Ngoh Hiang (Kikiam): Bean Curd Pork and Shrimp Rolls
When I was living in Manila, my colleagues and I would occasionally make a trip to Chinatown, braving the foot and vehicular traffic that is an everyday occurrence in the Binondo district (which boasts of the oldest Chinatown in the world, established in 1594) and surrounding areas. Our main intent of course was to eat at one of the restaurants serving all sorts of Chinese food. One of our favorite appetizer dishes was kikiam, which is like the pork and shrimp egg roll, except that instead of the usual egg roll wrappers, dried bean curd skin is used to wrap the meat. Known in other Asian cuisine as Ngoh Hiang, this crispy delicacy was most likely first introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese. Restaurants would serve kikiam with various dipping sauces, but my favorite was the sweet chili sauce. Preparation is quite tedious, but the good news is, uncooked kikiam rolls can be stored in the freezer for months, ready to be defrosted and fried at one’s beck and call.
1 lb minced or ground pork
1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and minced
One can (8 oz) water chestnuts, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, chopped
2 stems green onion, chopped
2 tbsps soy sauce
1 tsp five-spice powder
Salt and pepper to taste
8-10 sheets of dried bean curd skin
Olive oil for frying
Sweet chili sauce for dipping
In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, shrimp and egg. Mix well. In a separate small bowl, mix soy sauce, five-spice powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until powder is fully dissolved then add to the pork and shrimp mixture. Stir in onions, green onions, and water chestnuts, making sure that all ingredients are mixed evenly. Place sheets of dried bean curd in a large baking pan filled with warm water and let sit for about 10 minutes to soften. Pat try each sheet using paper towels. Cut sheets into 6 x 8-inch rectangles. Lay the sheets one at a time on a clean, flat surface. Add about 2 tbsps of the meat mixture to the bean curd sheet’s end closest to you, forming a slim tobacco shape. Roll the bean curd sheet away from you, tucking in as you roll along. Place the rolled meat into a lightly greased steamer tray, seam side down. Steam the rolls for about 10 minutes. Remove rolls from steaming tray and let cool on a large plate. Cover and refrigerate until ready to fry. Heat Olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Fry the rolls 2 or 3 at a time until the bean curd skin turns golden brown on all sides. Remove from heat and place on a plate lined with paper towel. Let cool. Slice each roll into one-inch diagonal pieces and serve on a plate, with sweet chili sauce on the side for dipping.