Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Copy Cat a Ngoh Hiang (Five-Spice Meat Roll)

One of the most frequently asked questions I found in my blog is "Do you feel homesick?" To be honest, both my wife and I sufferred bouts of homesickness during our decades abroad: "The smell of the durian and the lingering of the aftertaste on the tongue after you have eaten the whole durian ... that what we miss." There are two things and it's helpful to know about overcoming homesickness while you are living away from home. The first is that, once you get the hang of cooking a basic meal and with the help of Google, you properly able to duplicate most recipes and secondly, trying to mimic a traditional Singaporean dish with local available ingredients is just the kind of challenge home cooks love. Besides, you get heaps of praise from fellow homesick Singaporeans and gets high marks for coming close to the real thing.
Here is my copy cat version of my mother's Ngoh Hiang (Five-Spice Meat Rolls) recipe.

2 pcs beancurd skin
750g coarsely minced pork
2 large onions (finely chopped)
150g fresh water chestnut chopped (if unavailable use canned or frozen water chestnut)
1 smal carrot cut into fine shreds
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 1/2 tbsp five-spice powder.
1/2 cup plain flour
3 tbsp sugar
2tsp salt
2 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs
500 ml oil

Cut the beancurd skin into 15x 20 cm rectangles. Mixed the minced pork, carrot, water chestnut onion and garlic in a large mixing bowl.Add salt, sugar, pepper and soya sauce. Sprinkle in the five-spice powder and stir in the flour and eggs. Spoon the mixture onto the beancurd skin and roll up tightly like a cigar. Twist the end of the beancurd. Deep fry the meat rolls over a medium heat until golden brown. Drain and leave to cool. Sliced diagonally and serve with sliced cucumber and sweet chilli sauce. For a halal version, use chicken or beef mince.


  1. Hi

    was just talking about making ngoh hiang last nite. and was wondering where can I get the fresh water chestnut...??
    where can i get it?


  2. nice!!!! will try to make !

  3. Hi Soo,
    Are you living in Sydney? You can occasionally find them in the Asian Grocery Stores. The frozen water chestnuts you find in the stores are good subsitutes.

  4. HI BY,
    Do we get an invite to try them?

  5. Hi Uncle Phil,

    Jeff always dream about "Wu Xiang" .. thanks for your sharing.. :)

  6. Hi Yen,
    How is your family? Wu Xiang better known as ngoh hiang with Singaporeans is definitely a hot favourite dish among us. It's time to organise another bring a plate dinner during this Easter holiday. What is your plate?

  7. Hi Uncle Phil,
    I have everything except water chestnut, is there any substitute? It is suppposed to make it crunchy, right?

    Bee @EEWIF

  8. Hi Bee,
    That's a difficult one to substitute.Nothing can beat the crunchiness of the water chestnut.Everything else goes soft after cooking. Are you able to get canned or frozen water chestnut there?

  9. when my mum made, she put a long piece of pig liver in the middle of the pork rolls... this is "Ipoh Huan Peng" style. Taste different from just pork.

    1. It would be nice if you can share the recipe with us.

  10. it is the same, except an insertion of pig livers, but as for wrappers, mom used the "net oil", specially reserved by the pork sellers, very tedious and troublesomes to wash clean. I don't made it, this dish only lived in memory since mom already passed away few years ago. And forget to note that "huan peng" means pakai sarong Ipoh hokkiens, we are not nyonya, we speaks hokkien, but pakai sarongs (for my mom and maternal grand mom)

    1. Ya! Bergitu lah! Now I can see the connection. My mun called this nonya recipe as "Tu Kwa Kean" (pig liver roll). We stopped making them because we can't get the caul lining in Sydney. Well, we have to wait for the next balek kampung to taste them :)