Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lumpia or Lumpiang Prito A La Sally (Vegetables Spring Roll)

Every mom (or everyone for that matter), who is truly passionate with foods or cooking, has her own specialty dishes. Select entrees which can be prepared by heart, without the aid of any notes, and almost always a sure delight for diners. These would involve tightly-guarded recipes or food preparation techniques which would come in the form of a secretly passed-on cooking knowledge (usually by parents or love ones) or learned through kitchen experiences or experimentations (intended or accidental) leading to process development and perfection and eventual acquisition of mastery through continued or repeated preparations.

These recipes, if we can only collect from our grandparents, parents, other family members, relatives and friends would represent the pinnacle of tried and tested cooking methods and information available within our reach. It can be considered as the best recipes there are, at least within our clan, extended family and circle of friends. For these reasons, I am deeply thankful and really treasure all the specialty recipes unselfishly shared in this website by families and friends for the noble purpose of spreading culinary knowledge for the benefit of others.

In the same tradition of shared personal recipes such as the widely visited “pork adobo a la Dong”, “cuchinta a la Lalaine”, “siomai a la Jhala”, “kinilaw na tanigue a la Rene”, “igado a la Nanay Consuelo”, “binagoongan a la Lalaine”, “espasol a la Luz” and quite recently the “embutido a la Lalaine”, we are ecstatic to welcome here another golden recipe contribution by a friend whom we call Sally with her signature dish “lumpia” or “pritong lumpia”. While I have already posted here my recipe for the same “lumpiang gulay” dish, this version of Sally is just so good to pass on and really worth every minute of our time checking. That’s a promise Sally’s friend assures me!

Sally considers this recipe as a true master piece and she personally sees to it that every time she would prepare the dish (mostly to satisfy the repeat requests of friends and relatives during occasions), the high quality control she has been diligently applying is never, in anyway, compromised. That means she will assume full hands-on approach to every step involved in the process starting with the selection and purchasing of the ingredients; to chopping and slicing of vegetables and meats; to proper sautéing of the fillings; to uniformly wrapping each individual spring roll; and finally, to deep frying until crisp and golden brown in appearance.

We have all the reasons to be thankful. Sally will be sharing the step by step process exactly how she has been doing it complete with the exact quantity of each and every ingredient, including what could have been a personal touch or secret formula that makes the difference from ordinary “lumpia” recipe, which restaurant owners and other cooks would not be so eager to disclose to us.

Sally’s fried spring roll consists of a briskly fried crepe or wrapper filled with sautéed bean sprouts and various other vegetables such as green beans, mange tout (or snow peas or “chicharo”), water chest nut and carrots with a good amounts of shelled shrimps, flaked chicken meat and chopped crabsticks. The factor that makes this recipe special is already obvious at this point but there is more so keep on reading.

As promised, the exact ingredients needed are as follows: 620 grams bean sprout, 400 grams green beans, 340 grams mange tout, 2 cans (225 grams each) water chest nut, 500 grams carrots and 2 packs of large spring roll wrappers, should be good for about 120 pieces spring rolls.

For seafood and meat components, we need about 180 grams peeled or shelled shrimps, 200 grams crabstick halves and flaked lengthwise and 500 grams chicken, boiled and flaked to small pieces, skin and fat removed as strictly suggested by Sally.

In addition, we also need about 3 medium onions chopped, 1 head garlic, crushed and minced, 2 tbsp fish sauce or “patis”, 1 tsp sweet chili sauce (you didn’t know this, right?), ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1 small sachet seasoning granules (or chicken bouillon) and enough vegetable oil for deep frying.

Sally is so meticulous with the chopping and slicing of veggies such that green beans and mange tout should be uniformly sliced (diagonally) and carrots are peeled and then equally julienne as shown here.

The water chest nuts were also uniformly cut to matchstick sizes as shown here with all the prepared major ingredients.

The next step is cooking the filling. In a large wok or pan or casserole, heat about 3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Fry garlic and onions. Add in green beans followed by carrots. Stir and continue sautéing. Add in water chest nut and continue cooking.

In succession, add in shrimps and chicken and season with ground pepper. Continue by adding the crabstick. Mix all the ingredients after each addition for proper blending of flavors. Add in bean sprout and continue cooking.

