How to Make Lumpia (Filipino-Style Egg Rolls)
I learned this recipe from my Filipino mother. I love this lumpia recipe because it isn't overstuffed with vegetables. My mom's Filipino recipe has been a little Americanized.
You're Going to Need Patience!
The first thing you'll need is a lot of patience, especially if you have never worked with lumpia wrappers before. The wrappers (available at most local Asian food markets these days) are very thin sheets of dough that you will use to wrap your fillings. For some reason—and I have never understood this—they package the wrappers all stuck together. This makes it very difficult to separate them from one another.
Recently, they have started selling the wrappers individually separated. However, they only sell 25 sheets per pack instead of the normal 50 per package. The individually separated packages also cost a few cents more, so depending on how much time and patience you have, that is your choice to make. To me, the extra few cents are worth it, especially if you're preparing for a party or wedding. Please don't let this discourage you from making this tasty treat! The time is surely worth the end product, and you will definitely have future requests for this appetizer.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon or 2 cloves minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons season salt
- 1 package of 50 wrappers or 2 packages of 25 individually separated lumpia wrappers
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups vegetable or olive oil
- Small bowl of water
- Chop your onion. Shred your carrots. Mince your garlic.
- You'll want to brown your ground beef with your chopped onions, shredded carrots, garlic, pepper, and season salt over medium-high heat in a skillet or frying pan. (I recommend using a frying pan that is at least 1 1/2" to 2" deep. I use the same pan to fry the lumpia in once it is rolled and finished.) When the meat is nice and brown, drain the excess grease and set aside.
- Now, here comes the fun part. Separate the wrappers. In all my years of making lumpia, I have not found any easy way to separate these darn things, but I will tell you how I do it. Maybe you can come up with an easier way. The wrappers need to be defrosted if they are frozen. You'll also want to have a plate to set them on, as well as a damp kitchen towel to cover them; we don't want our wrappers to dry out!
- Open the package and take out the stack of wrappers. Start at the edges and gently start peeling the edges upward. Continue around and around until you eventually get to the center of that particular sheet, and then remove the individual sheet from the stack.
- Now, place the loose sheet on your plate under the damp towel or cloth. And basically repeat until the stack or package is done. Sounds easy, right? It's not! It will take you a few times of separating before you get the hang of it, probably midway between the stack.
- We are now ready to assemble our rolls. Take one of the wrappers and spoon 1–2 tablespoons of your ground beef mixture in a line near the edge on the wrapper.
- Fold the wrapper over the line of meat you just spooned.
- Now, you will begin to roll the meat into a tube. Stop rolling when you get to the middle of the wrapper.
- Fold the right and left sides of the wrapper to the center.
- Continue to roll to the end of the wrapper.
- Dip your fingers in the small bowl of water and lightly moisten the exposed edge of the lumpia wrapper.
- Fold the wrapper edge onto itself, pressing it down gently. So it seems to glue itself down.
- Place to the side for now and repeat, repeat, repeat until there aren't any wrappers or meat left.
- All that's left to do now is heat your oil in your frying pan on medium-high heat. You only need about 1/2" of oil in the pan.
- Once the oil is hot, place about four or five lumpia in the pan and lightly brown each side. This will take about 3–5 minutes each side. It will also vary with your stove. So if it seems like they are burning quickly, turn your burner down. They should be a nice golden brown color.
- Now, you want to let them cool and drain some of the excess grease off of them. My mother and I have always used a colander. Feel free just to set them on paper towels or napkins.
- Repeat until you've made desired amount, or they are all done. You can store extras (before they are fried in oil!) in the freezer to fry later on.
That's another great benefit to this recipe. You can make 50 at a time and only fry 10 one day and save the others for when you feel like it.
Voila! You've just made lumpia! It's okay if they're not all perfect or the same size. Over time, you will learn how to make them all uniform. Trust me. It took me years to master the art of lumpia rolling.
What Kind of Sauce Should You Use?
You can use any type of dipping sauce you prefer. My choice is plain old ketchup. I know some people who like to use the store-bought sweet and sour sauce and duck sauce. Some people like them plain. They are great either way. But I strongly recommend trying them with ketchup. They're a perfect pair!
Vary It Up!
Once you master this base recipe, you can always make your own variations to it and make it your own. You could add your favorite vegetables (like shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, sliced celery, etc.). You can even change the type of ground meat; my mother sometimes used ground beef and pork together. You could probably also use ground turkey. Whatever your preference, whatever your favorites are, the different combination possibilities are endless with this base idea.
Great for Any Occasion
I love this recipe because of its versatility and its appeal. This is a great appetizer for all occasions like office/work parties, weddings, funerals, holidays, and birthdays. Your family, friends, and guests will not be let down. You will see with your own eyes that it is the first appetizer to disappear. The recipe makes approximately 50 lumpia (provided you didn't rip and tear any wrappers), so just double, triple, or quadruple the recipe when making it for parties. Think two or three lumpia per person.
I hope you try this and love it!