Spring rolls, egg rolls, summer rolls…
Seems like every asian cuisine has a version of these savory little rolls served with a sauce you can’t get enough of. Lumpia LOOM-PIA is the Filipino version. (Think Oompah Loompah, but not.)
Lumpia are deep-fried spring rolls tightly rolled in a thin crispy wrapper, filled with a mixture of ground meat and vegetables and served with sweet and sour sauce.
Wrapping and frying lumpia can turn into an all-day affair, so my mom didn’t make them too much when I was younger. When she did decide to make some for a special occasion or party, my brother and I kept a close watch on the first batch, so we could steal a piece (or two, maybe three), still hot from the frying pan.
If you’re not making these for a party or get-together, I’d recommend making a big batch ahead of time and freezing them. You can then fry them up as you go straight from the freezer.
For the Rolls
2 cloves garlic
1 small carrot
2-3 stalks green onion
2lbs ground pork or turkey
1 large egg
1Tbsp oyster sauce
1 pack spring roll wrappers (I use Spring Home TYJ Spring Roll Pastry), see below
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp cold water
2 Tbsp ketchup
Step One: Finely chop your garlic, carrot, and green onion.
Step Two: Mix your chopped vegetables with the ground meat, egg, and oyster sauce. You can add a pinch of salt and pepper if you like. I use my hands to mix it, it’s more fun that way.
Step Three: Time to get rolling, this part may take a little practice. I’ve tried my best to describe each step in detail.
Gently peel one wrapper from the pack and place it so that the corners run vertically and horizontally, you should be looking at a diamond.
Place a heaping tablespoon of the mixture in the center of the wrapper and spread it horizontally towards the left and right corners. Think long and thin, slightly larger than a pencil. If you feel like it’s not enough filling, it’s probably the right amount. You don’t want too much or it won’t cook thoroughly while frying. Leave about an inch at each edge so you can seal everything in.
Rub any excess that has stuck to your fingers onto the wrapper and grab the corner closest to you at the bottom. Fold it up as if you’re trying to meet the corner at the top (it won’t make it that far).
Push down on the filling with the wrapper to squeeze out any air bubbles, then roll it up one time, making sure it’s kept tight.
Now seal up the left and right sides like a burrito, still holding your roll tightly, fold the left and right corners in towards the center and continue rolling up until you reach the end.
Lay the lumpia on the end flap to keep it from rolling open. You can also use a dab of cold water on the wrapper edge to seal up if you’d like. My mom skips that step.
Repeat and roll until you’re out of wrappers or out of filling.
TIP: If you run out of wrappers, roll the remaining filling into meatballs and fry in the same oil below until brown. Mmm…meatballs.
Here’s a clip of my mom in action if you’re feeling lost.
Step Four: Heat an inch or two of oil in a large flat pan on medium-high heat. You can also use a deep-fryer if you have one. Ideally, the lumpia should be fully submerged, but you can also fry them one side at a time, flipping halfway.
Once the oil is hot, carefully lay the lumpia in the oil (end flap down to keep them from rolling open as they fry). Fry in batches until golden brown. Try not to overcrowd the pan.
Step Five: Once browned, place them on a paper towel or cooling rack to absorb or drip off any excess oil.
Step Six: While you’re frying, make the sweet and sour sauce. Whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, cornstarch, and ketchup in a small saucepan. The cornstarch is to thicken; the ketchup is for color. Cook on medium heat until the sauce has thickened, stirring constantly.
Serve warm. Double dip if you dare.
On a separate note, I’ve decided to start including ingredient prep in my steps.
Too many times have I ventured into a recipe to later realize I hadn’t chopped something, and ended up frantically doing it in hopes that whatever else was cooking didn’t burn or overcook.
I hate that.
I also hate having to go back and forth between the ingredients and the steps. Is this coming from restaurant chefs that need all their ingredients prepped ahead of time? Is this something people have adopted from watching cooking shows? I realize watching people chop stuff may not be good tv (is it good blog content?) and whichever celebrity chef is cooking isn’t there to chop onions, but prep’s a big part of the process. Sometimes prep takes more time than cooking. What do you guys think? What format do you like best for recipes?