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Have A Party With Fresh Spring Rolls or Popiah

Updated on September 26, 2014

Fresh Spring Rolls or Popiah

Fresh spring rolls or popiah
Fresh spring rolls or popiah | Source

Delicious Popiah For Any Occasion

There is a very popular dish called "Fresh Spring Rolls" or "popiah" in Southeast Asia especially in Malaysia and Singapore where you can have a party in your home or in any other setting where good food is served.

A fresh spring roll or popiah is a soft, thin paper-like crepe or pancake made from wheat flour and filled with finely grated and steamed yam bean, (known locally as sengkuang), bean sprouts, thinly sliced fried tofu, lettuce leaves, shredded fried eggs, and fried shallots. You can add other ingredients such as grated French beans, carrots, slices of Chinese sausage or minced pork or chicken meat, shrimp, crab meat, chopped peanuts or seaweed.

Popiah Deep-fried Makes A Crunchy Snack

Deep-fried popiah is a crunchy and delicious snack. Chili sauce and garnish with tomato-cucumber and lettuce.
Deep-fried popiah is a crunchy and delicious snack. Chili sauce and garnish with tomato-cucumber and lettuce. | Source

Fried Popiah From Leftovers

As a fresh spring roll, the popiah itself is not fried and is eaten with a sweet bean sauce and optionally with hot chilli sauce before it is filled with the ingredients.

Just lay out the popiah wrappers or "skins" and the ingredients on the table and the guests make their own fresh spring rolls or popiah with proportions of ingredients to their own personal liking. It's lots of fun and guests usually compare their creations among themselves.

However, any leftovers of fresh popiah can be deep fried in oil and can be eaten as a crunchy snack.

Fried Spring Rolls or Fried Popiah

They are deep fried in vegetable oil to give a crunchy taste..
They are deep fried in vegetable oil to give a crunchy taste..

The Heart and Soul of Spring Rolls Or Popiah

The yam bean or sengkuang is a legume with tubers that are turnip-shaped  with white flesh and light brown skin.
The yam bean or sengkuang is a legume with tubers that are turnip-shaped with white flesh and light brown skin.

Yam Bean Is The Main Ingredient In Making Spring Rolls

The yam bean is the main ingredient in making spring rolls or popiah. Without it, you don't have popiah.

Yam bean (Pachyrrhizus erosus L.) is known locally as the turnip but it's not related to it. The yam bean or local name sengkuang is a legume with tubers that are turnip-shaped with white flesh and light brown skin.

Yam Bean (Pachyrrhizus erosus L.)

Yam bean (Pachyrrhizus erosus L.)
Yam bean (Pachyrrhizus erosus L.) | Source

Yam Bean Is Indigenous To Mexico - They called it Jicama

Pachyrhizus erosus is indigenous to Mexico. The Spaniards were the first to spread yam bean to the Philippines. From there, it went to China and other parts of Southeast Asia, where popular uses of the fresh yam bean include popiah and lumpia in the Philippines. Fresh yam beam is also used in other dishes like rojak and yusheng.

Jicama Has Many Other Names

In Mexico, Pachyrhizus erosus is commonly known as jicama, Mexican yam, or Mexican turnip.

However, in Southeast Asia, it is commonly known by its Chinese name bang kuang; in Mandarin Chinese, as dòushǔ, liáng shǔ or sa got; in Malay as ubi sengkuang; in Indonesia as bengkuang; in Myanmar as Sane-saar-u; in Thailand as man kaeo; in Philippines as singkamas; in Vietnam as cây củ đậu (in northern Vietnam) or củ sắn or sắn nước (in southern Vietnam); in Laos as man pao; and in Japanese as kuzu-imo.

In the Indian continent, it is known as shankhalu in Bengali; mishrikand in Hindi; kandha in Telugu; and kesaur in Bihar.

Jicama or Yam Bean

Pachyrhizus erosus, common name Jicama, a root vegetable in the Fabaceae. Photographed at a farmer's market in San Francisco
Pachyrhizus erosus, common name Jicama, a root vegetable in the Fabaceae. Photographed at a farmer's market in San Francisco | Source

Yam Bean Is Sweet and Juicy

Yam bean is high in carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber. It is composed of 86–90% water; it contains only trace amounts of protein and lipids. Its sweet flavor comes from the oligofructose inulin (also called fructo-oligosaccharide) which is a prebiotic. Yam bean is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of potassium and Vitamin C.

