Because I am half Filipino, I get a lot of inquiries about my ethnicity. I look kind of Asian, maybe a little Latina, but not quite enough for people to guess. When I explain my Filipino background, many people then ask if I know how to make lumpia.
Apparently lumpia is to Filipinos what tacos are to Mexicans and pasta is to Italians. If you claim to be Filipino and answer no when asked if you can make lumpia, I’m pretty sure you get added to a watchlist somewhere where a Filipino with great authority is just looking for a reason to revoke your Filipino race card. Even my mother who hates to cook can whip up this national culinary treasure.
Well, after years of lying, I decided it would probably be easier to actually make lumpia than to continue to come up with excuses about why I never make it. Plus, my teenage son had a date where the girl’s family taught him to make chimichangas (one of their family’s traditional dishes) and for some reason, it seemed logical to me that we should invite her over to learn the Filipino equivalent, nevermind the small detail that I’d never made them before.
I consulted with my mother to learn her secret recipe. “Pork sausage and green onions.” Um, I know I’m the novice here, but I knew enough to know that the recipe should involve a few more details than two ingredients, quantities unknown. On the box of the lumpia wrappers was a recipe that called for the same two ingredients plus some shredded carrots, garlic, and soy sauce. Now I had some measurements, but I still felt the recipe was lacking.
So, I embellished the recipe from the box and tweaked all the measurements so I could work in more of the ingredients I wanted to include and ended up with some darn good lumpia! It’s stuffed with vegetables so I felt like I scored a nutritional coup with the kids and they felt like they were getting spoiled because they got a rare treat–something that was deep-fried. Next time I might just spray them with a little olive oil and bake them to take the health factor up a notch, but I’m not going to recommend it until I’ve tried it and had success.
Here’s the recipe I came up with.
- 1 lb pork sausage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup broccoli slaw
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 bunch of green onions, diced
- 1 T garlic powder
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 cups vegetable or canola oil
- 1 pkg lumpia wrappers or spring roll wrappers
- Brown pork sausage in 10 inch skillet. Drain fat.
- Add remaining ingredients except oil to skillet and stir well.
- Cook pork and vegetable mixture for 5-6 minutes to soften vegetables. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- To form lumpia, lay out a wrapper and place 3-4 tablespoons of the sausage/vegetable mixture lengthwise across the wrapper about 1-inch from the bottom edge, making sure to leave at least ½-inch on each end clear.
- Fold the bottom edge over the filling, then fold in each side.
- Roll the wrapper slowly towards the top edge, keeping the roll as tight as possible.
- Moisten the top edge with water to seal the roll closed.
- Place oil in a heavy skillet so it is about ½ inch deep. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add 4-5 lumpia rolls to the oil and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side.
- Remove lumpia to paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Serve with soy sauce and/or rice wine vinegar.
- Heat oil in a separate skillet over medium heat.