Happy Vesak Day! Today is a public holiday in Singapore and the event is pretty much the biggest celebration in the Buddhist calender. It is a celebration/remembrance of Buddha's birth, his enlightment and passing away. It is common to eat vegetarian food at this time as a way to show compassion for all living things. Therefore, today's recipe is vegan and suitable for strict buddhist vegetarians who don't eat the 5 pungents. However, I add a small amount of leek as I had it in the fridge but omit if required. Even better, this dish is gluten free which all my recipes this week will be as part of the Coeliac UK's Awareness week.
I love these little beancurd skin rolls which are really quite meaty and tasty. They are called Ngoh Hiang in Singapore after the five spice powder used to season them and more commonly called Lor Bak in Malaysia. The first time I tried one it was under the guise of a vegetarian sausage roll which is kind of how I think of them now. This recipe owes a lot to Rasa Malaysia's recipe for vegetarian Loh Bak but with extra ingredients to make it closer to the versions I have tried in Singapore.
Vegetarian Ngoh Hiangs (makes 8-10 rolls)
Vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free
225g Taro (called Yam in Singapore)
85g Jimaca (called yam bean in Singapore), if not available increase amount of carrot or use daikon instead
1tbs Five spice powder
1/4 tsp white pepper powder
20g Shitake mushroom, finely chopped
50g Water Chestnut, finely chopped (canned or fresh)
10g Leek or scallion/spring onion, finely chopped (optional)
10 Pieces beancurd skin each 6"/15cm square
1tbs Cornflour mixed with 1tsp water
Vegetable oil for frying
- Slice the taro into thin strip and boil in a saucepan of water for around 5 mins until taro is tender. Drain and allow to cool.
- Roughly grate the carrot & jimaca into a large bowl. Add the five spice, pepper, sugar, salt, water chestnut and mushroom and mix together. Add the taro slices and stir in trying to keep some of the strips intact.
- Wipe the bean surf skin with a damp cloth or rinse with water to get rid of excess salt. Below is photo of the dried bean curd skin to help you know what to look for in the asian supermarket.
- Pat the bean curd skin dry with kitchen paper. Spoon around 2tbs of filling onto the beancurd skin and tightly wrap the sheet over the filling. Make sure to tuck in the edges of the sheet to ensure the filling will not fall out the ends. Use the cornflour mixture to seal the edges. Repeat until all the filling is used.
- Once all rolls have been made, heat some oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the rolls. Allow enough space between them to turn them over. Fry until golden brown and crispy.
- Once cooked, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil. Allow to cool and serve one their own or with gluten free chilli sauce.