Growing up, Shanghai style lumpia was what my mom called the all meat version of Filipino lumpia or egg roll. It is a main staple in most Filipino homes and the most requested food for potlucks by most Americans (who have eaten lumpia before.) It is usually served with a side of sweet and sour sauce or my favorite sweet and hot sauce. It can be time consuming to make, if you are making a batch for a party because most people can’t just eat one lumpia and really the part that takes time is the rolling.
I have been asked time and time again to hold a lumpia making class in my home but I haven’t done it yet. So, I am going to take a leap here and post my mom’s easy recipe for Shanghai lumpia. My siblings may hate me later.
1 or 2 packages of lumpia wrapper (you’ll be able to find them in the frozen food area by the Asian section in most grocery stores)
Ground beef, pork or chicken (I have to say that my favorite way to make lumpia and the way we made it all of my life is with ground beef). 2 lbs of meat can make up to one complete baking sheet of lumpia if rolled thinly
1 onion chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 small bowl of water for sealing the lumpia
A deep frier or pan deep enough for a couple of inches of oil to fry your lumpia.
**Here’s a couple of clues…If you are going to make a ton of lumpia…you will be rolling lumpia until the meat is all used up so be sure you have the time. Growing up, I remember wrapping lumpia from after lunch until well past midnight for birthday parties, weddings etc. Argh! And be sure you have the freezer space. You will need to freeze the lumpia before frying them. If you don’t you may end with open lumpia in a frying pan. It’s not pretty. Believe me!
Before starting, be sure that your lumpia wrapper is defrosted. They will be almost impossible to pull apart if they are still frozen.
In a large bowl, mix up the ground beef, onion, salt and pepper. (If you want to add a sweet element, try adding some raisins. Yum!) Take one lumpia wrapper and lay it flat on a plate or chopping board (whatever flat surface you’re using to wrap your lumpia on top of). Take a spoonful of the meat mixture and place it in the middle of the wrapper. Don’t put too much meat mixture in one lumpia wrapper. Sometimes more is just more and this is one of those times. Too much meat and your lumpia will not cook thoroughly when fried. Yuck!
Pull one side of the lumpia wrapper over the meat mixture. Now fold the other 2 sides of the lumpia over the meat mixture, before rolling into a tight roll. It should look like an egg roll but thinner when your done. Use your index finger and wet it in the small bowl with water then run your finger on the last end of the wrapper so that it will seal your roll. Place the lumpia roll inside a large Ziploc bag and as you continue to make the lumpia, you will be placing them in the Ziploc bag in rows so that the entire bag will be filled with nicely lined up and stacked lumpia. Once the bag is full put it in the freezer overnight.
When you’re ready to fry up the lumpia. Heat up vegetable oil so that it will sizzle when you place the frozen lumpia in the pan. Fry the lumpia until they are a golden brown. As long as you didn’t make your lumpia too thick with meat, they will be completely cooked inside and out when they reach that nice golden brown color. Remove the lumpia from the pan and drain them on top of a paper towel before putting them on a serving platter.
Serve them with rice, as a side dish…as the main dish or appetizer.