My husband is Filipino; however since he doesn’t cook, I’ve learned the traditional recipes his mom and grandma have made over the years so that no matter where the Army takes us, he can still savor dishes like Lumpia, Adobo and Pancit.
Lumpia is basically a miniature egg roll. The ingredients vary widely, as does the preparation. But no matter what, the final rolls are tiny, crisp, salty delicacies usually dipped in a sweet chili sauce.
When making Lumpia, some people fill the wrappers with raw meat and vegetables and then fry them. But that technique makes me nervous because I want to make sure the meat is cooked through. So instead, I cook all of my filling ingredients first and season them to taste, so I know no matter what my Lumpia will be tasty and cooked.
Making Lumpia does take quite a bit of time. To help the process flow, it’s best to chop and prepare all of your ingredients in advance (mise en place). It’s important to mince all of the vegetables, so they don’t puncture the wrapper when you roll it.
This recipe makes about 100 Lumpia. You can cook the filling and freeze it, so you always have filling ready to roll. Or take it a step further and roll the Lumpia and freeze them without frying them. Then, when you’re ready for Lumpia, take them out of the freezer and fry them up. Or for fast Lumpia any day of the week, fry the Lumpia, let them cool and freeze them. Then, when you want a quick weekday appetizer, pull a few out of the freezer and bake them in a 375-degree oven until warmed through.
Here’s a quick video demonstrating how to roll each lumpia.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 large onion
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 can bamboo shoots
- 1 can sliced water chestnuts
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 1 1/2 tsp. celery salt
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 pound shrimp
- 2 packages wonton wrappers
Place the garlic and onion in a food processor and chop until finely minced. Drain off liquid, if necessary. Place minced garlic and onion in a bowl and set aside.
Drain the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and place the vegetables into the empty food processor with the carrots. Chop until minced. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Peel and devein the shrimp. Place in the food processor and chop, until minced.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until translucent. Add the ground pork and stir until cooked through.
Add the remaining vegetables and stir to combine. Add the seasonings. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the shrimp and continue stirring and cooking until the shrimp is no longer transparent. Taste and add more seasoning, if necessary. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
Fill a small bowl with water and set it at your workstation. Place a wonton wrapper on the counter. When you look at the wrapper, it should resemble a diamond not a square. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and rub a little water onto the top corner.
Using two spoons, spoon about one teaspoon of filling into the center of the wrapper. Use the second spoon to scrape the filling off of the first spoon, so you don’t get filling on your hands. Otherwise you will have to wash your hands before you roll the wrapper. With the spoons, shape the filling into a horizontal line.
Fold the left and right corners in toward the filling. From the bottom corner, fold the wrapper over the filling, pinch to tuck in the filling and roll from the bottom to enclose. Place on a dish or pan and continue rolling all of the Lumpia. As you learn the technique, you can lay out 2-3 wrappers at a time, for faster assembly.
When ready to fry, fill a skillet with 1/2 to one inch of oil. Heat the oil to 300 degrees. When the oil is hot, use tongs to place 10 Lumpia into the skillet. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, turning as needed so the entire Lumpia roll is golden.
Remove to a paper towel-lined dish. Serve with sweet chili sauce.