"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Randy's Filipino fried lumpia -- Recipe

Randy's Filipino Lumpia

This is one of my most requested recipes. There are so, so, many ways to prepare lumpias.  It is believed lumpia, as well as all Asian egg rolls, originated in China. Everyone has their own version. For example in the Philippines the skin wrapper is much, much thinner, almost as thin as a filo dough, where as the Vietnamese use rice paper, and the Chinese version uses a much thicker wrapper. The fillings can be as varied as your taste.  I too vary it from time to time, depending on what’s available.

So this recipe is more of a guideline that you can alter by omitting or substituting any of the ingredients. For example, I have friends that are vegetarians, so simply omit any animal protein, and use vegetarian oyster sauce.

The key is to have your  "mis-en-place" ready and set to go, because there will be a lot of prep work, mostly chopping, but the cooking process is relatively easy. You will definitely need a wok for preparing the filling and/or frying the lumpias later.


 Creating the “mis-en-place”, try to cut the following into uniform sizes:

  •  40-wrappers. You can use any wrapper you prefer. I prefer the wafer thin Filipino version, but if it’s unavailable, use what’s available. It should be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight if it was previously frozen. Once thawed, keep it covered under a damp kitchen towel to keep it moist and pliable. Also, they will have stuck together, so they all need to be separated. If you are using Vietnamese rice paper, it must first be softened with water.
For the adventurous who would like to make their own lumpia wrapper, check out this video. "making home made lumpia wrappers"
  •       1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil, I use peanut oil
  •       1-cup chopped yellow onions
  •       1-tablespoon garlic
  •      ½ tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  •       ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
  •       1-cup carrots chopped or julienne
  •       1-cup green string beans chopped or julienne
  •       1-cup chopped, and cubed mushrooms. Your choice. I used dried shitake mushrooms that I’ve reconstituted.
  •       ½-medium sized cabbage (your choice of cabbage, but not purple), shredded
  •       1-4 stalks green onions, chopped or julienne
  •       2-3 cups bean sprouts
  •       1-tight handful of chopped cilantro, you can use just the leafs or both the leafs and the stem, your choice
  •       1-egg white and 1 tablespoon of water for an egg wash glue
  •       1-2 cups of oil for frying, any oil except strong oils such as olive oil. I used peanut oil

  •       ¼ cup of oyster sauce
  •      3-tablespoons sweet Thai chili sauce, (this can now be sold at most grocery stores in the Asian section), substitute with catchup and chilies if you can not find this
  •       1-teaspoon dried red chili flakes (use less or more depending on how spicy you want it)
  •       Salt and pepper to taste 

This can be omitted if you are vegetarian, or substitute it with firm tofu.  You can use any protein you wish shredded or ground. I used pork, but if you keep kosher, you can use chicken or beef and omit the shrimp.
  •       1-lb ground pork
  •      1-cup shelled shrimp, e.g., bay shrimp.
Heat a wok on a medium-high stove, then add the oil. Once it starts to slightly smoke, add your yellow onions and continue to chow, until the onions are translucent. Then add the garlic, ginger, red chili flakes, and the turmeric if you choose to use it.

NOTE: I add turmeric and ginger into as many dishes as I can, because of the health benefits of these spices! But they can easily be omitted!

Now add the ground pork, continue “chowing” until the pork is cooked, once cooked add the oyster sauce and sweet chili sauce. Mix well, then add carrots and continue to cook until the carrots are “al dente”. Then add string beans, mushrooms, and shredded cabbage.  Lastly add bean sprouts and green onions, and cilantro, incorporate it well, but it’s not necessary to continue cooking it, turn off the wok, the residual heat will slightly cook the remaining ingredients. Adjust for seasoning by adding salt or pepper to taste.

Note: the filling must be cooled to facilitate wrapping. Once cooled, place it in a colander to remove the accumulated liquid, you can keep the liquid for e.g., soups.

Now onto wrapping the lumpia. It’s fairly simple, it’s easier to see how it’s done rather than me trying to explain it. Prepare your “egg white glue” by simply beating in a small bowl the egg whites with a tablespoon of water.

Please refer to this video.

Once wrapped you’re ready to fry them. You can also at this point freeze them for later use, and fry them directly from the freezer.


You can use a wok, a frying pan, or an electric deep fryer. You just need enough oil to cover ¾ of the lumpia when immersed in the oil.  Heat up oil until it comes to about 350-375F. Fry it for approximately 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove the lumpias and drain them with a paper towel. If you are frying them directly from the freezer, they may need to be cooked a little longer.

And, they’re ready to eat. Serve them with a dipping sauce of your choice. I like making a small dipping sauce of rice vinegar, chilies, fish sauce, and lime with a touch of sugar.

Bon appétit and Happy Cooking!

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