Many moons ago, I dated a guy whose mum was from the Philippines. I am not joking when I tell you that she was straight up the friendliest, nicest person I have ever met in the entire world. She was absolutely gorgeous and every time there was a gathering or party, she made the most delicious food and always sent me home with bags full of it afterwards.
One of the tastiest things she made were Lumpiang Shanghai. Up until a few months ago, all I knew them as was Filipino sausage rolls. I’d never been told what they were called, but the meat had a similar texture and consistency to a sausage roll, so my teenage mind called them Filipino sausage rolls.
Then a few months ago, they suddenly popped into my head and I just had to find out what they were called and how to make them. Enter my best friend, Google, who somehow got me on the right track and revealed their true identity – Lumpiang Shanghai, aka Filipino spring rolls. They use spring roll wrappers, so it makes sense that they’re called spring rolls rather than sausage rolls, but I like the sound of Filipino sausage roll better, so that’s what they’ll always be known as to me.
These lumpia are a cinch to make and taste almost as good as the ones in my memory. They are essentially pork mince and a bunch of spices wrapped in spring roll wrappers and fried. The ones I had all those years ago were long, thin ones, but the recipe I used cut the spring roll wrappers in half and made mini ones. It can be adapted to make either. They are super tasty all on their own, but also taste great dipped in soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, plum sauce, the list goes on. They’re just freaking awesome!
When I one day visit the Philippines, my sole goal will be to consume as many lumpia as possible. And maybe check out some incredible beaches. And learn about the history and culture of the Philippines. And I’ll probably have to do some exercise, because it can’t be healthy eating that many fried spring rolls in one holiday. But definitely near the top of my list will be to consume a tonne of these lumpia. I can’t wait!
Lumpiang Shanghai (Filipino Spring Rolls)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
10 square spring roll wrappers (about 20cm x 20cm)
250g pork mince
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
Vegetable oil, for frying
Soy sauce/sweet chilli sauce/plum sauce/other preferred sauce, to serve
- If making mini lumpia, cut spring roll wrappers in half, so you have 20 rectangular wrappers. If making large lumpia, skip this step. You will need a small bowl of water set up near your workspace for sealing the wrappers.
- In a large bowl, combine pork mince, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and egg. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients so that everything is well-incorporated.
- If making mini lumpia, position a wrapper so the short end is towards you. If making large lumpia, position a wrapper so that one end is directly in front of you. Gather enough pork mixture to line three-quarters of the base of the wrapper (about 2 teaspoons for mini lumpia, 1½ tablespoons for large lumpia). Place the pork mixture about 1cm from the edge closest to you and form into a long, thin tube from left to right, leaving about 1½cm on either side.
- Grab the end closest to you and roll away from you, about one-third of the way. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and moisten the left and right edges of the wrapper, then fold these edges inwards and press gently to seal the sides. Continue rolling wrapper until about 2cm from the end. Dip finger in water again and moisten the far end of the wrapper. Continue rolling, and press gently to seal completely. Set aside.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining mixture until all wrappers have been filled.
- Heat a large frying pan or wok with about 2cm of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the lumpia to the frying pan in batches, about 10 mini/5 large at a time depending on the size of your pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until golden and cooked through (cut one in half to check that it is fully cooked). Drain on paper towel before serving warm with your desired sauce.
Recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia.