SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - A meaty, moist, savoury crunchiness with a sweetness from various vegetables - that is happiness rolled up in crispy bean curd skin.
The best part of making ngoh hiang (meat rolls) is deciding what goes into the filling. That said, I strongly recommend including yam.
I bought a whole yam that was 1.2kg. I used 500g to make the rolls. The rest went into making yam rice.
Ngoh hiang can be tedious to prepare, which is why I prefer to make a large batch - it makes the labour seem more worthwhile.
You can store the rolls in a box and freeze it for later. The rolls should keep in the freezer for at least a month, if not two.
I did not pre-cook the rolls by steaming. I simply chopped them into smaller pieces using a cleaver.
The blade must be sharp and the chopping swift and decisive to prevent the filling from spilling out of the skin - I learnt this tip from a late Penang chef skilled at making Penang lor bak and bak kien.
The latter is made from meat rolls similar to lor bak but cut up before deep-frying.
Another tip: When deep-frying the rolls, use low heat, so the filling can be cooked through without burning the skin.
Yam meat rolls
600g prawn meat
150g minced pork
4 garlic cloves (30g), chopped
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1½ Tbsp five-spice powder
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornflour
10g Chinese celery
70g carrot, shredded
6 water chestnuts (150g), sliced into fine strips
2 large sheets of dried bean curd skin (cut into 25cm by 35cm pieces, you should get 8 to 9 pieces)
150ml water in a bowl
400ml cooking oil
1. Slice yam into 1cm-thick pieces. Halve each piece.
2. Fill wok with water and bring to boil.
3. Grease steaming plate and place yam pieces on it. Steam in wok for 10 minutes or until tender.
4. Mash yam and set aside to cool.
5. Use food processor to grind prawn meat into paste.
6. In large mixing bowl, mix prawn paste with minced pork, garlic, oyster sauce, five-spice powder and salt.
7. Add cornflour and mix well.
8. Add yam, egg, Chinese celery, carrot, water chestnuts and mix well.
9. On a clean surface, place a piece of dried bean curd skin. Use damp cloth to wipe skin on both sides.
10. Dip fingers in bowl of water and dab side of skin that is facing up.
11. Spoon 3 large tablespoons of filling (approximately 150g) along bottom edge of the skin. Leave border of 2cm around sides and bottom edge.
12. Roll up skin to form a roll. Repeat process for rest of filling. You should get about eight or nine rolls.
13. Use sharp cleaver to chop each roll into 4cm pieces.
14. Heat oil in wok. On low heat, deep-fry pieces in batches of up to 10 until golden brown.
15. Place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
Yield: 20 servings