Lumpia is one of the national dishes of the Philippines and bears a resemblance to fried spring rolls and egg rolls. But, this appetizer can be traced back to Fuji where a “cake” called popiah or lunpia was made. These rolls were filled with meat, fish, and/and veggies and the tradition soon spread to other countries. One of the things that makes lumpia particularly Filipino is the addition of potatoes and sweet potatoes, New World foods brought by the Spanish to their colonies.
Lumpia can contain a variety of fillings and can be made with both beef and pork inside, but for simplicity we’re using just ground beef in this recipe. The savory filling also has cabbage, carrots, and a lot of garlic. There aren’t a lot of spices in this filing, so the garlic is doing the heavy lifting for these lumpia (along with salt and pepper).
You can use either cilantro or parsley for some additional seasoning in the filling. Some folks are sensitive to the taste of cilantro so it’s nice to have an alternative.
If you can find proper lumpia wrappers then use those. But, most of us will have to settle for egg roll or spring roll wrappers. Either will work well, but the square ones are easiest to roll in my opinion.
These are fried and you want to use a good amount of oil. You should turn them only once while frying to avoid damaging the fragile wrappers. I find that some chopsticks are the best tool for turning lumpia in the oil (and then for getting them out as well).
The garlic dipping sauce is a simple mixture of mirin, fresh garlic, and black pepper. The mirin gives it a sweet tang. You can buy some Asian sweet pepper sauce at the grocery if you prefer or simply dip them into soy sauce. Any of these go really well with the hearty filling of the lumpia.
However you serve them these crunchy lumpia are the perfect appetizer or side dish. It’s a good thing this recipe makes a lot because these tasty rolls tend get eaten very quickly!
Lumpia with Garlic Sauce
Makes 30 lumpia
50m prep time
39m cook time
For the sauce:
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup mirin
- black pepper to taste
For the rolls:
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 15 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup chicken or beef stock
- 1 large potato, peeled and grated
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and grated
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 small head green cabbage, shredded
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro or parsley
- 30 square spring roll or egg roll wrappers, defrosted if frozen
- 2-4 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Combine sauce ingredients together in a container. Leave at room temperature while you prepare the lumpia.
- Add beef to stockpot set to medium heat. Cook until just beginning to brown, about 6-7 minutes. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 6 minutes, then add onion powder, salt, pepper, stock, shredded potatoes and carrots. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until excess water is cooked off. And veggies are softened.
- Add cabbage to pot and cook for 3-5 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Remove beef and veggie mixture from pan to a metal bowl to cool for 30 minutes then stir in cilantro or parsley. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Fill a small bowl with water. Add a spoonful of filling to center of spring roll wrapper. Fold 3 points of the square into the center, then tightly roll the rest of the way. Before getting to the end of the roll dab your fingers in water bowl and wet the last point of wrapper. Make 5 lumpia at a time, frying in between, to avoid soggy wrappers.
- Clean and dry pot and add oil. Heat to medium-high. Add 5 lumpia at a time, frying until golden brown and bubbly on surface, about 5-6 minutes, turning only once if lumpia aren’t fully submerged in oil.
- Place lumpia on paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Serve with sauce on the side for dipping.
Recipe adapted from Christina’s Cucina.