Here’s the REAL unofficial cook…that’s a photo of Spouse frying up a batch of Lumpiang Shanghai taken some 2 years ago. Oh by the way, the title of this entry does not refer to him being shanghai-ed, it refers to me!
I’d just made this Filipino meat spring roll when Spouse asked me to make another batch a week later. I emphasized how labor intensive it was and he volunteered to help me out. So I took him up on it…and he ended up rolling and frying and having fun…as you can probably tell from his wide grin.
See… I’ve found that in marriage, you can’t help but power play with the spouse sometimes…just for the fun of it. There’s nothing sweeter than when your spouse asks you to cook something you’d just made.
I first witnessed this kitchen power play between spouses when Eldest Sister’s husband asked her years ago to make Kare-kare, an oxtail stew that’s not at all easy to make. Her hubby got her to say yes with the promise that he would do all the pounding of the toasted rice and peanuts….by hand, with the old-fashioned mortar and pestle. The poor thing had callouses on his fingers when he was done!
At first, my Spouse made his lumpia rolls too fat. So I told him how my mom would call fat lumpia “bastos” or uncouth. My mom has this thing for making her lumpia as dainty and thin as possible so we’ve always made our meat lumpia quite slim.
He eventually got the hang of it and quickly made me prou ?with his “rolling” abilities. In fact, he became so good at making lumpia and dumplings that he volunteered to help out last Thanksgiving at Younger Sister’s house…and boy did he impress my sisters!
I’ll be going home for a family reunion next week and decided to make a batch of lumpia to keep in the freezer. Spouse can have more fun frying them when I’m away.
This Lumpiang Shanghai recipe is an adaptation of my mom’s sought-after recipe. I had to make some adjustments due to the fact that I cannot get the Chinese celery or “kinchay” here in Colorado. It’s as close in flavor to my mom’s though.
1 lb. ground pork
3 large celery stalks, rough chopped
1 medium carrot, cut in chunks
5 peeled garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground balck pepper
1 pack spring roll wrappers (I used the square ones)
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. water
First, finely mince the celery, carrots and garlic in a food processor. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the pork, the egg, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
Separate the wrappers and prepare the cornstarch solution for sealing your rolls.
On a large dinner plate or chopping board, lay out a wrapper and on one end, place 1.5 to 2 tbsps. of the meat mixture in a long strip. Roll this once or twice tight, like you would start on a hand-rolled cigarette or something else you used to roll in the 60’s and 70’s.
Gather up the sides, dabbing it with the cornstarch solution and continue to roll till you get to the end. Seal it with another dab of the cornstarch solution. Continue with the rest of the wrappers.
At this point you can put the lumpia in a bag and freeze. Wrapping the individual lumpia in wax paper is also a good idea.
For frying, heat a frying pan with enough oil to cover your rolls. Heat over medium high heat and add the rolls when the oil gets all shimmery on the surface. Keep the temperature to between medium-low to medium when your rolls start browning.
NOTE: Cooking time depends on how thin or fat your rolls are. The general idea is to keep the heat lower if your rolls are chubbier to ensure the center is cooked through.
Place the cooked lumpia in a strainer to allow the oil to drain. I do not recommend putting it over paper towels straight from the pan…the rolls will lose their crunch that way. You can do that when it’s cooled a bit.
Serve with sweet and sour sauce.