I had my first taste of Loh Bak at a wonderful little canteen style Malaysian restaurant in Malaga called “Sense Lah”. It was one of those little gems of a restaurant owned by a guy from Penang called Patrick who had a hearty asian laugh, and one day Patrick pointed out that he was the only Malaysian restaurant in Perth that served Loh Bak, so I tried it and I was hooked.
I have made Loh Bak at home a few times, and this recipe is very good, but I will always fondly remember Patrick’s version – unfortunately for me he has now retired and Sense Lah has closed.
The dish consists of a mixture of minced pork, prawn, carrot, water chestnuts and seasoning in a beancurd wrapper and then steamed and deep fried. The hawker stalls in Asia sell it on stalls where you go and choose your items from a vast display, then they deep fry everything for you, slice it up and give you some sauces – look out for stalls selling it as Ngoh Hiang.
200g raw prawns deveined
250g minced pork
3 tablespoons grated carrot
6-8 water chestnuts finely chopped
2 tablespoons coriander leaves finely chopped
2 spring onions finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 egg beaten
1 pack of dried beancurd skins (available at chinese supermarkets)
1 teaspoon corn flour
1. Mix together all of the ingredients except for the beancurd skins and cornflour. While the mixture is standing, cut the beancurd skins to a uniform size – they will have ragged edges – cut them to approximately 15cm squares. Mix the cornflour with a tablespoon of water to make a thick paste.
2. To make a roll, take one of the squares of beancurd skin and wipe it with a new damp clean cloth to soften it slightly. Put 2 tablespoons of mixture in the corner of the skin and roll it up tightly towards the other corner, tucking in the sides as you go. brush some of the cornflour mixture on the edges to ‘glue’ them together otherwise it will burst open in the hot oil.
3. Continue making rolls until all of the mixture is used up. You should be able to make approximately 10 rolls.
4. Steam the rolls in a steamer to cook the filling – approx 10 minutes.
5. Heat oil in a deep fat fryer to 180 deg C. Fry the rolls for 3-4 minutes each until golden.
6. Serve with a dipping sauce such as sweet chilli, hoisin, or make your own with fish sauce, lime, sugar and chilli.