Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Filipino Lumpia

Growing up, my family went to visit relatives in the Bay area at least once a year, usually in the summer. My grandparents, and two sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins lived there. Now that I'm older and my grandparents are gone, I really miss going. Sometimes when we were there, the family would gather at my cousins' house, and my aunt LaDonna, who is part Filipino, would cook lumpia for all us. Lumpia is basically ground beef and ground pork with finely diced veggies, all rolled up in a wrapper and deep fried. I remember us kids would sometimes help, although looking back, I am pretty sure my aunt could have made it more quickly without our "help." Anyway, it was a special treat and we all loved lumpia. This year I decided it was high time we made Filipino food for our Christmas Eve around the world tradition, centered, of course, around lumpia.
{lumpia and sweet and sour sauce}

In addition to the lumpia for dinner, we had rice, pancit (a noodle/veggie dish side dish), and fried bananas.
I had been in touch with Aunt LaDonna about how to make the lumpia and what else we could serve with it, and she was very helpful. In fact the afternoon of Christmas Eve we were surprised by a package in the mail from her. She had sent some cookies and tamarind which she remembered eating in the Philippines. We ate those, along with mangos, mango pudding (probably not authentic), and some sesame ball treats I bought at an Asian market.
Christmas Eve food is always an adventure at our house. I don't know if we'll eat the other stuff we made again any time soon, but I am super excited about the leftover lumpia I have stashed in the freezer! Here's the recipe:


Ingredients (no exact measurements, but it's hard to go wrong):

ground beef and ground pork*
green onions
large square lumpia wrappers**
garlic powder, salt, pepper
flour and water mixture
*Equal parts of each, or to your preference. One pound total of meat makes a lot of lumpia. I think next time I will use more pork than beef. Some recipes call for shrimp also, but we never had it that way.
**You can find lumpia wrappers in a refrigerated or frozen section at Asian markets. They are pretty similar to spring roll wrappers, which might work in a pinch. Won ton wrappers are too thick.


Defrost lumpia wrappers completely on counter if frozen. Finely chop or dice veggies (I used my food processor). Mix raw meat, veggies, and seasonings in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together some flour and water to make a paste. Open lumpia package and cut large lumpia wrappers into four smaller squares. Keep wrappers covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. Pull off a small square lumpia wrapper from the rest. Place filling along one edge and roll up, sealing the seam with a flour/water mixture. Leave the ends open. Repeat. Keep filled lumpia covered with another damp towel to prevent drying out. Deep fry lumpia in a wok or deep fryer (I did mine four at a time in our deep fryer).

Serve with sweet and sour sauce (recipe below).

Notes: It is very helpful to have a second person working with you because the wrapping is time-intensive and the wrappers dry out easily. Also, I make the smaller lumpia and wrap them with the ends open because that is how my aunt did it. You can use the full sized square wrappers with a larger volume of filling and wrap it like an eggroll if you prefer, but I think you may need to precook the meat if you go that route.

Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add 5-6 tablespoons of ketchup and stir until well mixed and bubbly. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with a little water. Mix till consistency is smooth. If too thick add more water. Add 1/2 of cornstarch mix to pot, stirring constantly. Sauce will thicken as it heats; if it doesn't add more of constarch mix. Once it gets to the consistency you like remove from the heat. It will thicken a little more as it cools.

No comments: