Some of my earliest memories are of my mom, her sisters, and my grandmother gathering around the kitchen table and making Lumpiang Shanghai and other Filipino food together. There would always be lots of laughter and chatter as the sisters worked together to prepare a feast for the family. The sound of laughter and the fragrances that came from the kitchen will forever be some of the things I remember most about growing up in a big Filipino family.
For me, food represents family and friends. Food is life. Food brings people together. I think that’s why I love cooking so much, and why I love throwing dinner parties at our farm.
Lumpia (Filipino spring rolls) come in different varieties. There’s Lumpiang Sariwa, Lumpiang Gulay, Lumpiang Shanghai, and Turon.
Lumpiang Sariwa is also known as “Fresh Lumpia”. The wrapper is a soft crepe-like wrapper that is not fried, and the filling is mostly vegetables and a bit of shrimp.
Lumpiang Gulay is a fried spring roll with a vegetable filling.
Lumpiang Shanghai is a fried spring roll with a meat filling.
Turon is a dessert spring roll. It’s a fried spring roll with plantain and jackfruit.
One thing that is really important to me is teaching Little One about her ancestry. My mom is from the Philippines, and my dad is from Trinidad and Tobago (his parents are from China). Hubby’s family has been in Canada for generations and generations, but their family lineage goes back to England and Scotland.
One way I teach Little One about her culture is through cooking. One of her favourite things to make (and eat!) is Lumpiang Shanghai.
How to Make Lumpiang Shanghai
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped finely
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
- ¼ c green onions, sliced thinly
- 1 lb ground pork
- ½ c raisins
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 egg to bind (optional)
- 1 pkg small sized spring roll wrappers (40 wrappers in package)
- Vegetable oil to fry with
- Peel onion and garlic and finely chop both. Peel and chop carrot, and chop finely as well. You may also grate the carrot if you do not wish to chop. Slice green onion thinly. In a medium bowl, add ground pork. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, and black pepper. Add above vegetables. If you want to add an egg to bind the mixture, you may. I don't add the egg, and the mixture stays together nicely. Add raisins.
- Mix all ingredients well. Set aside.
- Open package or spring roll wrappers and separate the wrappers carefully. You do not want to tear the wrappers, as you do not want filling to escape when frying.
- To keep wrappers from drying out, place a damp cloth or paper towel over the wrappers. Take one wrapper and place it in front of you so that it looks like a diamond on your work surface. Place a spoonful of filling at the bottom corner, leaving a little bit of space at the bottom.
- Take the bottom corner and pull it over the filling, and begin rolling tightly. Take both sides of the wrapper and bring it to the center. Roll again. Leave a bit of space at the top and dip your fingers in a shallow dish of water, run tips of fingers along the edges of wrapper so the water acts as a glue or binding. Complete wrapping your spring role.
- Repeat these steps with the remainder of the wrappers and meat and vegetable mixture.
- Heat enough oil in your wok to deep fry your spring rolls. When heated, slide six spring rolls into hot oil. Make sure not to overcrowd the wok so that your spring rolls do not stick to each other.
- Cook until golden brown. It should take about 4 minutes for freshly wrapped spring rolls and 6 minutes if frozen.
- Once cooked, remove from wok and place on paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil. Serve hot with dipping sauce and enjoy!
Yes, when it comes to Filipino cooking, there’s always a lot of prep work. My mom always says she doesn’t like to cook Filipino food because there’s always so much cutting and chopping involved. It’s true. There’s a lot of prep work, but it’s so worth it! My mom may complain that she isn’t a good cook, but she is incredible.
Serve these Filipino spring rolls with dipping sauce. This Filipino lumpia sauce is similar to the one my mom makes, but she adds minced garlic to hers. I also like this sweet and tangy chili lumpia sauce.
There you have it! See? Making your own Lumpiang Shanghai is not so difficult after all!