Having lived most of my life in San Diego, I’ve become very familiar with all of the delicious Filipino cuisine, including Pancit (noodles) and Chicken Adobo. However, by far, my absolute favorite dish from the Philippines are these delicious little spring rolls called Lumpia (pronouced “LOOM-pee-ah”). As I’m writing this, the
Super Bowl (oooops, can’t legally say that… the “big game”) is coming up in a few weeks and I immediately started thinking about my favorite Lumpia recipe.
What are Lumpia?
Filipino Lumpia are about 3-4 inches long and between 1/2″ and 3/4″ in diameter, which is a little smaller than the egg rolls you might get at your local Chinese take-out. They’re made with a paper thin pastry wrapper, rolled up and stuffed with finely ground pork, beef or a combination of both (feel free to experiment with this). The meat is mixed with minced carrots, onions and thinly shredded cabbage. The rolled up Lumpia are then deep fried just until golden brown and served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.
San Diego has the second largest Filipino American population of any county in the United States. Growing up in San Diego, enjoying Filipino food was just as common as having a taco or hamburger. It’s one of the reasons I love my hometown and something I’ve come to miss now that I’m living on the East Coast. Thankfully, I’ve been able to master cooking authentic Filipino cuisine, including Lumpia, Pancit (Filipino noodles) and Adobo (chicken or pork cooked in a tangy sauce consisting mostly of vinegar, garlic and soy sauce).
Lumpia: The Perfect Pot Luck or Party Food.
I can’t remember a pot luck at work that didn’t include a giant platter heaping with a couple hundred (yes, a couple hundred) beautiful golden brown Lumpia waiting to be devoured. They were usually made form Mom or Grandmas recipe, but the friendly and incredibly hospitable culture of the Philippines meant someone was always eager to help you make your own.
One thing to note about Lumpia that sets them apart from your typical Chinese egg roll is the wrapper. Filipino Lumpia are made with a paper thin pastry wrapper very similar to a French crepe. This is what makes them so flakey and gives the exterior of them a light and airy feel. If you have an Asian market near you, you’ll usually find the Lumpia wrappers in the freezer section, but I would encourage you to try making your own (at least once). There definitely is an art to making the wrappers, but, with some practice you’ll be surprised how good you will get. I’ll be posting a recipe and video for these very soon (check back or subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss out). In the meantime, don’t hesitate to buy the pre-made wrappers at a local Asian market.
Don’t Forget the Dipping Sauce.
Once your Lumpia are done, you can eat them by themselves, but there’s something very special about spooning on a bit of sweet and sour sauce. This isn’t very hard to make and most American grocery stores will carry La Choy or another brand of sweet and sour dipping sauce that will work just fine. You can also order it through this link to Amazon. You can also pick up a bottle of the Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce which a LOT of people enjoy instead of sweet and sour sauce.
*Please note: I included a couple of affiliate links to Amazon in the above paragraph. Buying the products through those links does help support this website. Thanks!
Ok, if you’re ready, let’s get on with making these Filipino Lumpia so you can experience one of the most popular dishes from the fabulous cuisine of the Philippines.
- 1 tablespoonVegetable oil
- 1 pound Ground Pork
- ½ cup Onion; Chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic
- ½ Cup Carrot; Minced
- ½ Cup Cabbage; Shredded
- ½ Cup Green Onion; Chopped
- 1 tablespoonSoy sauce
- 30 each Lumpia Wrappers
- 1 Egg; Beaten
- Heat a large skillet or wok over a medium-high to high heat.
- Add in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and the ground pork.
- Cook, stirring frequently until the pork is done and you can’t see any pink. Make sure you use a fork to break the pork up as fine as possible (some people will cool the pork and mince it further in a food processor).
- Remove from the pan, draining off as much fat as possible (leave some in the pan). Let the pork cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- In the same pan, cook the onion and garlic until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce to a medium-low heat.
- Add in the carrots and cabbage and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add in the green onions, soy sauce and cooked ground pork.
- Remove from the heat and set aside until it’s cool enough to handle.
- Scramble the egg in a small bowl and set aside to use for sealing your rolled up lumpia.
- Lay out one of the lumpia wrappers in front of you and spread about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the filling in a line across the bottom ⅓ of the wrapper (see image).
- Fold the bottom of the wrapper up towards the middle and then fold in each side. Roll up, keeping it as tight as possible.
- Brush a small amount of the egg wash on the edge of the wrapper and seal the lumpia closed.
- Place your lumpia rolls on a plate and cover with a very lightly damp towel until all of them are finished.
- Add 2 cups of vegetable oil to a heavy skillet (should be about ½” deep).
- Heat to approximately 375 degrees. This typically will take about 5 minutes over a medium heat.
- Place 3-4 lumpia into the pan and cook about 1-3 minutes or until golden brown. If you add too many at one time, you’ll cool the oil and they won’t fry properly. I will add in 1 lumpia, cook for about 1 minute and then add in the next one, until I have 3 of them in the pan. Then I just replace each finished lumpia with a new one.
- Lumpia is traditionally served with sweet and sour dipping sauce, but get creative and use whatever you like the best.