The Fourth of July is nearly here and though it’s obviously not a holiday that Brits generally celebrate I do have some fond childhood memories of Independence day festivities. On the big day we kids would be packed into the car, literally bouncing with excitement, and then after a short ride let loose at the local fun fair. We’d gorge on cotton candy, ride the Zipper and win goldfish that would only ever live for a week.
By evening we’d all lie on a blanket spread out on the grass and look up at the sky waiting for the show to begin. As fiery bursts of fireworks would dance their way through the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, we’d be sipping on soft drinks and munching through the last of the Lumpia bought from a mobile stand. It’s amazing how vivid some memories can be and it’s because of this that I’ll always associate Lumpia with the Fourth.
If you’ve never heard of this dish before you’re in for a special treat. Lumpia is simple and easy to make egg roll filled with a sauteed mixture of ground meat and vegetables readily found in any Western grocery store. Though this delicious dish from the Phillipines is traditionally made with ground pork I like to use ground turkey since it makes the rolls not only lighter in flavour but also suitable for people who don’t eat pork. I’ve heard of ground chicken, lamb and beef being used before so the meat choice is really up to you.
Ground Turkey Lumpia
makes 40 rolls
One package of defrosted Lumpia/Eggroll wrappers
550g/1 lb ground Turkey
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 large Carrot, grated – wash it but don’t bother to peel it
2 cups shredded Cabbage
2-3 Spring onions, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1-1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1-1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1-1/4 tsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp cooking oil – Olive or Peanut is best but you can use ordinary vegetable oil
Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping
1. Heat the oil in a deep bottomed pan and then brown the ground turkey until the meat is fully cooked. Discard the liquid and then set the meat aside.
2. In the same pan, saute the onions and garlic on medium heat. There should be enough oil left in the pan but if you need a bit more add a small amount at your discretion. Once the onions are soft then stir in the salt, pepper and soy sauce then add in the carrot, cabbage and spring onions.
3. Cook the vegetables until almost soft then add the meat back in to the pan. Allow the mixture to continue cooking and then remove it from the heat when you’re sure that it’s cooked through. This should take about ten minutes.
4. Now following the visual instructions below you’ll want to spoon about two teaspoons of your filling onto each wrapper before rolling it up. To make the top corner of the wrapper stick down you’ll need to wet it with a little water first. I keep a small bowl of tap water handy for this part.
5. To cook your Lumpia you can either deep fry them or cook them at a med-high temperature in a skillet filled with a small amount of oil. If you’re cooking using the pan method you’ll need to turn the Lumpia regularly so that the sides get an even brown colour. After they’re cooked, set them on a kitchen towel to drain a few minutes before serving. They’re great with Sweet Chili Sauce but I imagine that any variety of dipping sauces will do. Enjoy!
Wrap an Eggroll / Lumpia
Step 1. Set a wrapper in front of you so it looks like a diamond then spoon about a Tablespoon of filling just below the centre of the wrapper. Leave a little margin from the edge as shown in the image above.
Step 2: Bring the bottom corner up and over the filling. Hold it down to create a case around the filling then roll the wrap-encased filling upwards just once.
Step 3: Fold the sides of the wrapper in
Step 4: Continue rolling the filling part upwards. Wet the inside of the top corner with water and it will stick to the rest of the wrap, sealing it.
Because making Lumpia usually means you make a lot of them at a time they’re great to prepare as a party dish. Don’t let that stop you from making them simply for your own family though – you can make a big batch of Lumpia and then store most of it in the freezer for quick meals or appetisers. The best way to go about this is to initially freeze the Lumpia on a baking tray and then place them individually into a storage container or bag. Freezing them this way keeps them from all sticking together into a massive lump, making it easier to filch a few out at a time. The best part is that Lumpia can be cooked from frozen so they make a really easy and delicious treat that can be prepared in as little as five minutes.