Thursday, September 3, 2009

Teochew-Style Ngoh Hiang (With Yam)

Peekaboo! What is this my daughter is holding up? Guess.

If you guessed dried beancurd skin, you are right! And what might we be using it for? Why, Teochew-Style Ngoh Hiang! You see, food does make the world go round. Thanks to this blog, I receive lovely emails from complete strangers regularly.

One reader, S from Perth, wrote to me recently. She wanted to know if I had a recipe for the traditional Teochew-Style Ngoh Hiang (prawn/pork rolls), the type with yam in it. I wrote back and promised her to keep a lookout for it ... so, here it is.


I always remember eating this style of Ngoh Hiang when I was young, at Teochew restaurants. From my understanding, not many people know how to make them (the Hokkien Ngoh Hiang is more commonly eaten here), so I asked my friends - especially those with aged parents who cook - and struck gold when my good friend, SY, told me that her mum makes delicious Teochew Ngoh Hiangs every Chinese New Year.

Within 2 days, I fixed up an appointment with her mum ... let's call her Nice Mrs Tan. I drove her to my home, straight into my kitchen and learned from the master, one-on-one. In total, she taught me 3 dishes, which translated to 6 hours in the kitchen! I spoke more (broken) Teochew in those 6 hours than in my entire life put together.

(Courtesy of Nice Mrs Tan)

For Step 1
- 400g shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 medium sized yam, peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 rice bowls vegetable oil
- Salt

For Step 2
- 1 kg pork belly (minced)
- 500g water chestnuts, peeled and chopped
- 500g fresh prawns, shelled and deveined, then smashed using the back of the cleaver, then chopped finely
- 1 large sheet beancurd skin, wiped with a slightly damp cloth, then cut into small rectangular pieces
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp white pepper (or more, if you so desire)
- 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp dark soya sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp shallot oil (the oil used for frying the shallots in Step 1)
- Chopped liver (if you so desire, but I hate liver! No liver in my rolls!)

For Step 3
- Plain flour, small quantity
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)


Step 1
Steam yam slices for 10mins (or until tender).


(Left) Raw yam slices. (Right) Cooked yam after steaming. Mash the cooked yam with the back of your fork. If you find some parts which are still hard, discard those. Leave to cool on a flat plate or tray.


Peel and slice shallots thinly. You must be wondering why I have a tealight in the kitchen. Well, if you place a candle near the shallots (or onions) that you are cutting, you will not tear. I have found this to be true when I am cooking something on my stove at the same time. The heat will burn away the shallot fumes.

On a separate note, just look at these gorgeous shallots! I get my shallots from this lovely makcik at the market. Her shallots are twice the cost of the ones sold at supermarkets, but their colour and aroma are worth every extra cent.


Fry shallots in oil (about 2 rice bowls) until fragrant and golden brown. Add salt only when you are just about to ladle out the shallots. This way, the shallots will be crispy.

Drain the shallots of oil and let them cool on a flat plate. Do not discard the oil. It is liquid gold. Tip: keep it as a drizzle for any soupy or steamed dishes. They instantly wake up the flavours.

Step 2
Put all the ingredients for Step 2 into a large pot. Add fried shallots and yam, and mix thoroughly using your hands. Drizzle in shallot oil.


This is how the final mixture should look ... a little sticky. If you are using chicken, make sure you add just a little more beaten egg, since chicken has the tendency to be drier.

Wipe beancurd skin with a slightly damp cloth to remove the excess salt. Cut the skin into even sized rectangular sheets.


Spoon meat mixture onto each sheet and wrap tightly. Like a maki. Wrap all the way and then leave the roll seam side down. You do not need to tuck in both ends. They will "wilt" and close on their own during steaming.

After all the rolling is completed, heat up your steamer. While waiting for it to heat up, brush all the rolls with a little vegetable oil, so that they don't stick to the surface of the steamer.

Place Ngoh Hiang Rolls into the steamer and cook for about 10-12mins. Leave them to cool. At this stage, you can pack some into containers and freeze them for later consumption.

Once cooled, slice them diagonally with a very sharp knife, into medium sized chunks.

Step 3
Dip both "exposed" sides of each chunk into egg, then lightly in flour to seal everything. Drop each piece into a wok of heated oil. Deep fry till golden brown. Drain excess oil and serve with Sweet Flour Sauce.



Crispy on the outside, juicy and creamy on the inside.


And there you have it, from Nice Mrs Tan's kitchen to mine, and now to yours. I hope you'll all like this Teochew dish. I certainly did :)

For my other posts on (Hokkien) Ngoh Hiang, click here and here.


  1. OMIGOD, don't tell me you made your own beancurd skin!!!!

  2. ZOMG!!! I haven't had this type of Nogh Hiang for more than 10 years!! Thanks for sourcing the recipe. The little girl behind the veil (bendcurd skin) looks suuuuuuuuuuuuuper cute!!! Your daughter is so pretty!

  3. Looks like so much work to make the yummy ngoh hiang! can u invite me over to enjoy the fruit of your labour the next time u make it instead? hehe....cheryl ;0)

  4. Thanks, Ellie! :)

    Cheryl, sure ... when your exam stress are behind you and you're ready to party ... LOL.

  5. Your daughter made me visit right away!! What cute pics!!! Oh she is adorably pretty.

    How kind of you to seek the recipe and find a teacher..A NICE teacher.
    I have had maybe a few days like that in my life where I was either taught or I showed someoone how to do something..and I would have to say that on the richter scale of joy and's up there:)

    Your food looks awesome.
    It all looks wonderful.
    What a great post.

