I really should not be writing this post right now. I’m neck-deep in Easter prep since I’m hosting this year, but there was no way that I could have a Filipino Food Month on this blog and not share my favorite Filipino dish.
Lumpia is a Filipino egg roll. Unlike Chinese egg rolls, lumpia are made with spring roll wrappers and have more vegetables in the interior. These are “regular” lumpia, if you will, but there’s another type you’ll also find often in the Philippines– Lumpia Shanghai– which are a bit more similar to Chinese egg rolls.
I certainly don’t want to alienate any of my readers, but I personally think that Filipino lumpia is the best kind of egg roll that ever was. Period.
Lumpia are usually made either with ground beef or pork, although if you’re vegetarian you can skip the meat entirely or substitute tofu. We used beef this time.
Brown 1 lb. ground beef or pork with 3 cloves of minced garlic.
Add about 1 1/2 cups each julienned carrots and french-cut green beans. I used fresh beans, but you could use frozen. Stir-fry them for 5-7 minutes, and then add 1 1/2 cups julienned potato (about 1 med. potato, skinned.) Not all recipes call for potatoes, so feel free to leave them out if you like. I happen to like them in here, but I don’t think they’re the most traditional. That being said, I had lumpia often in the Philippines with a little bit of potato in them. If you use frozen beans, wait and add them with the potatoes. Continue cooking over medium heat until vegetables are tender-crisp.
Season with several shakes of soy sauce and salt & pepper. Turn off heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of bean sprouts. I’ve seen recipes that say the sprouts are optional, but they’re totally not for me.
Here’s the hardest part. I use frozen lumpia or spring roll wrappers. They’re a pain to separate and you have to be very careful or they’ll rip. This amount of filling will make 15-20 lumpia. Make sure to cover the wrappers as you’re working because they dry out easily. To start wrapping, place a couple of tablespoons of the filling just above the center of the wrapper. I got a little sloppy and put a bit too much filling in many of mine. They’ll fry up better if they’re wrapped tightly.
Fold the top of the wrapper down over the filling.
Fold the sides over.
Then wrap it as tightly as you can. To seal, dip your finger in water and wet the edge of the wrapper, then stick it down.
Fry the lumpia in hot oil (about 350˚ or a little hotter) a few at a time. You can use a deep fryer for this if you have one. If not, make sure you use a large pot or high-sided skillet and have at least 1.5 inches of oil.
After a few minutes, one side should be golden brown. Flip them over and cook until the second side is golden.
Using tongs, lift out of the oil and hold upright to get as much oil off as possible. Drain onto paper towels. We always use a paper towel-lined colander. If you’re making a large batch or want to make them a bit ahead of time, the best way to keep them warm is on a wire rack placed in a rimmed baking sheet in a warm oven. That will keep them crisp.
Serve with rice.
If you’d like to make a simple sweet & sour dipping sauce (highly recommended) you’ll need 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. corn starch, and 1 Tbsp. vinegar. Heat the water with the brown sugar in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Add soy sauce. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 Tbsp. cold water, then add to the saucepan. Whisk over med. heat until thickened somewhat. Stir in the vinegar.
I can’t say enough about how good these are. The spring roll wrappers are nice and thin and get perfectly crispy. They’re a bit more work than most of the recipes I’ve shared this month, but they’re worth it. If you’ve only ever had Chinese egg rolls, you should give these a try and see if you don’t think they’re the best egg roll that’s ever existed. I know I do!
1 lb ground beef or pork
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups julienned carrots
1 1/2 cups french-cut green beans (can use fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 cups julienned potato (about 1 med potato, skinned)
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
Salt & Pepper
Lumpia (or spring roll) wrappers
Oil for frying
Saute ground meat along with garlic until browned. Add carrots (and beans, if using fresh.) Stir fry 5-7 minutes. Add potato (if using frozen beans, add now) and cook until all vegetables are tender-crisp. Season with soy sauce, salt & pepper to taste. Turn off heat and stir in bean sprouts.
Separate one wrapper at a time, keeping the rest covered. Place 2 Tbsp filling in center of the wrapper (do not overfill.) Fold the top of the wrapper down over the filling. Fold the sides over, then wrap from the top down, keeping the wrapper as tight as possible around the filling. Wet the edge of the wrapper lightly and seal.
Heat 1.5-2″ of oil to 350˚ and fry a few lumpia at a time. Do not crowd the pot. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Using tongs, lift lumpia out of the oil and hold upright to drain as much oil off as possible. Drain onto paper towels, or into a paper towel-lined colander. You can keep them warm in a warm oven placed in a single layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, as this will keep them crisp.
Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce:
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Heat the water & brown sugar in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Add soy sauce. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 Tbsp. cold water, then add to the saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until thickened somewhat. Add vinegar.