Traditionally, Poh Piah is a Nyonya dish and in Hokkien, Poh Piah literally translate into "Thin Biscuit". The skin of this wonderfully fresh spring roll is soft and delicate paper-like crepe made from wheat flour. Usually, mom makes the skin for her Poh Piah too. She stands for hours by the stove, slapping a minuscule amount of flour mixture onto the hot griddle and making a stack of paper thin pancakes, the texture of which is light and springy. But this time, as we were pressed for time, the skin was store bought. (Which was also nice, but very fragile and a little floury).
The filling was a mixture of braised julienned yam-bean or jicama (known locally as bangkuang) which is soft, sweet and savoury, shredded egg omelette, sliced french beans stir-fried with some garlic, fresh coral lettuce which is nice and crunchy, deep fried firm tofu, crispy and really nutty and finally some fried shallots. These were expertly rolled, fully packed into the Poh Piah skin and eaten in accompaniment with hoisin sauce and freshly made hot chilli sauce. And if you're greedy like me, your Poh Piah would be bursting in 3 places and you'd be gobbling it down doubly quick and licking off the bits that's fallen out from your plate. Yummmm....
Each person has their own plate. First you pick up the skin from the stack, carefully not to tear it and lay it down on your plate. Then you smear a little hoisin sauce and a dollop of chilli sauce on the skin. I like to lay down the lettuce leaf, and stack the rest of the cooked vegetables on top, and finally top it off with the crunchy bits. The best thing about it is that it's fully customizable, you roll your own Poh Piah. I always put too much in my Poh Piah, ending up with a fat, turgid roll.
The taste was most exquisite, a matrix of flavours and textures. Sweet and spicy, chewy yet delicate, juicy, crunchy plus an interesting contrast between the warm filling and the cool vegetables. It is such a healthy lunch too,