When most folks see spring or egg rolls they usually think of Chinese or Thai cuisine, but many other Asian cuisines make their own version of egg rolls.
In the Philippines egg rolls are called “Lumpia”.
There are several local versions of this pastry which is of Chinese origin. The Filipino lumpia range in variety from the slimmer fried rolls called “Lumpiang Shanghai” which are filled with ground pork and other minced Southeast Asian vegetables including water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. These lumpia are typically served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce; “Lumpiang Sariwa” which literally means “Fresh Lumpia”, these rolls are wrapped in a thin homemade crepe like wrapper as opposed to the store bought wrappers which are generally thicker. These lumpias are filled with stir-fried veggies such as string beans, carrots, onions, bamboo shoots, ubob (heart of palms), and other vegetables. They are not fried, but rather are served in the soft thin wrapper drizzled with a thickened soy sauce similar to the sweet and sour sauce but saltier and sprinkled with crushed peanuts; “Lumpiang Prito” which means “Fried Lumpia”. These are fatter fried rolls that can be filled with meat, seafood, and veggies. These lumpias are usually served with a garlic vinegar dipping sauce; and there is “Lumpiang Hubad” which means “Naked Lumpia”. This doesn’t mean that it should be eaten in the buff, but rather refers to the lumpia filling served without the pastry wrap. It’s usually the same veggie stir-fry used to fill the Lumpiang Sariwa.
In short the Filipino Lumpia can be filled with almost anything. My girlfriends and I usually joke and say we’re going to clean our refrigerators and make lumpia, meaning we pretty much stir-fry what ever we find in the fridge and roll it in egg roll wrappers.
Here is my family’s favorite lumpia recipe. It’s filled with ground beef, bean sprouts, potatoes, and tofu, fried and dipped in a garlic vinegar sauce. I usually make a big pot of filling, enough to make 50 lumpia, and freeze them. Unfried lumpia freezes very well and is great to have on hand for days when I don’t have time to cook dinner or when unexpected dinner guests stop by. You can fry them directly from the freezer, in fact frozen lumpia shouldn’t be completely thawed before frying as thawing them causes them to become soggy and fall apart.
Makes about 50 rolls
1 lbs. ground beef
2 large potatoes – cooked and diced
1 large onion – minced
2 tbl. minced garlic
2 cups bean sprouts – rinsed
2 cups firm tofu – cubed in small cubes
2 tbl. cooking oil
2 tsp. soy sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 packages frozen egg roll wrappers found in Asian markets
1 egg slightly beaten
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp. minced garlic
Ground black pepper
You can buy frozen spring or egg roll wrappers or shells, bean sprouts, and tofu at Asian markets. Tofu can also be found in most grocery stores. Be sure you are using Bean Sprouts and not Alfalfa Sprouts which are thinner and have a different flavor.
1. Scrub potatoes. Cook your potatoes in the microwave, about 9 minutes. Be sure to pierce the potatoes with a fork in several places so they don’t explode while cooking. I make mine in a microwave potato bag that my daughter got from a craft fair. They’re great for microwaving potatoes; no need to pierce them and the potatoes come out perfect every time.
2. Dice onions, potatoes, and tofu into small cubes about 1/4″.
3. Heat oil in frying pan. Add onions. Cook until they start to turn tranlucent. Add minced garlic. Cook until garlic starts to turn brown.
4. Add ground beef. Cook until beef is crumbly.
5. Add potatoes and bean sprouts. Cook until sprouts are soft.
6. Add tofu, soy sauce, salt & pepper.
7. Cook until tofu is soft but not mushy. About 5 minutes.
8. Remove from heat and drain any liquid from the pan. Try to make your meat mixture as dry as possible, if there’s too much liquid it will cause the wrappers to tear when rolling.
9. Fill each wrapper with about 2 tbl. of meat mixture and roll. Seal ends by lightly brushing wrapper with the beaten egg.
To roll lumpia:
1. Place a wrapper on a plate or cutting board with one corner facing you.
2. Put about 2 tbl. meat mixture in center of wrapper. Spread filling in a line across leaving about 3 inches of wrapper on each side.
3. Fold corner closest to you over the meat mixture.
4. Fold in side corners over the first fold. Brush remaining corner with egg.
5. Roll the folded portion over until it meets the far corner. You should end up with a cigar shaped roll.
You can fry the lumpia once it’s rolled or place seam side down in ziploc freezer bags and freezer for later use.
To fry lumpia heat about 1 inch of oil in a frying pan. Place lumpia seam side down, cook about 2-3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Turn over and cook until all it’s golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serve immediately as cold lumpia will loose its crunch and get soft and soggy.
Fried lumpia will turn soft and soggy if kept in the fridge. You can warm it up by heating in an oven or toaster oven on high heat for a few minutes. Re-heating in the microwave is not recommended, the lumpia will be soft.
You can make the dipping sauce just before serving. I usually make the sauce as needed, it’s simple enough to throw together.