Wednesday, February 07, 2007


We don't make lumpia, the Philippines' version of the eggroll, as often as we should. Now that we're living where lumpia wrappers are difficult - maybe even impossible - to find, I rarely even think about making them for my family.

But... everyone loves lumpia. Even people who don't know they love lumpia, love lumpia.

Years ago when we lived in New York, I had a friend who also made lumpia. Ann was from Guam, and she and I often talked about trying to make lumpia without lumpia wrappers. Anytime either of us went grocery shopping we always looked for lumpia wrappers, and promised each other that whoever found them first would buy enough for both of us. One day Ann came over, excited because she had successfully experimented and found an acceptable substitute for lumpia wrappers - wonton wraps. I tried them and was pleased with the result.

Nothing beats real lumpia wrappers. They are to regular eggroll and springroll wrappers as tissue paper is to cardstock. They are so delicately thin. However, I will use wonton wrappers if necessary.

This afternoon Sarah got a pack of 60 wonton wrappers. She should have gotten a second one. The wonton wraps are so small that they make little baby lumpia - bite-sized morsels. They were still delicious.

1 lb. ground beef (or ground chicken or ground turkey)
1 onion
1 bell pepper
2 - 3 carrots
salt & pepper
wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten, to seal wonton edges

Cook meat. Grate or finely chop vegetables and add to cooking meat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until meat is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are tender.

Spoon small amount of cooked mixture into center of wonton wrapper.

Fold the corners of the wrapper together...

Then roll up.

Seal folded edge with beaten egg mixture ( we just dip a finger in the raw egg and smear it along the edge).

Fry in hot oil. Lumpia will float when done. (Remember - everything but the wrapper and egg mix to seal it has already been cooked.)

Sarah likes nacho, or cheese lumpia, which Naty taught us to make. For that we use American cheese slices and jalapeno pepper slices. Place cheese and jalapeno on wonton wrapper and fold, seal, and fry in oil. These cook almost instantly. Don't cook too long, or all the cheese will melt out.

Serve warm. If your family can't eat them all, call in the neighbors. They'll love you for it.

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