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!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

12 thoughts on “Slowly but surely…”

  1. Your popiah looks so good and must be extra tasty with prawns, can’t deny. The popiah fillings can also be used for making chai kuih. Actually both share the same fillings. Next round make chai kuih for a change.

    1. Yes, they should be similar if not exactly the same. Kuih pai tee also, the same filling may be used.

      But I dunno how to make those pai tee shells…and I’ve never tried making chai kueh skin either. I know some being sold here – too thick, too rubbery, too chewy, all fail big time! Not nice at all.

  2. Wah! Your home made popiah looks good and beautiful. Talking about cutting everything nicely reminds me of my young age how I used to get scolding from my sister when I helped her to cut vegetables. Somehow it can never reach her expectation. As for me, I am the ching chai type. Here, we can get fresh or fried popiah but not all are nice.

    1. Yes, even in Kuching. There are some very good ones but one must know where to go, not all are good but at least, that’s better than here – no good ones.

      Same in my case. In my growing up years, I was always roped in to help my mum in the kitchen and she would nag and nag. Well, at least some good came out of it – to this very day, when I cut anything, I will make sure it’s very fine, very halus…not so, in my mum’s words, “chor lor” (rough).

  3. Fried popiah is more common in Johore, that’s we we all cook at home too.
    We rarely wrap raw popiah, that’s a special snack in Malacca.
    Pretty much like what you have over there, but pork lard is a must have.

    >They give the pickled ginger at Japanese restaurants here – my missus loves those!
    They have two types of ginger pickles, the one that accompanies sushi or sashimi is called “gari”, it’s sweet pale pink or natural ginger colour. The other one is “beni shouga” and you have this with cooked Japanese food it’s very sour and deep red in colour. I prefer “gari” to “beni shouga”.

    1. Wowww!!! You sure are an authority on pickled ginger. Personally, I’m not into it. Absolutely dislike biting into it if there is any in a dish.

      The crispy pork lard popiah – I’ve seen it being sold somewhere in the peninsula but I did not buy. Not into pork lard so much – seems very popular in most anything and everything over that side including in the fried mee or kway teow.

      Yes, this style of ours should be popular in Melaka since it is said to be the nyonya style popiah. They have it in Kuching. We have the fried ones at the Malay stalls here, not much filling inside, mostly cabbage and carrot, not nice so I never buy. The ones at the Chinese stalls here are more or less the same, very little filling, maybe with long beans as well and not nice either, and theirs are not fried.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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