Lumpia is a fried spring roll made with minced meat and a variety of vegetables, made famous as the Filipino eggroll. Some varieties are fried with raw pork or beef, others with cooked filling. For safety reasons I like to fully cook my meat before filling the lumpias.
Lumpias uses an array of vegetables but feel free use what is on hand and personal preference. The only substitutions I wouldn’t make are garlic and red onion because they are the foundation of flavors. I used a series of colorful vegetables like sweet red bell peppers, crunchy celery, savory red onions, and crispy carrots. Soy sauce and rice wine vinegar are added to season the meat. The rice wine vinegar is mellow and sweet, great for balancing the salty bite of soy sauce. Rice wine vinegar is low in acidity, unlike other varieties of vinegars.
When cooking the vegetables, start by toasting minced garlic to add a slight nutty flavor in the mixture. The bird’s eye chilies give a fruity spice. If you have a low heat tolerance add one chili or deseed the chilies to reduce the spiciness. Cook the vegetables till tender but leave a slight bite. When eating the lumpias the vegetables have their individual flavors and a slight crunch.
Few spices are added to highlight the savory and slight smoky flavor of the lumpia. Turmeric powder gives depth of flavor, not a traditional take. But it works well with the savory nutty flavor of the toasted garlic. Garlic powder adds another layer of garlic goodness. Smoked paprika adds a roasted flavor which works well with red meat.
Ground meat is browned separately till it’s fully cooked. I like to use 80/20 ground beef, because the meat is moist and not tough. After the meat is cooked, drain on a paper towel or in a colander to drain excess fat. Once combined with the vegetable mixture, taste for seasoning since soy sauce is quite salty. Allow the mixture to cool, otherwise the eggroll wrapper will be soggy from steam and tear.
Have all components on hand to efficiently assemble the lumpia. For a crispy crust, use an entire sheet of egg roll wrapper. The wrappers should be covered with damp paper towel or kitchen cloth to avoid drying. Egg wash is needed to seal the seam so it does not fall apart when frying. Prepare egg wash by beating one egg with 1 tbsp. of water to loosen it. Add more water if needed, to make a spreadable mixture. Apply using a fork or a pastry brush. Also on hand the cooled vegetable/ beef filling with a spoon to scoop on lumpia wrapper.
The pictures provided will make it easier to understand how to properly roll lumpia.
I face the eggroll wrapper diagonally towards me, placing 1.5 tbsp. of the filling on the corner. Don’t overfill with too much of the filling otherwise the wrapper may tear and/or cook unevenly. Tuck in the corner where the filling was placed, and fold in the side corners. At this state it looks like a little envelope. Apply egg wash to the top corner. Now start rolling towards the top corner, keeping it tight and tucking in the sides to prevent the filling from seeping out. Seal the corner and place flat with the seam side down.
At this point you can freeze the rolled lumpias for future use. I freeze them on a cookie sheet flat overnight, and then place the bulk in a freezer bag. The rolls will stay good in the freezer for three to four months. When ready to use, allow the rolls to defrost for an hour till soft to the touch then cook as normal.
To begin frying, heat oil to 350 F or place an end of lumpia to see if it bubbles immediately. Fry in batches of 5 to maintain oil temperature. Each batch will take approximately 3-5 minutes to reach the desired crispiness and golden brown color. Frequently flip for even cooking and no burning.
For a quick dipping sauce, serve it along soy sauce with some lemon juice. Spike with crushed garlic, mashed shallots, and minced chilies.
- 1 package eggroll wrappers (25 sheets)
- 1 lb. ground beef (80/20)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 2 tbsp. minced garlic
- 2 bird’s eye chilies minced
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. of water
- Oil to fry (4 cups)
- Salt and Black pepper
- In a medium sized skillet, heat two tablespoons of oil on medium high heat. Add minced garlic and bird’s eye chilies, sauté for 30 seconds to a minute continuously stirring to avoid burning.
- Add chopped celery, red bell pepper, red onion, and carrots, sauté for an additional 2 minutes on medium heat till the vegetables are tender.
- Now add turmeric powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder to the vegetables sauté till well combined. Afterwards add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Set aside vegetable mixture to cool.
- In a medium sized skillet, brown ground beef till fully cooked and no longer pink. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Combine beef with the set aside vegetable mixture and allow it to cool before wrapping the lumpia.
- When ready to assemble, place 1.5 tbsp. of the filling on the corner of the eggroll sheet. Tuck in the corner and the side corners inward and roll upward.
- Place egg wash on top corner to seal the eggroll, and place on a clean plate with the seam side down.
- This mixture will make about 25 eggrolls. While assembling, place a damp paper towel over the wrappers and the rolled up lumpias to avoid drying.
- Before frying heat oil (350 F) on a heavy base skillet with high sides, to test if the oil is ready place the tip of a lumpia in oil to see if it bubbles immediately.
- Place lumpia in the hot oil seam side down, note the color of the rolls turning them every so often.
- Once the rolls are a light golden brown and hard, take out carefully and drain excess oil on a paper towel.
- Serve with soy sauce squeezed with half a lemon, and flavored with crushed shallots, garlic, and chilies.