Small Bite Delight: Lumpia
Have you ever heard of the foods: Lechon, Sinigang, Longanisa or Adobo?
I didn’t think so. If yes, bonus points for you!
This is a short-list of some of my all-time favorite Filipino dishes, and it’s a shame that they haven’t made it into the mainstream American food scene. Having been born and raised in the Philippines, I feel blessed to have eaten an array of exotic cuisine, which I have grown to know and love. I’ve been wanting to share this taste of home with my fellow foodies and our recent SacFoodies potluck was just the place!
The potluck’s theme was “small bites” so I went with a well-known, Filipino party-favorite that’s small enough to be bite size, but filling enough to be an entrée masquerading as an appetizer. The dish is known as Lumpia.
“Lumpia,” otherwise known as Filipino-style spring rolls, are the international star of Filipino cuisine, and everyone’s favorite taste of the Philippines. Seriously – if you’re one of the few people who haven’t heard of Lumpia – first of all, where have you been? And secondly, get ready, because I guarantee the first time you try it, you’ll put away at least six of them in five minutes.
What makes these small-bite delights so addicting? Is it the perfectly fried crispy outer shell? Is it the mouthwatering seasoned meat stuffed within? Or is it dipping the savory rolls in that delicious sweet & sour sauce? For me, it’s the entire Lumpia experience. From slaving away in the kitchen – meticulously prepping, individually rolling to carefully deep frying – and then finally rewarding your hard work by devouring a dozen Lumpias in one sitting – the whole experience brings me so much joy, a sense of nostalgia and a full tummy.
If you’re curious and ready to try Lumpia for the first time, or thousandth time, here’s a recipe that I made for the very first time (I’ve eaten Lumpia for the last 24 years but have always relied on Grandma to do the cooking). Not only will you appreciate the deliciousness of this dish but you’ll have a little taste of Filipino culture in your own kitchen. Enjoy!
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup minced carrots
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
30 lumpia wrappers
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
Place a wok or large skillet over high heat, and pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cook pork, stirring frequently, until no pink is showing. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving a thin coating. Cook garlic and onion in the same pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, carrots, green onions, and cabbage. Season with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Place three heaping tablespoons of the filling diagonally near one corner of each wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2 inch space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends, and roll neatly. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap to retain moisture.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil to 1/2 inch depth, and heat for 5 minutes. Slide 3 or 4 lumpia into the oil. Fry the rolls for 1 to 2 minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.
Recipe, courtesy of AllRecipes.com.