Popiah Medan (Fresh Spring Rolls with Jicama) – Fresh spring roll is filled with jicama, carrots, and shrimp mixture. Popiah is one of my favorite street food. Learn how to make fresh spring roll wrapper easily too.
Popiah or loosely translated as fresh spring rolls with jicama are popular street food in Southeast Asia countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. I grew up eating these and love them so much. The main filling in popiah always include jicama or known as yam bean or bang kuang in a Hokkian dialect.
In North America, we call it Jicama (read: hee-kah-ma). The Indonesian version, from the hometown I grew up, Medan, of popiah is a bit different compared to the one I’ve tasted in Singapore. Not as “fancy” perhaps I should say (not as much ingredients in the filling) and it comes in two version: the fried and non-fried. I always prefer the non-fried one and they always come with this special red sauce that I’m not sure what they are made of, to be honest, but it’s really good.
HOW TO MAKE FRESH SPRING ROLL WRAPPERS
The only problem I used to had when it comes to making popiah is the popiah wrapper (spring roll wrapper). I’ve tried several recipes that require so much work and to no avail! I failed miserably! I don’t like the store-bought spring roll wrapper for this version of unfried spring rolls because the texture is just not the same. Until, of course, I came across how to make popiah wrapper so easily! Like seriously easy that I’ve made them 3 times in the course of two weeks! Fresh spring roll wrappers are only good for 1-2 days after being made.
So, here are simple steps on how to make good spring roll wrappers
1. Only 3 ingredients
All-purpose flour, water, and salt are all you need to make the batter
2. Strain the batter
This step is to make sure you get a smooth batter and when you cook it, there won’t be any lumps
3. Use a brush
The brush idea is seriously a genius idea. This is how the spring roll wrapper is made, by brushing the batter on the non-stick pan several times
4. Control the heat
When brushing the batter on the pan, the heat should be very low. Once you are done brushing, crank up the heat to start cooking the batter
5. Gently peel off the wrapper off the pan and place on a plate to let it cool down. Repeat with the rest
TIPS ON HOW TO EASILY MAKE GOOD POPIAH FILLING
1. Grate the veggies
Majority of the muscle work for making popiah filling is in shredding the jicama and carrots. Peel the jicama and then use a box grater if you have one to shred it into strips
2. Use dried shrimp
Dried shrimp adds that nice umami flavor to the overall popiah taste
3. Use shrimp
The shrimp adds that natural sweetness to the taste that I really like
4. Lose the juice when wrapping
There will be some juice oozing out when you cook the jicama, it’s normal. Just make sure you don’t scoop that juice when you wrap the popiah, or you will end up tearing the wrapper and wet popiah
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Recipe for the spring roll wrapper is adapted from China Sichuan’s. Love the easy recipe!
Popiah Medan (Fresh Spring Rolls with Jicama)
Spring roll wrappers (makes about 20 skins or more):
- 200 gr all-purpose flour
- 300 ml water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 500 gr jicama/ yam bean / bang kuang peeled and shredded
- 10 oz shrimp peeled, deveined, and diced
- 1/3 cup dried shrimp soak in warm water until soft and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced
- 4 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Sweet red chili sauce
- Hoisin sauce
Other ingredients you can include in the filling (as many or as few as you wish):
- 2 eggs (beaten and made into omelette and cut into long strips)
- 1 medium-size cucumber (peeled and cut into long strips)
- 100 gr ground roasted peanuts
Making the spring roll wrappers:
- Mix the flour salt and water in a large mixing bowl. Strain the mixture through a strainer to make sure you get a smooth batter
- Turn on the heat on your stove to the lowest. Place the non-stick pan, about 8-inch size if you have one. Use a large pastry brush to brush the batter on the pan.
- Brush several times to make sure you are covering the surface so there won't be any hole on the wrapper
- Once you are done brushing, turn the heat up to start cooking the batter. The batter will slowly turn white starting from the edge
- Once the bottom has cooked, gently peel it off the pan to a plate. Cover with a cloth.
- Wipe the pan clean and repeat the process. Give the batter a stir each time before brushing
- Once the wrapper has cooled down, you can stack them up and cover with a cloth until needed. The wrapper can be made one day ahead, covered and keep at room temperature until the next day. Make sure they are completely cool down so no condensation is formed when you wrap them
Preparing the filling:
- Preheat oil in a skillet or wok. Add in garlic and stir fry for about 10 seconds and add the dried shrimp and stir fry for another minute. Add shrimp and stir-fry until they just started to turn color. Add the yam bean/ bang kuang, carrots and seasonings. Stir fry until the yam beans started to soften. Have a taste and add more salt if needed. Sometimes the yam beans may ooze out more water as you stir-frying them, that's normal. Once the yam beans are soft, it's done
- Place 1 piece of popiah skin on a clean working surface or cutting board. Brush the skin with some chili sauce and hoisin sauce, if using in the lower 1/3 of the wrapper. Scoop about 2-3 Tbsp of the yam bean mixture on top of the sauce or other filling ingredients you choose to add. Fold the two sides in firmly tuck and roll up tightly. Cut into desired pieces and serve immediately. Only prepare as many as you would eat. This is not something to prepare ahead of time as the skin will get soggy and tear
- Popiah skin usually only good for 1-2 days. If you store them in the refrigerator, they will lose that elasticity and break when you try to wrap. I made them one day before I plan to serve the popiah and let them cool down completely and then cover with plastic wrap at room temperature until the next day when I'm ready to make popiah