I finally made ngoh hiang, and am now proud to call myself a real Hokkien mama! For the uninitiated, ngoh hiang is a delicious fried pork roll dish that is unique to the Hokkien and Teochew dialect, and is essentially a composition of fatty minced pork and prawn, seasoned with five-spice powder (after which the dish is named) rolled in beancurd skin. The dish is usually served with ketchup manis (or sweet sauce) and chilli, and eaten together with other items like the century egg, deep fried beancurd, ginger, cucumber and fried prawn fritters.
Every Hokkien and Teochew mother I know knows how to make this. My grandmother did. My mother and aunts still do. With pride. They’ve all diced and minced and rolled many, many, ngoh hiangs in their lifetime. And it is of utmost urgency I know how to. How else can I join the league of these mothers who churn out such unforgettable, flavourful pork rolls?
As a child (and even now), I could sit at the table all day eating these juicy, chunky meat rolls on end, never finding the will power to stop. It is my desire that this is a dish my children would remember me by, and would remember eating it with so much fondness.
Ngoh Hiang (Recipe makes about 12 six-inch rolls.) I dumped most of the work to my new Philips Jamie Oliver Food Processor – the chestnuts and onion were chopped in seconds. Review coming up soon!
About 500g minced pork (or get a slab of the shoulder for its higher fat content and make your food processor do the work!)
- 250g of fresh shrimp, shelled and minced
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp light soya sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp five-spice powder (I got mine from Hock Hua for 80 cents!)
- 12 water chestnuts, washed, peeled and ground
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- Dried beancurd skin, cut into 6×6 inch rectangles)
- Corn oil / canola oil / sunflower oil
- Sweet sauce (and chilli) for dipping
- You can also add finely chopped spring onions or leeks if you prefer
1) Mix the pork and shrimp in a large bowl and add the beaten egg. Stir to mix. In a small bowl, stir together the soya sauce, salt, white pepper, five-spice powder, then add it to the pork and shrimp mix.
2) Stir in the finely chopped water chestnuts, onion (and leeks/ spring onion) and mix to distribute the ingredients evenly.
3) Sift in the flour and mix thoroughly.
4) Lay out the prepared skins on the tabletop with damp palms. Arrange a heaping tablespoon of the pork mix along the longer edge of the skin. Shape the meat as you would a slim sausage.
5) Tuck in the side edges, then roll the skin starting with the edge closest to you. I followed the step-by-step tutorial from Little Teochew. Roll till the meat is fully wrapped, and place it seam down on a plate.
TIP: To reduce the saltiness of the skin, you can try wiping the skin very carefully with a damp clean cloth. Or try asking the Chinese grocery store for a brand of beancurd skin which is not so salty. The folks there oughtta know. (Credits: Motherkao’s Supermom)
6) Steam the rolls for 10 minutes, until the skins are translucent and the rolls are firm. Cool rolls on wire racks.
7) To fry them, cover the surface of a non-stick pan with just enough oil and pan-fry away. Handle about 3 – 5 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Remember not to overcrowd your pan. Fry on medium heat until you see skins turn dark, crisp brown.
TIP: You can wipe down the pan with paper towels after each batch before cooking the next to prevent your rolls from getting burnt. I didn’t bother. Was in a hurry to eat!
8) Leave the rolls to cool on paper towels. Slice them into 1-inch chunks and nomnomnom away with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!