Growing up, food was a huge part of my life (no shocker, I’m sure, if you know me or read this blog). I gained my passion for cooking from watching my Lola (my great-grandmother, who lived with us) make magic in the kitchen morning, noon, and night. My parents entertained a lot, we were constantly going to relatives’ houses, family and friends were always in and out of our own home, and the one single food that you could always – ALWAYS – find at the home of any Filipino: Lumpia.
You can call them egg rolls, but the Filipino version is, in my opinion, the absolute BEST egg roll you will ever have in your life.
Yes, I am totally biased, but also: it’s true. Just ask anyone who has ever been to our house and enjoyed one of my mom’s delicious Lumpia. In fact, it’s come to be expected that if we are to host a party or have people over for dinner: we had better have some Lumpia on the table.
I’ve been so spoiled living in the same state as my mom, that I have honestly never taken the time to learn how to make Lumpia on my own. So one weekend I invited some friends over for a little cooking class so we could all learn how to make these magic bites of fried deliciousness.
We started off with the most important part: a cheers to good friends and good food.
Then, my mom put us to work.
Lumpia requires a lot of prep work. A LOT.
You’ll be chopping a lot of vegetables: carrots, celery, garlic, onions, potatoes, green beens, jicama, cabbage, and mushrooms.
Or, as exhibited in the photo below, you can have your mom and friends chop veggies while you silently raid the plate of delicious bacon wrapped dates one of your friends brought over (also known as: the only way on earth I will eat dates).
Once all of the veggies are prepped, it’s time to saute the garlic and onions in a large stockpot. Once translucent, you add the ground beef, Shitake mushrooms, Johnny’s Seasoning Salt (see pic below in the post), salt, pepper, soy sauce, and sauté until the beef is browned.
We decided to give this job to the muscles of the group.
Drain the excess oil from the pan, add chicken broth and bring to boil. Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Then, add the green beans, cabbage and celery and simmer for another 5 minutes.
The vegetables should be slightly crisp. Remove the pan from heat and add the jicama. You could add bean sprouts instead of jicama, but I prefer jicama; I find the texture and shape of the bean sprouts to be too distracting in this dish. Drain excess fats and liquid mixture, which you could do by pouring the pot over a strainer, or you could use my mom’s method of instead using a large slotted spoon to scoop out the solids into a separate large bowl, and then draining the remaining liquid in the pot.
Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature.
Drink more wine and eat more bacon wrapped dates while waiting. I’d say this part is optional, but we all know it’s mandatory.
Now it’s time to assemble these babies.
Separate individual sheets of Lumpia wrappers very carefully, so as not to tear them. Do not allow them to dry out and become brittle, or you will be dealing with sad broken wrappers.
Place 1 full tablespoon of the filling diagonally near one corner of the wrapper, leaving a 1.5 inch edge of space at both ends. Fold the corner along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends so that it almost looks like an envelope, and roll neatly and tight. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge.
[Someday I’ll do a video of how to fold lumpia so you can see it in action. Today is not that day. But someday!]
The egg rolls can be fried immediately or frozen for later use (see Frying Tips below).
If frying them immediately, cover them with plastic wrap or a moist towel to keep the wrappers from drying out while you are frying the rest.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil to about 1 inch depth, and heat for 5-10 minutes. Fry the egg rolls for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until all sides are golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil.
Enjoy immediately. I know every recipe says this, but seriously: eat these right away, before your friends and family gobble them all up!
Thanks to my fabulous mom for sharing her recipe with us and for taking the time to teach us how to make her famous Lumpia. And, thanks to my friends Natascha and Heather for joining the fun. I LOVE having friends over learning how to make specific dishes, like we did here today with Lumpia and as we did before with our Individual Pies in a Jar Making Party.
I hope you all enjoy our family’s Filipino Lumpia! These are perfect for holiday parties, and to keep on hand in the freezer ready to fry up when those unexpected guests come into town — or when you have a gaggle of hungry kids descend upon your house after school!
I leave you with some cooking, freezing, and serving sauce tips, plus the printable recipe…
- Make sure you use Lumpia wrappers (pictured above, right) – NOT regular egg roll wrappers. Lumpia wrappers are thinner and are part of what make these egg rolls AWESOME.
- Okay, fine, you can use regular egg roll wrappers but just know: it will NOT taste the same as real Lumpia.
- You can keep the Lumpia wrappers moist and pliable during assembly by storing them in a plastic bag, or under moist towel.
- Another key to making Lumpia: add some Johnny’s sea salt seasoning to the meat while it’s browning.
- You can assemble a huge batch of lumpia and freeze them, uncooked, in freezer bags for up to three months.
- When you are ready to cook them, take the frozen lumpia out of the freezer and fry them right away. You do NOT need to thaw frozen lumpia before frying. In fact, it’s so much better when you fry them straight from the freezer. They are crispier and the flavor is locked in.
Suggested Dipping Sauce
Lumpia Chile Sauce
Sweet & Sour Sauce
Vinegar and Garlic dipping sauce