“Lumpia” is not only a popular Filipino merienda, but also a favorite potluck dish especially by those living abroad. Like pancit, a gathering is incomplete without lumpia. Lumpia comes in many varieties. Lumpiang shanghai, lumpiang gulay, lumpiang sariwa, and lumpiang keso are just some of the most commonly cooked lumpia. Lumpiang gulay is my favorite and maybe the most popular of the many varieties.
The secrets to a crunchy and tasty lumpia are the wrapper used and the freshness of the ingredients for the filling. The thinner the wrapper, the crunchier or flakier the lumpia. It is tempting to choose a thicker wrapper because it can burst open if you are not careful in preparing and wrapping the filling. However, when fried, the thick wrapper is less crunchy. It hardens if you overcook it. The filling on the other hand, can be cooked or uncooked before you wrap it. Some people prefer uncooked vegetable filling. This is good because you get to taste the freshness of the ingredients. It is also nutritious. The downside is you have to eat it all because fried lumpia gets soggy and loses flavor even if you reheat it the following day.
So, to make sure that you have the lumpia whenever you crave it, one option is to cook the filling. After Christmas or summer vacation, my mother-in-law would send my family home, with a year’s supply of frozen lumpia. An exaggeration, but that is how much we love lumpia that she wants to make sure we have it when we want it. Another upside of cooking the filling is you can make the lumpia more flavorful by adding meat, shrimp or chicken to the vegetables. For health reasons however, you can always stick with tofu. When cooking, make sure not to overcook the vegetables because you will still be deep frying the lumpia. Since my son prefers ground beef, I added it to my lumpiang gulay recipe below. That’s the upside of lumpiang gulay, you can always tweak it to suit your taste.
4 pcs. medium size carrots (shredded)
½ lb green beans (sliced thinly)
1 pack bean sprout (tawgi)
½ cabbage (sliced thinly)
¼ lb ground beef
1 medium size onion (diced)
5 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
1 beef bouillon cube (dissolve in hot water)
2 tbsp canola oil
38-42 pcs. lumpia wrappers
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 18-20 minutes
Wrapping: 30 minutes
Makes 38-42 pcs.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat oil. Add garlic and cook until slightly brown. Add onions and cook until translucent.
- Add the ground beef and cook for 3 minutes until brown.
- Add the green beans. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the carrots and the cabbage at the same time and cook for another 3-4 minutes stirring continuously.
- Add the bean sprouts and cook for 2-3 minutes. (Note:Vegetables should not be overcooked.)
- Add fish sauce, oyster sauce, beef bouillon, and pepper.
- Cook for another two minutes. (Add garlic salt as needed.
- Remove from heat. Transfer the cooked vegetables into a strainer to remove excess liquid from vegetables and let it cool.
- When cooled, scoop 1 ½- 2 tablespoons of filling and placed diagonally in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the bottom towards the top to cover the filling. Then, fold the edges to create an envelope. Roll it towards the top. Wet the top point with water and seal it. Repeat the process for each wrapper. It is ready for frying.
- Fry the lumpia until golden brown. ( See above.)
- Serve hot.
- You can fry the lumpia immediately, but to make sure that the wrapper does not burst open especially if you are using a thinner, individually separated wrapper, it is advisable to freeze the lumpia for 30 minutes before frying it.
- The thinner the wrapper, the crispier the lumpia.
- You may replace ground beef and beef bouillon with chopped shrimps and shrimp bouillon. You may even skip adding the beef or shrimp bouillon because the fresh ingredients are already flavorful.