Properly mix the ingredients while cooking. Finally, add in mange tout. Continue cooking until the vegetable ingredients are partially cooked through but still firm and crunchy. Season it with fish sauce and the seasoning granules. Sally’s other secret potion is about a teaspoon of sweet chili sauce. :)

Cook for several minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking but I would suggest we trust Sally by not adding anything anymore. :-)

Transfer the fillings in a wide container to let it cool down. If there will be liquid drips from the veggies or appears at the bottom, let it accumulate on one side and scoop it out. Set that liquid aside. It is not needed in the spring roll but don’t throw it away as it is utterly good to make into “lumpia” sauce.

Now, prepare the spring roll. Using the large rectangular pastry wrapper (the type available in London), halve it diagonally. Cut out about 2 inches of the pointed end corner. I don’t really know why but I trust Sally so I didn’t ask. :)

If you’re in the Philippines, chances are you will be using the very reasonably priced (okay, it’s cheap) circular “lumpia” wrapper widely available in the market. That would be fine. In fact, I (and probably Sally) envy you.

In a small bowl beat one egg and have it ready along with the wrapper. That one I know the purpose. I usually use water, but since Sally is in London and this is a special preparation, beaten egg is proper. Again, don’t ask.

As mentioned above, Sally is so finicky that she will be wrapping each spring roll by herself. The assistance being offered by her roommates is a no-no. Not with her spring rolls anyway. Separate each wrapper from one another.

Lay a wrapper with the right angle corner away from you and the diagonal side close to you. Add about 3 tablespoons of the fillings on the wrapper. Please note that the veggies should be aligned lengthwise along the diagonal side of the wrapper. Flip both sides of the wrapper inward to cover the fillings. Miraculously, the wrapper will exactly cover the fillings without excess material. Now we know why Sally has to cut those ugly pointed corners. :) I’m glad I trusted her all along.

Continue by properly rolling the wrapper away from you for that cutest “lumpia” you will ever see. Finish it off by sealing the edges with that magical beaten egg. By the way, Sally also secretly whispered to apply a thin coating of the beaten egg onto the outside surface of each spring roll. Just do it and don’t ask why. After frying, you will see that what started as cute will be transformed into gorgeous.

Continue wrapping until the filling or the wrapper, whichever comes first, is all used up. You should have about 120 spring rolls at the end. If it’s too much for your occasion, which is very seldom the case in London, reserve some for next time by freezing the excess wrapped “lumpia”. You can just thaw it next time for easy frying.

In a deep frying pan or thick sauce pan, heat about 1½ cups oil. Carefully fry the “lumpia” in batches. Cook each batch on moderate heat until golden brown. Flip over to cook the underside.

It is essential to maintain the correct temperature of the oil while frying to attain good results. Too hot and it will burn the wrapper, not enough heat and oil will start to enter the roll. Drain excess oil from the cooked “lumpia” using table napkin. Continue frying the rest of the spring rolls. Add more oil as necessary.

Serve warm and crisp accompanied with dipping sauce of your choice. Either Thai sweet chili sauce or Filipino “lumpia’ sauce or simply vinegar with crushed garlic will do.

As for me, it has to be a special dipping sauce made from natural vinegar heavily spiced with chilies, garlic and onion and seasoned with the right amount of salt, sugar and ground pepper. Splendidly yummy! :-)

As always, these spring rolls were served on a special occasion of Sally’s friend. While Sally was casually sporting a smile while preparing, expect her friends to draw the biggest smile after their first bite of these wonderful spring rolls …… and Sally will be a lot happier and will probably start singing “Love is in the Air”.

Thank you Sally for this amazing recipe and Lalaine for her vivid photos. While we contemplate of doing this very soon (as we could probably not wait for our next occasion), we could only wish for your next valued recipe to share with us. :-)

There it is friends and readers, the special and a sure hit “lumpia” or spring roll a la Sally”! Enjoy! c“,)


  1. enjoyed watching the pictures, learned a lot about the recipe and hopefully, will take a bite of your yummy lumpia. thank you!

  2. welcome lou, i do hope you will soon cook this amazing lumpia ... :-)



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