The thoughts that came to my mind about Ngoh Hiang is celebration, reunion and a joyful ambience. It is a dish that I usually eat to celebrate a festive occasion such as Chinese New Year. Hence, it is not surprising to associate Ngoh Hiang with any festivities. The word Ngoh Hiang derives from the word 五香 which means five-spice powder, a spice that gives a unique twist to this dish and enhance its flavor.
To put it simply, Ngoh Hiang is DEEP-FRIED PORK ROLL. Pork belly is usually used due to its high proportion of fats that provides moisture and makes it juicy. Other ingredients such as prawn and water chestnuts are also used to give that umami flavor and provides a crunch. The ingredients are then mixed together and rolled in bean curd skin. Bean curd skin is a translucent large wrapper made from soybean and gluten-free.
My version of Ngoh Hiang is easy and made based on the ingredients that are more accessible to me. The ingredients are: 1.5 lb minced pork, 2 medium sized carrot (or 1 large carrot) , 0.4 lb turnip, 2 shiitake mushroom and bean curd skin. The seasonings I used are 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoon fish sauce, 2 tablespoon cooking wine, 1/4 teaspoon all-spice or five-spice powder, 2 tablespoon of cornstarch (or potato starch) and a pinch of salt and pepper.
First, place the store-bought minced pork in a bowl. If you choose to mince the pork by yourself, use a food processor to process 1.5lb of pork belly until very fine. Alternatively, you can use a knife to mince the pork, which is the traditional way of doing it.
Next, use a peeler to peel the skin of carrots and discard it. Use a knife to cut the carrots into half and then cut into julienne shape. Hold the julienne carrots with the palm of one of your hands and with a kife in another hand, to dice the carrots. Then place into the bowl together with the minced pork.
Repeat the same for the turnip (or water chestnuts, whichever you are using). I substituted water chestnuts with turnip as water chestnuts is difficult to get at my place.
Then, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water until it is softened. Then, dice the mushroom and place into the bowl with the minced pork. I don’t usually use shiitake mushroom to make this dish and I am just trying out this time to see how it turns out 🙂 To be honest, it doesn’t make much difference to this dish so I would say that this step is optional.
Next, place in ALL the seasonings and use your hand to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
Next, remove each piece of bean curd skin very gently. Since the bean curd skin I bought is slightly crispy, I soak it in water for 5 seconds to soften it and cut into a rectangular size.
Next, use your hand to shape the filling into a neat log with a diameter of approximately 4.5cm and place onto the bean curd skin. Roll the bean curd with the sides tugged in. You can apply a little bit of cornstarch or egg white on the edge to seal the pork roll.
Since the bean curd skin I bought is round in shape and slightly crisp, it breaks easily when I tried to remove each piece and end up with several smaller pieces. So, I place 2 or 3 smaller and uneven pieces side by side with the edge overlapping each other, place the fillings on the bean curd skin and roll it nicely.
Next, prepare a wok about 1/4 filled with cooking oil on medium heat. When the oil is just about to turn hot, place in the ngoh hiang and deep fry till brown. Make sure that the hot is not too hot or else the filling won’t be cooked completely even the bean curd skin has turned brown. Place the fried ngoh hiang on the wire rack to drain the oil and cut into bite size accordingly.
Normally, Ngoh Hiang is steamed for 10 minutes before frying it to cook the pork completely and to soften the vegetables. Sometimes, I skip this step as I find it a little troublesome. If not consuming on the same day of making, it is necessary to steam it so that it can be preserved in the freezer up to 1 month. On the day you want to consume it, thaw it before frying it.
Serve with ketchup, mayonnaise or sweet chilli sauce. This recipe can make 8 – 9 rolls. Sometimes, I double the portion to make about 15 – 18 rolls and keep in the freezer to preserve it.
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