Singapore Ngoh Hiang Recipe – Mother’s Day Tribute to My Mum
Shot on an antique round marble table my mum inherited from an old friend.
This recipe post is a tribute to my awesome mother who gave up her youth and adventures for a life of housewivery mothering 3 kids. There was always freshly made food on the table, breakfast, lunch, tea snacks, kueh kueh, dinner, supper, soups, desserts, fruit platters – she tirelessly fed us homemade goodness every waking hour. I grew up watching my mother slaughter chickens (she used to hate doing it, slitting their throat and watching them struggle), kill crabs by using the motar pounding tool to knock a chopstick into the heart of the crab and I cleaned out the lungs – those fluffy things she explained worked like aircon filters – beautiful way describe that to an 8 year old.
I miss the delicious smells that permeate our open kitchen in Serangoon Gardens and how curries were always made with freshly grated coconut, put in a cloth bag and fragrant milk and juice wrung out of it.
Note the classic floral table clothes in the background. My mum loves flowers and while I used to think they were jarringly ugly, I kind of appreciate the vintage charm of them now. Loving the mismatched old saucers from the 1970s – the same patterned ones I find in Macau’s vintage stores chipped and full of character, filled I’m sure with so many bygone food memories.
Ngoh hiang (Ngor hiang, Ngo hiang spelt various ways) (Chinese: 五香; pinyin: wǔxiāng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ngó͘-hiong) is a hokkien dish she made often and we loved, served alongside a generous amount of kechap manis (sweet black sauce in malay made from red dates/jujubes).
Here’s her recipe. Go easy on the crushed biscuits as they were used as fillers because meat was expensive, but it also indirectly adds a texture to the 5 spice meat rolled in beancurd skin. The star of the mix is really the water chestnuts, you get the crunchy sweetness and flavour mixed in with the well seasoned minced meat.
500g minced pork
prawns, cooked and shelled
15-20 sheets of beancurd skin
Diced water chestnuts
Five spices powder
Shaoxing rice wine
cream cracker crusty bits (for texture)
season the minced pork with oyster sauce, shaoxing rice wine, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of corn flour. throw in the grated carrots and diced chestnuts to marinate overnight.
Then carefully spread them on a sheet on bean curd skin and roll them up. My mother’s rule is to steam the rolls in a steamer pot until you smell the fragrant spices. Turn off the fire, allow the rolls to cool before deep frying. Keep the rest in the fridge and deep fry the rolls when you next want to indulge.