If you’ve ever been to a Filipino party or get together, then I’m certain you’ve had lumpia. These golden fried sticks of goodness are incredibly hard to resist and never last for too long at any party. For Christmas I got my mom to show me how to make her homemade lumpia once and for all (ie: I wrote it down this time). She doesn’t really measure so I had to watch her carefully and take notes.
First you have to prep all of your veggies: carrots, celery, onion, garlic. Everything should be diced in little pieces. The carrot goes on the box grater for the little stick-like pieces.
Then you add in your meat (half ground beef, half ground pork) and your seasonings (brown sugar, salt, pepper and eggs).
And then… you mix! Squish and mix and turn it all around.
My mom’s comment, “You have to mix really, really good.” Otherwise you won’t get an even blend of stuff. My mom just digs right in and uses her hands (I do it this way for meatloaf, too – I ain’t afraid of touching raw meat).
Back in the day my mom used to put raisins in her lumpia (which I would always dig out and throw away). I don’t remember when she switched and starting using sweet garbanzos (or, in this case, garbansos) but I love it. You get this extra little bit of sweetness in the lumpia that I really love. Note that they MUST be in the ones in the syrup! Regular garbanzo beans will probably just make you sad. These are a whole other level. You can find these in the Asian market with the other bottled fruits and meats.
Next step: preparing your wrappers. We don’t have any kind of brand loyalty around here but I usually get the ones marked for lumpia or spring roll wrappers. I got three packages of 25 count wrappers. These are usually in the freezer section at the Asian market. Make sure these are defrosted before you use them – leave them in the fridge for awhile to soften up. Grab a plate and a towel. Moisten the towel so it’s damp. You want to keep the wrappers covered with the damp towel so they don’t dry out while you’re working with them.
My mom carefully separates each wrapper and lays them in a pile with the towel wrapped over them (so the towel is on the bottom and top, covering the wrappers).
Now, it’s time to wrap! We’re using a plate here but we switched to using a cookie sheet pan so that it would be flat. Grab a heaping spoonful of filling and place it in about the middle of the wrapper. Spread it out so it’s a nice even little log. Place 4-5 sweet garbanzo beans on top (I liked to squish them into the filling a little bit).
My mom was working fast here but she lifts the bottom up and over the filling and tucks the wrapper around the top. You want to make sure you roll it tightly at this point. Tightly rolled wrappers means crunchier lumpia and less likelihood of any filling spilling and breaking out. Be careful with the wrappers, too. They’re quite thin and you don’t want them to break.
My mom says that this part is like “wrapping a burrito”. You want to fold the ends over tightly on the left and right sides.
Then roll up until you have a little flap that looks like the top of an envelope.
Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention. You also need two egg whites, slightly beaten. Brush the egg whites over the “envelope” flap (just the edges is fine). This seals the wrapper.
I haven’t wrapped lumpia in a long time and I’m not as good as it as my mom… My first one kind of sucked compared to mom’s. But that’s what practice is for!
Hoo boy. That’s a lot of lumpia.
We made about 75 long homemade lumpia pieces and probably could have used another package to get to 100, but I only bought three packages of spring wrappers. My mom used the leftover lumpia filling and turned them into little meatballs, froze them, and used it for a soup dish.
Even after all of that prep they’re not done yet! Now comes the part where you FRY the lumpia. Mmmmm.
We generally use canola oil. You can get all fancy and do something else like peanut oil but I don’t think it’s necessary for life. Olive oil is probably the only thing I wouldn’t use. Get the oil nice and hot. I used a cast iron skillet here but if you have enough oil and bigger pot (like a dutch oven), go that route. It’s better if they float. Fry the lumpia over medium high heat and watch them carefully. You’ll need to flip them if using a low pan like this one.
You know they’re done with the outside is a wonderful golden brown color. Takes about 8-10 minutes.
Usually we will cut them in half so it feels like there are way more lumpia to go around. I think making smaller lumpia is a pain in the butt so I just cut them in half after they’re cooked. Same difference if you ask me!
Serve the yummy homemade lumpia with either your favorite sweet & sour sauce or sweet Thai chili sauce. I kind of prefer them without sauce myself!
Hope you enjoy this little homemade lumpia adventure! It’s a lot of work but they taste so, so good and SO much better than the frozen ones in the store.
Here’s the recipe card for “exact” (har har) measurements:
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled and minced with a garlic press
- 3 carrots, peeled and grated
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 lbs. ground pork
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 1 bottle of garbansos in syrup
- 3-4 packages of spring roll wrappers (25 count)
- 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
- Defrost your spring roll wrappers in your fridge (overnight or for a few hours). When ready, separate spring roll wrappers and use a damp towel to keep them moist while you're wrapping.
- Mix together the first four ingredients then add ground beef and ground pork. Add sugar, salt, pepper and 3 eggs. Mix very well, using your hands to really grind and squish it together.
- Using a heaping spoonful and place lumpia filling in the center of the wrapper. Arrange so the filling looks like a long, thin log. Add 4 garbansos to the top and press them down into the meat.
- Lift the bottom of the wrapper up and over the filling, careful to slight tuck the wrapper in. Make sure it is quite tight.
- Fold over the left and right ends so it looks a bit like a wrapped burrito.
- Roll up the lumpia 3/4 of the way, leaving an exposed end that looks like an envelope flap.
- Brush the "flap" with a little egg white on the edges.
- Roll and seal the lumpia.
- Repeat until all wrappers are used.
- Freeze lumpia if not using right away.
- To prepare for eating: Heat oil in a skillet (or dutch oven) over medium high heat - about 350 degrees. Place lumpia carefully and fry, turning once, until golden brown. About 8-10 minutes.
- Serve immediately with your favorite sweet & sour sauce or sweet Thai chili sauce.