  6. Thank you, Monique. And I agree ... it's a blessing to learn, an even bigger blessing to teach :)

    but never tried this teochew styled one.
    btw your daughter looks like you!
    really beautiful :)

  8. Sono attratta dalla tradizione orientale, e anche questo piatto mi attira molto, solo non saprei dove reperire la pelle bencurd, oppure con cosa possa sostituirla?
    Grazie della ricetta, ciao Daniela.

  9. Ngoh hiang with yam .. yum, yum! Haha if I knew you were cooking this, I would have invited myself over

  10. I love Ngoh Hiang...! But I only know the Hokkien style, it's interesting that the Teochew style is with taro - well, I can imagine it tasting good when the taro is minced, although I'm sure there's no slightest similarity in taste between this ngoh hiang and taro milk tea ;-D)!

  11. wow it's fantastic! U learnt direct from the master! Thanks for sharing ^^

  12. Well done! I've actually tried Nice Mrs Tan's Ngoh Hiang some years ago and it was super! Was hoping someone would document and learn it from her, as this is a precious recipe. I hope to have the time to try it one day.

  13. I love this recipe and learned from someone who has been making it for a long really have a very nice blog. Thanks for sharing all this great food knowledge with us.

  14. Oh my... little T...I have never had this and now I really want to try it...
    Looks right up my alley!

  15. I love yam and ngor hiang. This is such a great combination. I can't wait to try this out. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  16. Thank you, friends! Am glad you all like the recipe :)

  17. Wow, those look amazing. There is so much food on here that seems so intimidating to me, I wish I had you here to help me make it!

  18. Hi I am a teochew/peranakan and I have not eaten any Ngoh Hiang this style before! Mine was always the nyonya type....Will certainly try this soon!
    Thing is now that I am living in US it's difficult to get the beancurd skin. Sigh, things we took for granted in SG...

  19. thank you singapore teochew ah nya, i am from north carolina an a singaporen too, now make my home in the state. i fine your recipe just like the one at the hawker centre or better.
    now we can get anything at the asians store but only if you know how to do and cook.
    best regards.
    hai-lum kai. aka fredolim.

  20. thank you singapore teochew ah nya, your recipes is as good as the hawker centre back home or even better. now i have make my home in north carolina. we can get anything at the asian store, but one must know how to do and cook. i must say that your recipes is out of this world.
    hai-lum aka fredolim.

  21. hi teochew ah nya, your ngoh hiang is out of this world. i am from north carolina and a singaporen too. now i call NC my home.
    best regards
    hai-lum kai aka fredolim

  22. Sara, Happy Belly, Lim: Thank you for your kind comments!

  23. LOL! I gotta laugh when I saw you typing "No Lah" husband kept correcting me when I said 'no problem lah' ;-!&
    The tofu skin reminds me of special 5-spiced meat roll (very much like the one you did here) from my home town--Amoy.
    p.s. You look so YOUNG and CHIC, and I can't believe that you have 3 children already!

    Angie's Recipes

  24. Thanks for this teochew ngoh hiang recipe. I am a Teochew and now living in Perth. I like to try out Teochew recipes (i have now master 'orr-nee'). Definitely going to make this on the weekend!

    Kam-sia... please continue to share!

  25. Great pics! You make the simplest dish look so sexy.
    My family has been pestering me to make this since Chinese New Year but I have been too lazy to ask my grandma for the recipe. I will be trying this out soon! Thanks for the recipe

  26. Hi! Can I clarify if the soya sauce used is the dark or light one? I used the dark type as mentioned in the recipe and my mixture turned out very dark. :P

  27. Hi Pauline, it IS the dark soy sauce. You used the right one. :) I think the brand I bought was either Tiger or Tai Hua. It didn't turn out very dark for me. What brand did you use?

  28. Hmm, I'm using the Tiger brand. Anyway, the ngoh hiang rolls are steamed and cooling down now. Gonna fry them up tomorrow! Can't wait!!

  29. YUMMY! I've been thinking of trying to make my own Ngo Hiang after having some at an ex-guardian's house over CNY. Now, I can try this out, thanks to you, & Nice Mrs Tan ^^

  30. Hi, may I take this opportunity to invite you to the Heritage Food Trail event? More information available.

  31. I'm Teochew also and I've been looking forever to find a site where I can find authentic Teochew recipes. Thanks so much for blogging!

  32. Thanks for taking the time and effort to learn this "teochew ngoh hiang" and then sharing the recipe! Very generous of you. I've only tried the minced meat + prawns ngoh hiang. Your teochew style looked yummy and will try to make it after CNY!

    p/s: I've baked your butter cake recipe with almond for my aunt for CNY, very happy to report she loved it as it was moist and buttery. Tks and god bless you; and happy CNY to you + family.

    Rgs, sue

  33. Tammy: Thanks for coming by!

    Sue: Good luck with the ngoh hiang, and great to know your aunt loved the almond butter cake. Happy New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and all at home!

  34. Love this!!! I'm a Teochew who speaks broken Teochew too. this ngoh hiang always reminds me of my mommy!!

  35. Hi!,

    May i know the serving size for the amount of ingredients you used? I'm going to try out your recipe.

    1. Hi Rexxar, you can probably feed 10 people! But they freeze very well, so why not? It's worth the one-time effort, and you can have instant ngoh hiang whenever the craving strikes for the next 2 months or so! :)

  36. Hi Little Teochew! I found your blog when I searched for "Steamed Egg Cake ice cream soda"! Exact words :) I am so happy because my auntie used to make it for me regularly when I was a child. I am again happy to see your Ngoh Hiang recipe, that you have spent time researching and interviewing older folks for! Thank you for your wonderful blog for people who live overseas.