredded (Chinese translation: 沙葛)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoon of light soy sauce

1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

For All-in-one Fuzhou topping: 
600 gram of pork, lean shoulder meat or belly part, thinly shredded
1 bunch of French bean, diced or shredded
1 bunch of bean sprout, trimmed
1 carrot, peeled and grated
3 squares of firmer typed tofu aka bean curd, diced

2 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon of salt

Pinch of pepper
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

For popiah wrapping:
1 kg of popiah skin (about 28 – 30 pieces)
1 lettuce, trimmed into smaller leaves (about half the palm size)
2 Chinese sausage, thinly sliced (Optional but recommended)

Condiments: (*easily available at most supermarkets)
1 small cup of ready-made sweet sauce
1 small cup of ready-made chilli paste
1 small cup of ready-made garlic paste

Method
Turnip Stew:
1) Heat wok/ large pot with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium fire. Place garlic and fry till fragrant. Add shredded turnip, stir fry for 3 minutes.

2) Add 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce. Stir and mix well, for 5 minutes. Cover with lid, reduce to low heat. Simmer for 1 hour, or until completely soften and tender.

“All-in-one Fuzhou topping”:
1) Heat wok with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium fire. Place garlic and fry till fragrant. Add pork meat, and fry for 3 minutes. Add water, and all other side ingredients into the wok. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes.

2) Add pinch of salt, pepper and oyster sauce. Stir fry for 1 minute to mix well before reducing heat to low fire. Cover lid and simmer for 5 minutes, or until all ingredient are well-cooked and tender. Heat off. Transfer to a large pot. Reserve for later.

How to handle the Chinese sausage?
1) Clean wok, heat cleaned wok with 1 tablespoon of oil over low fire. Add thinly sliced Chinese sausage. Sauté for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Reserve for later.

Final Preparation for the wrap:
1) Serve garlic paste, sweet sauce and chili paste in individual small bowl.

2) Clean and soak small lettuce leaves for 3 minutes in salted water. Drain, and place nicely in a large bowl. Ready to serve.

3) Place all cooked ingredients and the ready-made popiah skins as well as condiments nicely on the table. Ready for DYI Popiah Roll Meal (*see below steps).


*DIY Popiah Steps:
1) Slowly remove a piece of popiah skin from a stack of popiah skin. Place popiah skin on a large flat serving dish/ clean chopping board (only meant for cutting cooked food).

2) Spread sweet sauce, chili paste and garlic paste on one side of the popiah skin, spreading amount to your liking. Place a leaf of lettuce on it.

3) Place 3 – 4 slices of Chinese sausage (if opted for), and scoop 1 heaping spoon of all-in-one Fuzhou topping on the lettuce.

4) Then, scope 1 tablespoon of stewed turnip and drain its excessive gravy with metal spoon and fork. Top it on the rest of the ingredients on the popiah skin.

5) Fold both sides of the popiah skin, and roll it up! Cut into few pieces, or serve the whole chunky popiah.

Bao Bing

Variation:
Actually, you may also make 4 hard boiled eggs, mash and use them as one of the side ingredient. Or, use grated omelete, if you really can’t go without egg in your popiah roll.

If you are not a “pork” fan, vary it with small shrimps, it will be better to add these shrimps into the “All-in-one Fuzhou topping”. Remembr to remove the shell completely. This will make you a seafood version!

Also, remember to drain off some exessive gravy out from the stewed turnip. Scope turnip with a metal spoon, place a fork on the turnip and drain it by pressing it a little. This is to prevent popiah skin from getting too wet and tear by the gravy.

A roll of my popiah counts about 190kcal.

Tips: Turnip yields water while stewing, and hence, need not to add extra water to the stew. Unless you are going for long hour stewing with super low flame, you may choose to add 1/3 cup of water, in case it dries up after hours of simmering.
* Choose tofu which made firmer that suitables for stir-fry use.