Slowly but surely…

The previous Friday, my girl was delighted when her mum told her that she would cook Sarawak laksa for our meals on our no-meat day.

Well, last Friday, I told her I would make popiah (spring roll)…

…or what they call lumpia in Indonesia and the Philippines and of course, she was very happy to hear that as well.

Unlike in Kuching, we can’t just go out and buy some decently good ones here and there – here, we will have to make our own. It isn’t very hard to do, just that it will take a lot of time, all that cutting, chopping and shredding.

It sure does not help one bit that in our family, we were very fastidious about how we did it – my late mum and her sisters, half Chinese and half Melanau, were something like the Peranakans, nyonyas and they took pride in what they cooked. Everything must be cut in their very fine and delicate ways, very very thinly so if you think you can just simply do it anyhow, as quickly as you can, be prepared for the lashing of tongues! You will not hear the end of it.

I have inherited that characteristic of the family so when I make popiah (or cook anything for that matter), I would prefer to do it myself…slowly but surely. I did blog about cooking the filling in this 2010 post here but I did not use any meat this time around. Instead, I picked 10 out of one bag of around 30 prawns, removed the heads and shell and chopped them up and minced them for that same purpose. This would be the 4th time we’ve used the prawns and yes, we still have a lot in the freezer!

Another difference is I no longer add taugeh (bean sprouts) to my popiah filling. For reasons unknown, they will go bad (chow sui) if you do not eat everything up quickly. These days, I use carrot, finely shredded, instead and that, of course, will give a little bit of colour to the filling. In my growing up days, our tau kua (bean curd cake) was yellow/orange in colour but the dye used was deemed harmful to health so the practice was put to a stop immediately. That, of course, means that tau kua is white these days so the use of carrots instead of taugeh is a good alternative, at least where the colour is concerned.

The following blogpost shows how one can wrap a popiah but these days, we can’t get nice freshly-made popiah skin here so we have no choice – we just use the frozen ones, the brand that we like…

Other than that, I did not add any of the factory-made khong therng (kacang tumbuk)…

…anymore because I am on a low-sugar diet and that, of course, means that I had to do away with the starchy caramelised sugar “glue” as well. I bought a couple of cans of my favourite roasted & salted peanuts, sieved them well to remove the salt and pounded them to use in place of the super sweet kacang tumbuk.

Well, it did not matter much really, the things we had to do with or without, as at the end of the day, it…

…was just as nice and we enjoyed it a lot, both for our lunch as well as our dinner that day.

Despite it being so labour intensive, we still would want to do it all over again…and again…and again. We enjoy eating it so much but for the next round, perhaps we shall have our version of the Vietnamese rice paper rolls for a change. We’ll see!