Guest Author - Rachel Meneses-Ponce
Lumpia is the Pinoy version of the spring roll. There are as many ways of preparing lumpia as there are many kinds of fillings one can put in. If you want a healthier version of lumpia, then I suggest you try what Filipinos call as ubud lumpia (heart of palm spring roll).
The ubud or ubod is the central ingredient in the filling. Ubud is available at the vegetable section of wet markets or the fresh produce section in groceries and supermarkets. Try your local Asian stores if they carry this product. If none is available in your place, you can use turnips as substitute.
The wrapper is as important as the fillings. Its preparation is similar to crepe but its batter is thinner. When making the wrapper, what you want to achieve is a subtle taste, neither sweet nor salty. It is rather bland on its own, for the wrapper must not compete with the fillings but rather complement it.
The third component to ubud lumpia is the sauce. The dish on its own is rather dry. The sauce makes it moist and adds to the over-all flavour of ubud lumpia. Sprinkling roughly ground peanuts over the sauce and minced garlic on the side is the usual way of serving this dish.
Here is a simple and easy recipe for ubud lumpia which is an adaptation from my late mother’s collection of recipes:
250 grams boiled pork, chopped finely
200 grams shrimp, shelled, deveined, cooked and chopped finely
200 grams ubud (heart of palm), cut into julienne strips
2 pieces carrots cut into julienne strips
1 red onion, chopped
100 grams cabbage, shredded
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil, then add pork and shrimps. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes while stirring frequently. Add the ubud, carrot and cabbage. Cook until vegetables are done but still crisp. Drain and let cool. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce and the wrappers.
In a saucepan, add 3 cloves of garlic that are finely chopped, Mix in 50 grams of sugar, 25 ml of light soya sauce, 25 ml of fresh calamansi juice and 150 ml. chicken stock (or broth from drained filling). Stir and bring to the boil. Then lower heat and simmer gently for about 3 minutes. Add 25 grams of cornstarch or potato flour which has been dissolved with a small amount of water. Stir into the simmering mixture to slightly thicken the sauce. Be careful not to put too much of the cornstarch/flour mixture or the sauce will be paste-like and gooey. Set aside to cool.
Sift together 150 grams of rice flour, 25 grams cornstarch and pinch of salt. Put mixed dry ingredients into a bowl; make a well and add two whole eggs. Gradually add 150 ml milk or water. Stir until ingredients are well-blended. Add liquid while continuously mixing until batter is thin and smooth. Meanwhile, preheat a non-stick fry pan with scant oil. Pour about 3 tablespoons of the batter, tilting the pan to spread out the batter resulting in thin, round wrapper. Cook for about 40 to 60 seconds on each side then remove from pan and set aside. Do the same for the remaining batter.
Prepare ubud lumpia as follows: Line each wrapper with lettuce leaf, with the leafy part somewhat extended outside the circumference of the wrapper. Then put enough amount of the filling. Fold and roll the end of the wrapper towards the extended leaf. Pour sauce over it. Optional: sprinkle roughly ground roasted peanuts over sauce. For added kick, minced fresh garlic may also be added. Serve warm.