Lumpiang Shanghai

Lumpiang Shanghai, or “lumpia” for short – the crunchy, savory, bite-sized appetizer that’s always the crowd-pleaser. When it comes to this Filipino-style egg roll, this is the perfect finger food for any occasion. I remember going to my local Filipino store with my dad as a child and standing on my toes to try and peer over the counter to see if there was still lumpia for sale. Even as I grew older, lumpia was the staple food item that made everyone happy when served. Family gathering? There was always a tray filled to the brim with lumpia and a bottle of the sweet chili dipping sauce. Introducing friends to Filipino cuisine? Lumpia has always been my tried-and-true entry-level dish. While my local Filipino stores and restaurants made delicious lumpia, my favorite lumpia recipe is my grandmother’s. I remember the times when I would join her in the kitchen and declare myself her “official taste-tester” as she stood by the stove with lumpia frying in a pan of oil and handed me the freshly cooked ones for me to snack on. The day she finally taught me how she makes her lumpia, and it was a three-hour process! But all that work was worth it once that first crunch through the crispy lumpia wrapper and the pork and vegetable filling melts in your mouth. The process of making lumpia is an experience passed down in families that brings people together. If you remember that scene in Crazy Rich Asians when the whole family sits together to make dumplings, it’s pretty much like that. Whether it was sitting with my grandma in the kitchen and catching up on life or sharing stories with her, or teaching my friends and laughing as we roll lumpia, it’s a fun experience that allows me to spend time with people and share my culture.

Lumpiang Shanghai – picture taken by Kathleen Villarama

How Make Lumpiang Shanghai

Traditional lumpiang shanghai consists of a filling made of a pork and minced vegetables, wrapped up tight in a spring roll wrapper, fried until golden brown, and served with sweet chili sauce. Each family will have their own twists that separates one lumpia recipe from another but taste delicious all the same. When it comes to making lumpia, the key is to make long rolls and cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces before frying. It’s less work for the cook and makes more lumpia for everyone to enjoy.

Ingredients

30 lumpia or spring roll wrappers (estimate)

1 small bowl of water, to seal lumpia wrappers

1 cup vegetable oil, for frying

Lumpiang Shanghai Filling:

2 lbs ground pork (can also substitute ground chicken or turkey)

½ cup carrots, minced

½ cup yellow onion, minced

½ cup green onion, chopped

2-3 cloved of garlic, crushed

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions:

  • If wrappers are purchased frozen, take out of freezer and leave out to thaw before separating and filling.
  • In a large bowl, combine ground meat of choice with minced carrots, yellow onion, green onion, and garlic. Mix well and add garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Place a spoonful of the filling on your lumpia wrapper and spread out in a long, thin line. begin to roll the wrapper around the filling tightly, making sure the wrapper rolls evenly.
  • At about ½ inch of lumpia wrapper left, dip fingers into a bowl of water and line the edge of the wrapper with water. Seal lumpia roll and set aside. Before frying, cut lumpia rolls into 1 inch pieces.
  • After rolling all your lumpia, fill a pan (or a pot – this helps with oil splatter!) with 1 cup of vegetable oil over medium to medium-low heat. You’ll know if the oil is ready for frying if you take a small piece of the lumpia wrapper and drop it into the oil and bubbles begin to form around it. Place lumpia in oil and fry for 4 minutes per side, or until the wrapper is golden brown. **Note: do not over-crowd the pan or pot with lumpia!**
  • Once cooked, place lumpia on a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess oil. Serve with sweet chili sauce and enjoy!

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