If you are thinking that “lumpia”, as most Filipinos have known it, is only popular in the Philippines, you are mistaken. It is also widely available and called by the same name in Indonesia. In fact, “lumpia” generally, are pastries similar to spring rolls that originated in China. The term “lumpia” was actually derived from a Hokkien language “lunpia”. The recipes for both fried and fresh versions were brought by the Chinese immigrants from the Fujian province of China to Southeast Asia and became well-liked where they settled in Indonesia and the Philippines.
You can also find the dish in the Netherlands and Flanders where it is called “loempia” which is the old Indonesian spelling for “lumpia”. There, it has also become the generic name for spring rolls. Another popular variant is the Vietnamese “lumpia; which is wrapped in a thinner piece of pastry or wrapper. It is prepared in the same size of a spring roll though the wrapping closes the ends off completely like in a typical lumpia.
The Filipinos have strong fascination to the dish. It is greatly appreciated that there are several varieties of “lumpia” in the Philippines all widely prepared and consumed. Among them are: “lumpiang shanghai” that uses minced meat in the filling and which I have already featured here for pork and here for fish meat; “lumpiang sariwa” or fresh “lumpia” or fresh spring rolls that consist of minced “ubod” (heart of palm), flaked chicken, crushed peanuts and turnips in a double wrapping of lettuce leaf and a soft yellowish egg crepe or wrapper. It is sometimes called “lumpiang ubod” when heart of palm is the major ingredient.
Other types are: “lumpiang hubad” which literally means naked spring roll and basically an unwrapped or no crepe “lumpiang sariwa”; banana “lumpia” or “turon” which is a traditional dessert made of thinly sliced ripe plantain bananas, a slice of jackfruit, dusted with brown sugar, wrapped and fried and which I also posted before; and finally the most common type called “lumpiang prito” or fried “lumpia” which is the one being referred to when only the generic word “lumpia” is mentioned.
Fried “lumpia” consists of a briskly fried crepe or wrapper filled with sautéed bean sprouts and various other vegetables such as string beans, cabbage and carrots. Minced meat or seafood may also be added. It is the least expensive among the variants, but the preparation could prove difficult and labor-intensive. It is usually eaten with spiced vinegar or a soy sauce-and-calamondin juice dipping sauce.
To prepare the crunchy spring roll, we need the following veggies: 2 cups bean sprout, ½ head cabbage, finely chopped, 2 carrots, julienned, 1½ cups green beans, sliced diagonally, 1 leek, roughly chopped, 1 stalk coriander finely chopped, 1 large onion, roughly chopped and 8 gloves garlic, peeled and minced.
The other ingredients are as follows: 1½ cups boiled chicken, finely diced, ¾ cup boiled pork, finely diced, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 tbsp fish sauce or “patis”, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 chicken cube seasoning, 1 tsp ground pepper and 1 tsp salt or to taste (might not be necessary at all). Later on, we shall also need “lumpia” wrapper and enough oil for frying.
To prepare, first cook the filling. In a large wok or pan, heat the oil. Fry garlic and onion. Add in pork and continue frying. Add the fish sauce and continue sautéing until the pungent smell escapes. Add carrots and green beans and continue sautéing.
When the carrots and beans are partially cooked through, add leek, coriander and chicken. Add in soy sauce and ground pepper and continue sautéing.
Add the cabbage and cook for several minutes more. Taste and adjust saltiness by adding salt if it is still necessary. You can also add some more ground pepper if you like.
Transfer in large bowl and allow cooling. Remove the excess liquid that will accumulate in the bottom and set aside. This is good in making sauce for “lumpiang sariwa” which I will feature next time.
Now, prepare the “lumpia”. Using the same type of wrapper I used in my “lumpiang shanghai” and fish shanghai posts, take about 4 tablespoon of the filling (depending on the size you want) and wrap into rolls completely sealing the sides. Continue wrapping until the filling is all used up or you have enough “lumpia” and want to reserve some for next time. I usually wrap everything and freeze the excess “lumpia” for easy cooking next time.
In a small frying pan or sauce pan, heat about 1½ cups oil. Fry the “lumpia” in batches. Cook each batch in moderate heat until golden brown. Flip over to cook the underside. Maintaining the correct temperature of the oil is essential to attain good results. Too hot and it will burn the wrapper, not enough heat and oil will enter the roll. Drain excess oil from the cooked “lumpia” using table napkin.
Serve warm and crispy accompanied with a dipping sauce of natural vinegar heavily spiced with garlic, onion, salt, sugar, ground pepper and lots of chilies and fermented for several days. Yummy! It’s truly mouth watering. :-)
This could be served as a snack, appetizer or as main meal if serve alongside some fried noodle dish like “pancit bihon” and “pancit miki”. It is quite inexpensive but very delicious. Enjoy! c“,)