A long while back, I was brainstorming ideas for dishes that would meet the requirements of a Failsafe diet, i.e. free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers, and yet have an Asian flavour. At that point, my only guide were the recipes in books by Sue Dengate, founder of the Food Intolerance Network, and because they were entirely geared towards an Australian diet, I really wanted to find some flavours closer to home.
During the brainstorming, poh piah was one of the traditional dishes I thought could be adapted. Of course, by leaving out the sweet flour sauce, bee cheo, and chilli, key components of the taste of poh piah are gone, but at least the shape and form of the dish provides variety in what could easily become a very limited diet.
The photograph in the title header of this blog shows the surprisingly successful result of a ‘quick and dirty’ mock poh piah. Forget the time complicated and time-consuming methods of cooking the filling and making the egg skin, this is actually a simple stir-fry of bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, carrots, spring onion topped with hard-boiled egg and wrapped in an eggy crepe (no recipe, sorry, simply made by approximating the batter consistency and using a higher proportion of egg than usual) ^_^.
To imitate poh piah more closely, cut the vegetables for the filling into strips, and use the same basic ingredients for the filling: bamboo shoot and bangkuang/jicama, streaky pork, prawns and taukwa/firm tofu. Fry chopped garlic, add organic miso as a replacement for Chinese fermented bean paste, taucheo, before adding the other ingredients to simmer as per these instructions.
In the end, I guess it’s not really much of a poh piah at all (though closer to the real thing than ‘mock duck‘ is anything like real duck, I’d say!), perhaps more similar to the various types of rolls pictured in Japanese bento cookbooks. However the familiar poh piah-like textures of the vegetable strips and springy egg skin really broke the monotony of my daily rice & stir-fry meals.