Due to some email queries from readers, I have done a related "Question & Answer / Recipe" post here.
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My friend from New Zealand paid us a visit today. She is in Singapore for a relative's wedding and very much wanted to see my children, especially my baby son, whom she had only seen in photos. Since she came by in the afternoon, I made Ngoh Hiang, which I thought would be great for a savoury teatime nibble.
I had a small portion of pork + prawn filling left over from making Guo Tie, so I added a few more prawns, water chestnuts and an egg (to bind and add moistness). Teochew Ngoh Hiang is slightly different from the Hokkien version in that we load up on water chestnuts and add yam paste. I omitted the yam this time because my kids don't really like the taste of it. That's the beauty of cooking, isn't it? There are no hard and fast rules where taste is concerned ;) So, do whatever floats your boat.
When it comes to wrapping Ngoh Hiang, you've got to remember that the beancurd skin is extremely salty. You can get around it in 2 ways:
1) Go light on your seasoning of the filling, so that the saltiness of the wrapper makes up for the blandness, or
2) Season your filling as you normally would. Then, using a clean damp cloth, wipe the wrappers a few times (both sides) very gently. Make sure your cloth is damp and not wet, else your wrappers will turn soggy. Rinse the cloth thoroughly after each wrapper has been wiped. Squeeze dry and go on to the next.
I have made Ngoh Hiang both ways and I prefer the first. However, to make the wrapper more pliable, sprinkle some water (just a little) to wet it. As such, it's advisable to have a small bowl of water by your side. To seal the rolls, just run a wet finger along the edges. The skin will stick.
Always fry the Ngoh Hiang seam-side down first. You don't need a lot of oil for the skin to crisp. Just use enough so that they don't stick to the pan.
It was wonderful to meet up after so long! We chatted over our savoury afternoon snack, and just let the kids play as they pleased. Today, I made the Ngoh Hiang a little more petite than usual, so that the children could devour the rolls using their grubby lil hands, like churros ;)
And devour they did! I think they were feeling peckish by then. The Ngoh Hiang was crispy on the outside and very juicy on the inside, thanks to the egg binder. For dips, I had a saucer of sweet black sauce (the thick, gooey type) and another of sambal chilli. Frankly though, they were hardly required, for the Ngoh Hiang was perfect on its own.
L, if you're reading this, it was phenomenal seeing you guys! I'm glad you all enjoyed the food. Wish you were staying longer, though :( I promise I will make Kong Bak Pau the next time you come visit us :D