Food & Drink Writer Drew Lazor: Lumpia, or Filipino fried spring rolls, are one of my absolute favorite things to eat. Every family does them differently. Here’s a recipe from my momma, Generosa (“Tita Rosy”). These are the best. Quick tip: After you’re done wrapping the lumpia, try freezing them before frying. It typically results in a much more even end product. Enjoy!
Drew Lazor’s Tita Rosy’s Beef & Sweet Potato Lumpia
Servings: produces 20-25 pieces
- 1 medium head of green cabbage (4-5 cups), shredded
- 1.5 lbs. ground beef
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 2 cups sweet potato, diced
- 2 cups scallion, chopped
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. sweet/sour chili sauce
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 package spring roll wrappers (with more on reserve)
- 4 cups vegetable or canola oil
- After shredding cabbage, place in a large bowl and toss with a generous helping of salt, which will sweat out water. Allow bowl to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. After it’s rested, squeeze cabbage through cheesecloth or pass through a colander to remove as much liquid as possible; excess liquid will make for disastrous rolling and frying.
- While cabbage is sweating, sauté ground beef in a pan over medium-high heat until just cooked through. Transfer beef to a colander to drain excess fat.
- In the same pan, sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender and fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Mix in cabbage and cook until slightly wilted, 3-5 minutes.
- Remove garlic/cabbage mixture from heat and combine with beef in a large bowl. Add carrots, sweet potatoes and scallion and mix well using your hands. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and sweet/sour chili sauce and mix well; add eggs and mix well once more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the filling is mixed, squeeze it all to one side of the bowl with your hands — this will cause excess liquid to seep to the bottom of the bowl, where it can easily be discarded. Repeat this process several times. Once you think you’ve gotten rid of all the liquid, let the filling rest for 5-10 minutes and do it again. Liquid and lumpia are sworn enemies.
- To roll: Take a square spring roll wrapper and orient it like a diamond on a clean, dry surface. Wet your fingertips and lightly dampen all four edges, paying particular attention to the top and bottom points of the diamond. Place 2-3 tbsp. of filling near the bottom point and spread it out evenly horizontally. Take the bottom point of the wrapper and fold it over the filling, then roll it slightly toward the top point, folding in the left and right points as if you’re enveloping a submarine sandwich in paper. Continuing rolling tightly, dabbing the top point with more water to seal shut.
- To fry: Place oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan and heat to 350 degrees. Fry lumpia in small batches (no more than four) until wrapper is golden brown, about 2 minutes per side for fresh lumpia and 3 minutes per side for frozen lumpia. Be sure to return the oil to 350 degrees between batches. Place finished lumpia on a wire rack lined with paper towels to cool; serve with sweet and sour sauce, hot vinegar (recipe below) or banana ketchup. Enjoy!
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 2 habanero peppers, sliced (seeds and pith optional)
- Combine ingredients in a bowl or jar and seal. Let it sit for up to one week. For a calmer vinegar, discard the habanero seeds and pith; if you like it very spicy, leave both in the vinegar.