Lumpia is a spring roll of Chinese origin, commonly found in Indonesia and the Philippines. It’s a savory snack of thin crepe pastry skin with a mix of fillings, such as carrots, cabbage, green beans, bamboo shoots, leeks, sometimes also minced meat (chicken, shrimp, pork, beef). It’s often served as an appetizer or snack, and may be served deep fried or unfried.
One of my birthday wishes came true this year which was to have my whole family celebrate with me over a sumptuous feast. As the celebrant, I treated my whole family to lunch. It was my pleasure to see them enjoy themselves, so I told them to “just order whatever you want!”
Boy, the power of those 5 words on my family’s appetite! They did not hold back that our server had to stop them from ordering more! LOL! They ordered TWO of the following:
Crispy Pata (Deep-fried crispy pork thigh)
Beef Kalderata (Beef stewed in tomato sauce)
Kare-Kare (Beef inpeanut sauce served with bagoong or shrimp paste)
Pancit: Canton and Guisado (Stir-fried egg and rice noodles)
Yesterday, I went to a little (well, big) get-together with some friends at Lake Sammamish for a birthday celebration for my friend’s 33rd birthday.
We’ve been in talks for a while of having a kamayan since March and we’ve finally found the perfect opportunity to do it.
For those that don’t know what a kamayan is, it’s a Filipino style of eating with your hands. Basically, you use your left hand to grab whatever food you want from the table, and then you pinch it together with some rice with your right hand, and you feed yourself. I think it’s also referred to as a Boodle Fight
The food is traditionally served on giant banana leaves and the spread of food usually consists of barbecue, lumpia, and whatever else wants to be served by whoever’s cooking. For our kamayan table, we had beef and chicken skewers, lumpia, chicharon, slow cooked pork shoulder, corn, ribs, garlic rice, and an assortment of grilled vegetables.
I think it was the first time for everyone to eat kamayan from a table with food spread all over the place, but it was really cool seeing everyone enjoy themselves and just going in. There was one person in particular that was at the party that remained at the table for the majority of the feast while everyone else were just laying around in the shade or just sitting on benches because they were so full.
It was a really fun experience and I want to do something like this again. I didn’t cook for this kamayan, but I’m now inspired to host my own and I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve for what I want to serve.
Anyway, congrats to my friend on turning 33 with many more great years to come!
For the filling: 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 lb ground pork* (can use ground turkey) 1 cup onions, diced 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced 1 cup green beans, sliced thinly on a diagonal ¾ cup cabbage, sliced small 3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced ¼ cup fish sauce (can substitute soy sauce) salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add ground pork, breaking up and cooking until no longer pink. Add the green beans, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add carrots, cook 1-2 minutes longer. Add cabbage and cook until slightly softened. Add fish sauce and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
(The key here is to not overcook the vegetables, as they will continue to cook later when frying the eggrolls. Instead, you want them just slightly cooked, so that they are bright but not too tender.)
Transfer pork mixture to a colander and let excess fat and moisture drain. Let cool completely. (I’m not sure what happens if you attempt to roll lumpia with warm filling, but I’m guessing the wrappers get soggy and fall apart. Just don’t do it.) Filling can be made even further in advance – I made my filling the night before, let cool and then stored in the refrigerator until ready to roll the lumpia the following morning.
For the rolling of the lumpia: Parchment or wax paper 12 square lumpia wrappers (see tips for separating lumpia and keeping lumpia wrappers, above) 1 egg, beaten Pork mixture, recipe above
On a large piece of parchment paper, position the lumpia wrapper so that it is a diamond facing you, with a pointed edge toward you. Scoop about ½ cup (I used slightly less than ½ cup, about 3/8 cup) of the pork mixture to form a rectangular mound just below the middle of the wrapper.
Pull the bottom edge of the wrapper over the filling, and gently tighten the wrapper around the filling. Fold the right and left edges over so that they touch in the middle and the wrapper now resembles an open envelope. Roll the entire lumpia over so that there is about a 1-inch seam exposed, then brush and seal with egg. You can also brush the outside seam with more egg.
Place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining wrappers until the pork mixture is gone. Should make about 12.
(You can store these in the refrigerator for a few days until ready to roll, or even store them in the freezer for several months. Just be sure to thaw completely before frying.)
For the frying of the lumpia: Heat 3-4 tablespoons of canola oil in a small skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot, working in batches, place 3-4 eggrolls (do not overcrowd) in the skillet, seam side down, and fry on all sides until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel, add more oil to pan if needed, and repeat frying process with remaining eggrolls.
Serve immediately with lumpia sauce (recipe below). To reheat, place in a toaster oven at 350 F for 3-5 minutes until hot and crispy. Every oven is different, so just be sure to watch carefully.
For the lumpia sauce: Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1-2 tablespoon vinegar, 1-2 smashed garlic cloves, and ground pepper into a small bowl. Adjust to your tastes.
For the eating of the lumpia: Dip the end of the eggroll into the sauce. Take a big bite. Enjoy. Don’t dip again – first of all, double dipping is gross. Second, the filling is loose and will likely fall into the sauce if you turn your eggroll upside down. Instead, take a small spoonful of sauce and drizzle over each individual bite. Enjoy some more.