When I was little, everytime there was a major festival, we would make popiah for lunch. However instead of raving over the yummy filling, my favorite part of the popiah lunch was actually the popiah skin. Strange, eh? I think it was because we bought the popiah skin fresh off the stove. In the morning we would head over to the popiah skin shop and just stood there and waited while the popiah skin maker showed off his amazing talent. A ball of bouncy dough on one hand, a huge plop on the hot crepe-like stove and a quick pull of the remaining dough off the stove like a yo-yo. Within 5 seconds, a popiah skin is made.
Popiah skin making is slowly becoming a lost art because everyone is using frozen popiah skin nowadays. The frozen popiah skin when steamed is actually pretty good and so’s the Vietnamese rice paper but nothing still beats the fresh popiah skin. That is why it has been high on my to-do recipe list for a while. There’s quite a few recipes out there surfing around the internet and I have even tried a few. There are even a few where the batter is watery and is made just like a crepe. To me, that’s a no-no. I definitely prefer the chewy texture created by a bouncy ball of dough.
Well, last week i finally found a recipe that is really close. I plan to make a few adjustment next time till I get it right. I also realize that besides getting the right recipe, it takes a lot of skill to get the dough on the hot place without a huge mess. Hence, here’s my first feeble attempt at making popiah skin. 🙁
I had to make it really small because my hand action was not fast enough. The skin was cooked even before I could make a big one. I think it is harder than making a roti canai!! But it was a satisfactory first attempt. A little more recipe tweaking and a lot more practice is necessary will definitely make it a lot better. Oh well, back to the drawing board for now.
Luckily I had a back up plan. Frozen Popiah Skin!! I made a filling of jicama, dried shrimp and pork. Roll them up, deep-fried and a dash of Sriracha chilli sauce. Yum!