Yam Bean Nutrition Data

Yambean nutrition from USDA
Yambean nutrition from USDA

Yam Bean Is Nutritious

The tubers are usually eaten raw in various salad preparations or cooked as a vegetable and is often use in making stock soup. They are very succulent and crisp with a very sweet and pleasant flavor. They are very nutritious as the nutrient composition for 100 g edible portion of yam bean is as follows:

  • Food energy 38 calories
  • Moisture 90.0 g
  • Protein 0.72 g
  • Carbohydrate 8.82 g

Vitamins

  • Vitamin A: 19 IU
  • Retinol Activity Equivalent: 1 mcg
  • Vitamin B-1: 10 mcg
  • Vitamin B-2: 20 mcg
  • Vitamin B-3: 190 mcg
  • Vitamin B-5: 120 mcg
  • Vitamin B-6: 40 mcg
  • Vitamin B-9: 8 mcg
  • Food folate: 8 mcg
  • Dietary Folate Equivalent: 8 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 14.10 mg

Minerals

  • Calcium (Ca): 11 mg
  • Copper (Cu): 40 mcg
  • Fluoride (F): ~
  • Iron (Fe): 570 mcg
  • Magnesium (Mg): 11 mg
  • Manganese (Mn): 50 mcg
  • Phosphorus (P): 16 mg
  • Potassium (K): 0.14 g
  • Selenium (Se): 0.70 mcg
  • Sodium (Na): 4 mg
  • Zinc (Zn): 150 mcg

Spring Rolls Wrappers or "Skins"

Spring roll wrapper or "skin" is a thin paper-like crepe or pancake made from wheat flour
Spring roll wrapper or "skin" is a thin paper-like crepe or pancake made from wheat flour

How To Make The Popiah Wrapper or "Skin"

Making the spring roll wrapper or "skin" is the most difficult part of making spring rolls and it is a challenge to get the wrapper or "skin" to be a consistent thickness. You need the following ingredients to make about 20 wrappers:

  • 600 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml water


Method

Mix the flour, salt and enough water to make a sticky, soft dough. Beat it until its is smooth and then slap the dough several times until it is elastic. Cover the dough with a clean moist towel and leave it to rest for about 4 hours.

Heat a heavy cast iron, steel pan or a non-stick pan over moderate heat. Rub the cooking surface lightly with a piece of oiled cloth. Take a handful of the soft dough and rub quickly and lightly in a circular motion across the hot pan to make a thin round shape of a desired size about 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Cook the 'skin' for a few seconds on moderate heat until it can be easily peeled off the pan.

Lift the popiah skin off the pan and stack each one on top the other. Always cover the stack of cooked popiah skins with a clean moist towel until they are ready to be filled with the prepared ingredients.

Ready Made Spring Rolls Wrappers or Popiah Skins

Frozen spring roll wrappers or popiah skins can be found in most supermarkets and wet markets...just thaw them and they are ready to be used
Frozen spring roll wrappers or popiah skins can be found in most supermarkets and wet markets...just thaw them and they are ready to be used

Preparing Your Popiah Ingredients Is Lots Of Fun

This delicious and delightful food is very versatile..the two basic and must-have ingredients are the spring rolls wrappers or "skins" and yam bean or sengkuang. You can add any other ingredients that you like to eat..and for the vegetarians, just leave out all the meat, seafood and eggs.

Here is a recipe to make about 20 pieces of fresh spring rolls or popiah ...and some popular ingredients to start off with that you can use as filling ...

  • 500g yam bean (sengkuang), shredded, cook until it turn soft
  • 100g bean sprouts, steep in boiling water to cook
  • 100g lettuce leaves
  • 200g bean curd or tofu, cut into small pieces, and stir fried
  • 50g shallots, sliced finely and fried till crispy

A Popiah Vendor Preparing A Fresh Spring Roll

Fresh spring rolls or popiah is a popular food found in most coffee shops or eating places in Malaysia and Singapore.
Fresh spring rolls or popiah is a popular food found in most coffee shops or eating places in Malaysia and Singapore.

Preparing Sweet Sauce

Usually the sauce is spread over the wrapper or popiah "skin" before you add the filling or ingredients. A sweet sauce such as oyster sauce is first spread onto the wrapper follow by chilli sauce for those who like their spring rolls hot and spicy. Here is a recipe to make a simple sweet sauce:

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (optional)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp chilli sauce (optional)


Place two tablespoonfuls of filling on a piece of wrapper or popiah skin and roll it up firmly and neatly. You can cut the roll into smaller bite-size pieces or leave it as it is. Arrange popiah in a serving tray and you have a great dish ready to be eaten.

Frozen Spring Rolls All In A Box

You can always get ready-made frozen spring rolls at most supermarkets. They are very convenient but you need to deep fry them before serving.
You can always get ready-made frozen spring rolls at most supermarkets. They are very convenient but you need to deep fry them before serving.

A Popiah Vendor Preparing Delicious Fresh Spring Rolls

Comments

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  • Ps32Love profile image

    Ps32Love 

    5 years ago from near a beach

    Thank you for such a great explanation of how to make Fresh Spring Rolls. I'm hungry as I'm reading this, so now I really want to go make some. You made it sound so easy. The video at the end really made it look as easy as you said. Thanks!

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