Ngoh (Ngo) Hiang (五香), also known as five-spice meat roll or loh bak (五香滷肉), is always a favourite during Chinese New Year. While the Teochew version comes with yam (taro), this is the Hokkein version of ngoh hiang I love and grew up on. Eating them reminds me of my late father as this dish was his specialty. He was an awesome cook by the way, and this recipe is my tribute to my father.
This recipe is largely based on how my dad used to make them (and verbally imparted by my mum), with some tweaks of my own. My father’s secret to making delicious ngoh hiang was to use minced pork belly instead of lean pork. Don’t worry about the fats, as they will sort of be rendered out during deep-frying, and using a fattier cut will result in a more flavourful and moist filling. Also, request the market seller to grind the meat only once so that the resultant pork roll will have a nice bite and texture. I prepare and marinade the meat filling the night before, then fold and cook them the next day. You can also keep the excess in the freezer until ready to deep-fry. The results are definitely rewarding at the end of the day as home-made ones are far superior, in my humble opinion, to the ones sold commercially.
Wipe bean curd skin on both sides with a slightly damp clean cloth to get rid of the excess salt.
Measure and cut the bean curd skin to 15 x 10 cm (6 x 4 in) pieces.
Place about two and half tablespoons of meat filling in the lower half of the bean curd skin, leaving a small gap at the bottom and at the sides.
Fold the bottom flap up, and dab the side edges with egg white.
Fold the sides over the meat filling.
Roll the meat roll tightly towards the top.
Secure the remaining corner with egg white to seal the roll.
While I prefer to use egg white, my family uses the meat filling to seal the edges. The choice is up to you.
This is another method of folding ngoh hiang.
Just roll the ngoh hiang without folding in the sides, then use egg white or meat filling to secure the sides as you roll.
Which ever method you use, repeat folding until all the filling is used up. By the way, this is my set up for steaming the ngoh hiang, before deep-frying. Line the steamer with parchment paper and make sure the ngoh hiang do not touch one another.
Deep fry in batches and enjoy!
can i know if you buy the pork from the wet market or the grounded one at NTUC?
i tried but the ngo hiang texture is too fine , because i overmixed??
For ngoh hiang, I always buy the pork from the wet market. Choose the pork belly cut (the fat is nice), and tell the uncle to only ground the meat once. If you tell him that you are making ngoh hiang, he will probably know too. More details at para 2, page 1.
Do i need to defrost the frozen ngoh hiang before i deep fry? Can i use air fryer instead of the traditional deep oil frying?
I don’t really defrost it before deep frying. Yes, you can use the air fryer. Simply brush the ngoh hiang with vegetable oil all round and bake until golden. With the air fryer though, I find that the cooking time is longer than deep frying and can’t cook a lot at a time, but you don’t have to deal with splattering oil and they also turn out less oily.
how long can we keep and store the frozen ngoh hiang? i wonder if you have any idea how high should I set the air fryer and “fry” for how long ?
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What is the rational for steaming it first? What happens if we skip this step and goes straight to deep frying?
You can skip the steaming part, not a problem. Besides slightly enhancing the taste and texture, the rolls will better in the freezer after steaming.
The rationale is steaming will set the meat so that the prawn roll will not explode when frying them.
Thanks Wiffy for your recipe! I just made some and it turned out great!
Only that cos I am a halal eater, I replaced the pork meat with chicken and I decided to just use mushrooms instead of water chestnuts. :) thanks for sharing, and I appreciate at how you are always so detailed.
Thank you for trying out the recipe with substitution. I’m glad the recipe worked out well for you :)
Hello, do you have the recipe to make the egg slices that we get to buy along with ngoh hiang and bee hoon? As well as the red liver rolls? Thank you!
Hi wiffy I tried this out and it was yummy! I liked it that the rolls were quite mini. Easier to deep fry. A few of my rolls broke after steaming. Can I still deep fry them?
Made this today for my granddaughters birthday
It was delicious served it with century egg and pickled ginger