My dear friend, Alyssa, wears many hats. She is a wonderful mother, teacher, friend, and despite her insistence, a terrific cook. And one of her specialities are her Lumpia, or Filipino Spring Rolls. Her recipe, in turn, comes directly from her mother, Gloria Andrada. As Alyssa told me, each family has their own recipe for Lumpia. But I know this, her Lumpia are just delicious. And on a recent night, as we shared stories over Lumpia wrappers, Alyssa shared her family's own version. In fact, she shared two styles: a chicken filling and one, with chicken and vegetables.
Lumpia Filling #1: Chicken
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup diced onions
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 can diced water chestnuts
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and chopped
salt and pepper
1-2 Tbs soy sauce
Mix all the ingredients together and put into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Filling #2: Chicken and Vegetable
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup chopped onions
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 russet potato, chopped
1 packaged frozen mixed vegetables
1-2 fish sauce
Saute the chicken and vegetables over medium heat until just cooked through. Add just enough fish sauce to create balance without making the mixture too salty. Let cool for a few minutes.
To Create the Lumpia:
1 package Lumpia wrappers
water mixed with cornstarch
For the chicken Lumpia, cut the wrappers diagonally to make triangles.
Place about a teaspoon of filling diagnolly on the wrapper.
Fold each corner over.
Then roll up. Finally, put a dab of water on the final triangle to seal the Lumpia.
For the chicken and vegetable Lumpia, do the same, but use the whole square Lumpia.
As you seal them, place them spaced slightly apart on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Put them in the freezer for about 30 to 60 minutes until they are just frozen solid. Put in freezer bags until ready to cook.
Heat up canola oil in a deep pan until it reaches about 350 degrees. (At that temperature, when you put the Lumpia in the oil, they should sizzle immediately). Put the frozen lumpia in for about 7 to 8 minutes making sure not to crowd them. Put in a colander to drain, ideally standing up and serve immediately.
You can serve with sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy is a good brand that is readily available at supermarkets.) However, Alyssa recommends serving them with Vinegar Sauce. To make it, mix Vinegar (ideally Filipino Spicy Vinegar such as Datu Puti brand), salt, pepper, minced garlic. Super Filipino secret: make a slit in the vegetable lumpia and pour the vinegar sauce on top!)