I grew up eating homemade Ngo Hiang at almost every festive meal – the Chinese New Year’s eve dinner, Easter lunch, Christmas Eve dinner, New Year’s Eve dinner and birthdays. My siblings and I never grew tired of eating Mum’s scrumptiously prepared sausage-esque roll.
Ngo Hiang is a unique dish omnipresent in Malaysia, Singapore and many parts of Indonesia and in Cebù in the Philippines. In my hometown, Kuching, we called this tasty sausage roll, Ngo Hiang. Some bloggers claimed this dish to be either Hokkien or Teochew. In my ear, Ngo Hiang sounds very Teochew, as “ngo(h)” is five in Teochew, whilst “go(h)” is five in Hokkien. “Ngo hiang” means five-spice (powder) and that is also how the sausage roll – Ngo Hiang – has been christened 😀
In West Malaysia and Singapore, the dish is dubbed as loh bak. In this post, I will refer to this dish as Ngo Hiang, which I’m most familiar with.
By the way, this is one of the best pot-luck dishes, where minced pork and prawn (or fish) are mixed together with some vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, seasoned with the hallowed five-spice powder (ngo hiang hoon) before rolling inside a bean curd skin and deep (or shallow) fried.
I did it my way….
While Mum makes the finest Ngo Hiang – succulent, luscious, tasty and mouth-watering, I had to make do with what I could find here in Belgium to simulate Mum’s feat. The most challenging stunt is to accommodate the palates of my three guys – my most priced critics 😀
While Mum would slog away self-mincing the pork shoulder, with a mix of pork belly (for flavour and extra sappiness), fresh prawns, fish, onion, garlic, water chestnut, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, spring onions and flat-leaf parsley using a BIG Chinese chef’s knife or Cleaver on a thick round Chinese wooden chopping board, I used ready minced meat – a mixture of veal and pork or poultry and chopped the other ingredients separately on my little bamboo chopping board.
I know the ingredients I used may differ from Mum’s, but the bean curd skin is sine qua non (a prerequisite) in making an authentic Ngo Hiang.
The bean curd skin (or bean curd sheet or tofu skin) is really lightweight, and depending on where it is sold, the one I had was a 45gm salty sheet folded in 18 parts.
By the way, this was bought for me by a girlfriend on my request when she made a home trip back to Kuching not so long ago 😉
X, if you are reading this post, the Ngo Hiang I made recently which I brought over to A’s “laksa à volonté” get-together came from the packets I got from you. Cheers, friend! 😀
Boy, were the bean curd skin delicate – I meant really delicate, as they tore quite easily if handled gracelessly. I guess the saltiness in the bean curd sheets resulted in them being quite brittle. A simple trick I learnt from my Mum is to wet a clean kitchen towel and gently pat on the bean curd sheet to remove the excess saltiness, plus also making the sheet more workable or pliable.
How I made my Ngo Hiang, and trying to replicate my Mum’s recipe…
(Makes 25 suasage rolls)
- Minced meat (I used 1 kg mixture of ready minced veal and pork)
- Fresh prawns ( I used 500g frozen prawns, defrost, shelled, deveined and chopped roughly)
- Fish (I did not use)
- Water Chestnuts (I could not find these, hence I did not use them)
- Shiitake Mushrooms (I used 8, soaked in hot boiling water until plumped)
- Carrots (I used 3 carrots, skinned, washed and diced finely)
- Flat-leaf parsley (I used fresh coriander in lieu)
- Spring onions (I used 5 stalks)
- Onion (I used 1, chopped finely)
- Five-Spice Powder (Like sesame oil, please use sparingly – a little goes a long way…I used 1 tsp.)
- Chicken stock cube (I used 1 whole cube)
- White pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste (I did not use as I have used one whole chicken stock cube and please bear in mind that the bean curd skin is quite salty)
- Sugar (I used about ¼ tsp)
- Sesame Oil (Again, use sparingly. I used ½ Tbsp)
- 2 x 45g bean curd skin (Cut along the folds)
- Chinese Rice Wine (optional – I did not use)
- Egg (optional – I did not use)
- Corn flour (Depending on the texture of the meat mixture, if the mixture does not hold together, you may need to add some corn flour. I used 1 tsp)
Mix and combine all the above ingredients in a big glass bowl and cover with a cling film. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
That’s about it!
Next, the fun part – assemble all the ingredients and accessories: the meat mixture, the cut bean curd skins, the binding agent (I used a mixture of corn flour and water), a scooping spoon, and a work surface and – simply, start the ball ROLLING!!!
A picture is worth a thousand words! (X, no excuse for not making this yourself. These steps are specially made for you 😀 )
Then I shallow fried the sausages, until the meat was cooked and the bean curd skin turned golden brown and crisp.
We had these gems as starter for our Sunday lunch. An absolute winner 😛
Oh by the way, my eldest sister and BIL came to visit us last week and guess what? She brought 20 freshly made bean curd skins from a factory somewhere in Kuala Lumpur. Thanks, big sis! Now, I can’t wait to start making MORE Ngo Hiang 😉
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Happy Sunday and have a great week ahead 😀