KitchenTigress: Teochew Ngoh Hiang

Teochew Ngoh Hiang

Ngoh hiang are deep-fried meat rolls. They have the sweetness of prawns and pork, the crunch of water chestnuts, and the fragrance of yam and five-spice powder. The salty beancurd skin wrapped around the filling adds to the aroma. More importantly, it stops moisture from escaping, keeping the meat roll moist and juicy.

What makes Teochew ngoh hiang Teochew? It's yam, which Hokkien ngoh hiang doesn't have. Of course, the Teochew version is far superior, in my totally unbiased, impartial opinion.

Seetoh is right about Teochew ngoh hiang having yam (0:25 in the video). But the yam isn't used as a thickener. Instead, it's added because it complements the five-spice powder, 五香粉, which gives the meat roll its name, 五香.

Does Teochew ngoh hiang have a lot of flour, as Seetoh says? Only when cost is more important than quality, and flour is used as a cheap filler. That goes for anything made with minced meat, not just ngoh hiang, and certainly not just ngoh hiang that's Teochew.

I guess Seetoh doesn't know much about Teochew ngoh hiang, and he's eaten only bad ones. He's right about one thing though. Good ngoh hiang, be it Hokkien or Teochew, must have lard.

Please repeat after me: good ngoh hiang must have lard!

All together now: good ngoh hiang must have LOTS of lard! Praise the lard! Hallelujah . . . HalleluLARD!

Why is everyone afraid of lard?

Because abstaining from something enjoyable harks back to their childhood. It reminds them of how they were praised when, as kids, they did as they were told. It gives them a reason to say, as their parents did when they didn't misbehave, “Good girl/boy!”

Do you want to be naughty for a change? If you do, scroll down for the recipe.

Big ngoh hiang rolls – the size of small bananas – are steamed, cut bite size, then deep-fried. Small ones are fried whole, without steaming. This recipe makes 16 small rolls. They're juicier than big rolls because they're not cooked twice.

ngoh hiang
  • 60 x 40 cm salted beancurd skin (½ sheet) – wipe both sides with damp cloth, cut into 16 pieces each measuring 10 x 15 cm
  • ¾ cup yam diced 5 mm – deep-fry over high heat till just cooked, 1-2 minutes
  • ½ cup water chestnuts – peel, rinse, dice 5 mm
  • 150 g prawns – shell, devein, rinse, dry thoroughly with paper towels, cut pea size
  • 350 g fatty pork mince (mix 250 g lean meat with 100 g lard)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shao Xing wine
  • ½ tbsp white sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp cornflour
  • ⅔ tsp five-spice powder

  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

  1. Thoroughly mix all ingredients for filling. Stir, in one direction only, till mixture is sticky, about 3-4 minutes.

  2. To roll ngoh hiang, place 1 beancurd sheet on a plate, vertically. Spread bottom end with 30 g (1½ tbsp) filling, up to 1 cm from edges. Roll upward tightly without folding in the sides (which will shrivel and seal when the roll is in hot oil). Set aside, seam side down.

  3. Deep-fry meat rolls in moderately hot oil over medium to medium-low heat till golden brown and just cooked. Serve immediately.