Popiah (Fresh Spring Rolls)

The only time I’ve ever had Popiah was in Singapore — I’ve never had it anywhere outside of Southeast Asia! It’s also pretty common in Malaysia and Indonesia. I still remember the first time I had it, I was walking around the city and stumbled across a hawker center, I walked in not really knowing what I wanted and I had no idea what Popiah was but it was new to me, so of course I had to try. I instantly fell in love and I wish it were more commonly found! I also had no idea how to pronounce it and it called it ‘po-pi-ah’, like papaya, but learned it’s pronounced more like ‘PO-pee-ah’, thanks Em 😉

Popiah is like a Singaporean spring roll, the outer skin is the same as mushu sheets, or spring roll sheets, and it’s filled with sweet flour sauce, sambal for a little kick, and assorted fillings — most commonly jicama, carrots, eggs, beansprouts, and shrimp. They’re fairly simple to make, most of the time + effort in spent making sure you get all the fillings prepped and ready.

This recipe was adapted from The Meatmen Channel.

For ~5 popiah rolls you’ll need:

  • 10 spring roll sheets, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, blanched in salt water
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and diced
  • 2 beancurd blocks, sliced and tossed with a splash of soy sauce
  • 15 shrimp, poached
  • 1/2 medium jicama (~3lb for the whole jicama), slice off the skin and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup crushed roasted peanuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup sweet flour sauce (tianmianjiang) — we lightly diluted ours since it was too salty, you could also just use less
  • sambal chili sauce (or chili oil, in a pinch)

To make:

  • Add neutral cooking oil to a pan over medium heat and add in the garlic and shallots. Then add the jicama and carrots and cook until slightly softened. Then add in soy sauce, oyster sauce, dash of white pepper, sugar, and 1 cup of water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, discarding the remaining water.
  • Lay out two spring roll sheets and spread with sweet flour sauce and sambal. Then top with the jicama + carrots, bean sprouts, eggs, beancurd, and shrimp. Roll it up like a burrito and cut into pieces to serve.