recipe

Popiah: the mouthwatering recipe for Malaysian spring rolls

Total time: 80 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 15 people
By Cookist
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If you're a fan of spring rolls, you'll love this incredible recipe for popiah, aka Malaysian spring rolls. It's a flavorful, simple recipe that's fantastic when you have a large crowd to feed. Popiah is made from homemade spring roll wrappers packed with crispy jicama (also known as yam beans, a tasty root vegetable that's native to Mexico), carrot, crab meat, dried shrimp, and garlic.

These fragrant, savory rolls are usually enjoyed as a side dish or appetizer. However, you can easily pair them with some rice noodles or steamed rice to make a hearty meal that will seriously satisfy your taste buds. The best part? You can customize your popiah however you like. Make versions with seafood, beef, and chicken, or prepare some vegetarian popiah. No matter what you choose to make, they'll be delicious!

What is Popiah?

Popiah (pronounced “po̍h-piá”) is a delicious type of fresh spring roll that originates in Fujian, China. The dish is so popular that it has spread to other regions including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, and beyond.

Popiah is made with thin spring roll skins and stuffed with various types of filling including freshly grated vegetables, seafood, meat, omelet, tofu, rice, sausages, and noodles, depending on the region they're from.

How to Make Popiah

Don't worry if you've never whipped up a batch of homemade spring rolls before. Making popiah is incredibly easy. We'll take you through each step so that your Malaysian spring rolls turn out beautifully.

Making the Popiah Skin

The keep to great popiah skin is to make sure your batter is lump-free. Start by sifting the flour and salt into a bowl, then whisk in the water. Pour the batter through a strainer to get rid of any lumps. To cook the skins, put a non-stick pan over the lowest possible heat. Brush your batter onto the bottom of the pan with a pastry brush. Add several coats to cover any holes.

Turn the heat up slightly to cook the wrapper. Once cooked, take the wrapper out of the pan and place it on a plate. Cover the wrapper with a cloth, so it doesn't dry out. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Making the Filling 

Once you've prepared all the wrappers, it's time to move on to the filling. Sauté the garlic for 10 seconds in a wok, then stir in the shrimp. Cook for about 1 minute, then mix in the jicama, carrot, salt, sugar, and pepper.

Sauté the mixture until the jicama begins to soften, stirring occasionally. Mix in the crab meat, then keep cooking the filling until the jicama has completely softened.

Wrapping Popiah

To assemble the popiah, start by laying out one of the wrappers. Brush it with sweet chili sauce, then scoop two to three tablespoons of the filling onto the wrapper. Garnish the filling with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Fold the sides, tuck them, then tightly roll up the wrapper. Repeat to make your desired amount of popiah, then cut into pieces and serve immediately. Don't overfill the wrappers. The filling might fall out, or the skins might rip.

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What to Serve with Popiah

Popiah is generally served with a sweet chili sauce or hoisin sauce. It's usually enjoyed as a side dish or appetizer. It goes wonderfully with noodle dishes and rice dishes such as steamed rice, fried rice, or stir-fried noodles.

Tips for the Best Malaysian Spring Rolls

Make sure to cover the spring roll skins, so they don't dry out.

Only assemble as many popiahs as you plan on eating. This is one dish that doesn't work well when made ahead.

To make vegetarian popiah, leave out the crabmeat and dried shrimp. Fry up an omelet and slice it thinly, then use it in place of the crab meat.

For a heartier filling, add ground roasted peanuts to your popiah.

If your popiah skins are hardening up, lightly dampen them with cold water.

How to Store Homemade Popiah

Popiah tastes best when enjoyed fresh. It's best to make the amount you plan on eating, then wrap and save the different ingredients and make another batch when you're ready to eat them again. If you have leftover popiah, store them in the fridge and eat them within a day.

Ingredients
for the wrappers
All-purpose flour
200 g
Water
300 ml
Salt
1/2 tsp
for the filling
jicama, peeled and shredded
500 g
large carrot, peeled and shredded
1
crab meat lump
200 g
dried shrimp, soaked in warm water until soft and finely chopped
1/3 cup
garlic, peeled and finely minced
3 cloves
cooking oil
1/4 cup
Salt
1/2 tsp
Sugar
1/4 tsp
Ground black pepper
1/4 tsp
Fresh cilantro, chopped
sweet chili sauce

Instructions

For the wrappers

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Whisk in the water. Once combined, strain the batter to remove any lumps.

Heat a non-stick skillet over low heat.

Brush the batter onto the bottom of the pan with a pastry brush, repeating this several times to cover any holes.

Turn the heat up slightly. Once cooked, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate. Cover the wrapper with a cloth. Repeat with the remaining batter.

For the popiah

Heat the oil in a wok. Sauté the garlic for 10 seconds, then stir in the shrimp. Cook for 1 minute.

Stir in jicama, carrot, salt, sugar, and pepper.

Sauté until the jicama begins to soften. Mix in the crab meat. Continue cooking until the jicama has completely softened.

Lay out one wrapper. Brush it with sweet chili sauce.

Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling onto the wrapper.

Add a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Fold the sides, tuck them, then tightly roll up the wrapper.

Repeat to make your desired amount of popiah, then cut into pieces and serve immediately.

Notes

Homemade spring roll wrappers will last one day at room temperature. Don't store them in the fridge because they'll dry out and become unusable.

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