Fresh Popiah To Suit Your Fancy


Popiah is a fresh spring roll that originates in Southern China and spread throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia metamorphosing into different variations to suit local taste buds and individual preferences. It has a blend of textures and flavors knitted together by either hoisin sauce or taucheong sauce rolled up in a paper thin Chinese crepe.

One ingredient that is found in all variations of Popiah is cooked jicama. Don’t look down on this lowly root vegetable. Jicama’s main actions are to aid digestion, help increase the good bacteria (probiotics) in the intestine and comfort the digestive system. Jicama is the main ingredient in Popiah. For constipation sufferers eat it to scrub the intestine clean and soak up toxins as well as ease bowel movement.

Whenever the moon turns blue, the extended family would converge on my house to have a Popiah party. On other days, whenever the urge strikes, one can buy this popular snack easily from hawker stalls, eateries or ethnic restaurants.

Besides the omnipresent jicama, what else can one put into Popiah? Use any crunchy vegetable you fancy. The vegetarians of course only use vegetables, mushrooms, tau kwa (firm beancurd) or soy-based ‘meat’. Carnivores have more choices such as dried shrimps, fresh prawns, fresh crab meat, roasted duck or chicken meat, Chinese sausages, bacon or strips of omelet.

For additional crunchiness, use any of these: fried small cubes of lard, roasted, crushed nuts, fried pastry or fried strips of soy beancurd.


I used store bought Chinese crepe (Popiah skin). Traditionally it is made from wheat and tapioca/corn starch flour mixed with water. It is lightly cooked on either a flat hotplate or a flat bottom pan so that the crepe retains its flexibility for rolling.


(For filling)

• 300g prawns (shelled and deveined, then marinated with sugar)
• 1cup bean sprout (lightly blanched)
• 150 gm. Fresh mushroom (sliced thinly or julienne)
• Lettuce leaves (washed)

grate or julienne the following:
• 1 jicama (peeled)
• 2 large carrots (peeled)
• 1 cucumber (peeled)
• ½ cup roasted duck meat (cut into strips)

(For garnishing)

• 8 shallots (peeled and thinly sliced)
• 1 sprig of coriander, washed, roughly chopped.
• ½ cup Roasted peanuts (ground)
• 2 egg, fried into a thin omelet, then julienned


• A few bowls or squeegee bottles of hoisin sauce
• 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
• Light soya sauce or fish sauce to taste
• Salt to taste
• Sugar to taste
• Dash of pepper
• 1Tsp. Minced garlic



1. Heat up 3 tablespoon of oil in wok or pan.

2. Add in sliced shallots when oil is hot to fry over low heat. Occasionally turn shallots over.

3. Remove shallots from oil. Drain out excess oil and place into a bowl.

4. Make omelet with beaten eggs spiced with a dash of pepper and salt. Cut omelet into short strips.

5. Stir-fry prawns with a little soy sauce/fish sauce in wok until cooked. Dish out.

6. Stir-fry mushroom with oyster sauce, soy sauce/fish sauce, a pinch of sugar and a little water.
Cover wok for a few minutes to allow steam to cook the mushroom. Dish out.


1. Mix oyster sauce, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar and pepper with a cup of water.

2. Stir-fry garlic in oiled wok until fragrant.

3. Add in jicama and stir-fry to mix with garlic.

4. Add in sauce (from step 1).

5. Turn over jicama to mix with sauce evenly.

6. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer over low heat. Occasionally turn over ingredients. You may need to add a little hot water if water dries out before jicama is still too crunchy. (Some people prefer jicama to be crunchier and may cook it for a shorter time).

Popiah making

Each person makes his/her own Popiah, choosing the ingredients according to personal preference.

1. Place a piece of Popiah skin in the middle of a flat plate.

2. Spread hoisin sauce down middle of popiah skin.

3. Place lettuce over the sauce

4. Place a little of various filling ingredients in the middle of the lettuce and top with garnishing.

5. Wrap up ingredients.

You can either hold the whole rolled up Popiah and eat or cut into bite size as shown in photo above.

NOTE: do not put too much filling in the Popiah or the Popiah skin will break or burst open when you pick it up.


Jicama: Prebiotic for Intestinal health – (New window)

Help the ‘friendly bacteria’ in your gut flourish by eating prebiotic food. Find out how this class of functional food promotes health:
Prebiotic For Healthy Probiotic – (New window)

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