Tuesday, January 17, 2012
A very long time ago, I tried lumpia for the first time. I fell in love with them at first bite. Then I lost touch with the friend who introduced them to me, courtesy of her mama's cooking. I remembered them last year and realized that I might be able to make them at home. Then I ran into a problem. Where would I find the recipe? I looked online and didn't find anything that sounded quite right. The lumpia that I remembered was not your average eggroll. There wasn't cabbage or an abundance of vegetables in them. I simply remembered that there were a lot of different flavors packed into a very thin wrapper.
I mentioned my lumpia craving to a friend, (thanks, Sandra!) who told me to look for one of her friends on Facebook. I did that and proceeded to message back and forth with her friend for a bit to make sure I had it right. The lumpia turned out fabulously and my middle son immediately requested them for his birthday meal next year. In my house, this is the very highest of food compliments. Everyone in the family devoured these and my youngest actually cried when they were gone. There wasn't a single one left or we probably would have eaten more.
recipe by Irene and her mother (Thank you so much!)
1 lb ground pork, cooked and crumbled
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms, chopped
1 can large shrimp, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/3 cup sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
2 eggs beaten
Lumpia wrappers (if you are lucky enough to live near an oriental market) or spring roll wrappers
2 cups oil for frying, I used refined coconut oil. It is flavorless and unscented.
Combine all ingredients except for the eggs in a bowl, and mix with your hands. (this way it is with love, I'm told!) After its all mixed, cover it and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour before wrapping. (Side note: I was in the middle of making these for dinner, when I had to leave the house unexpectedly. My mixture actually sat in the fridge for 24 hours, until dinner the following night. I have no idea if that made a difference, but I wanted to note it here.)
Open the lumpia wrappers and cut in half to form rectangular strips or in quarters to make bite size rolls. The lumpia wrappers are larger than most eggroll or spring roll wrappers. If you are using spring roll wrappers, you can cut them in half or leave them the bigger size. I played with the wrappers as I was making these and tried several different sizes. The ones I thought tasted the most like I remembered, were the long rectangular strips left open on the end. The ends were a bit crunchy and we all liked that. My favorites were the smaller, almost bite size ones though.
Carefully peel the wrappers apart and place about a tablespoon of filling on each one. Roll them according to your preference and then dip your finger in the beaten egg and seal the edges. Set the rolls aside until ready to cook. I found it was easiest to roll them all in an assembly line and then cook them in batches.
In a small sauce pan, heat the oil over medium high. I had 1-2 inches of oil in the bottom of the pan. (I was not actually deep-frying the rolls.) Once the oil is hot, use tongs to place a few rolls in the oil at a time. Let cook for about a minute on one side and then turn to cook the other. If the oil covers them completely, just turn as needed to make sure they are cooking evenly. When they are lightly golden brown, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel covered plate. Serve with dipping sauces of your choice. Enjoy!
I misunderstood the original directions and I cooked and crumbled the ground pork prior to mixing it with the other ingredients. It was supposed to be mixed together in the style of a meatloaf with all the other ingredients and then fried and cooked that way. I loved the way mine turned out, so I am sharing this method. I'll be making these again (using the other method) in a few weeks and I'll be sure to share the result then as well. If you decide to make them that way, be certain the meat is fully cooked in the oil. Irene recommends just a teaspoon or so of the mix in each lumpia and the cooking them 5-6 minutes or until golden brown.
I am lucky enough to live within a couple miles or an Oriental market. It is HUGE! I had never been there before and it was an awesome experience to just wander the aisles. It was an entire superstore of the most exotic Oriental foods. I can hardly wait to try another new recipe! I was able to find authentic Filipino lumpia wrappers. (they had an entire freezer section of nothing but different wrapping papers) Honestly, the special wrappers did make a big difference. The ones that I wrapped using basic spring roll wrappers were delicious, but the ones in the paper thin lumpia wrappers were phenomenal.
I bought a couple different sweet and sour hot sauces for dipping. My husband loved the heat of Lingham's Sweet & Spicy Hot Sauce and my younger boys and I preferred the sweetness of Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce. My oldest son mixed the two and declared that perfect. Irene also mentioned that she likes Frank's Sweet Chili Sauce, however I didn't see that at my store.