Makes about 50 lumpia
No one can do these as well as Romy's brother, Danny Dorotan, who comes to the restaurant two or three times a week to help us. Our friend Marc Rakotomalala was so impressed with these spring rolls that he came in at 8 A.M. one morning to videotape Danny's technique. One secret is to remove as much moisture from the vegetables as possible by squeezing them with paper towels. The hardest part is rolling them into perfectly shaped rolls that will not break open when fried.
Just like many of the foreign-inspired dishes that are a part of the Filipino repertoire, this spring roll has nothing to do with Shanghai. The addition of jicama, mushrooms, and bean thread noodles to the ground pork makes it a more flavorful and lighter filling.
1. For the filling, squeeze the jicama, onions, and carrots with your hands to remove excess water, then pat dry with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and toss well.
2. Cut 14 of the spring roll wrappers in quarters so they form 4 equal rectangles. Wrap them in a damp kitchen towel so they don't dry out. Place the whole wrappers in a separate damp kitchen towel.
3. Place one whole wrapper in front of you with a corner pointed toward you, like a diamond. Place one of the smaller squares in the middle of the wrapper and spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto the center of the small square. Lifting the corner pointing toward you, fold the wrapper over the filling, tucking the end underneath the edge of the smaller square. Fold the right and left sides over the filling. Use a pastry brush to dab the edges of the rolls with beaten egg white to seal, then finish rolling. Transfer the completed rolls to the baking sheet and keep covered with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out. If you're not frying the lumpia right away, freeze them and fry them straight from the freezer.
4. Fill a wide, heavy saucepan with 4 inches of oil. Place over medium-high heat and heat until the oil registers 350 degrees F on a cooking thermometer, then fry about 4 lumpia at a time (don't crowd the pan), turning with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a strainer to drain. Serve hot with the Pineapple Sweet and Sour Sauce.
Rolling lumpia is a perfect group activity. Whenever our friends Reggie Aguinaldo and Stephen Young return home to the Philippines, they always look forward to the Chinese-style fresh lumpia that Stephen's mother, Mercedes Dee Young, prepares for the family. She arranges the fresh lumpia wrappers, sauteed filling, sauce, and garnishes on the table and lets everyone roll and season his or her own fresh lumpia roll.
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan
Photographs by Neal Oshima
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
More than 200 full-color photographs, 208 pages
Recipe reprinted with permission
Visit Philippines page
This page created January 2007
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