If there was a Loyalty Award for dishes, it would surely be given to Lumpiang Shanghai, for it is present to all occasions, whether big or small.
Lumpiang shanghai or Filipino Spring roll is a handy pick Chinese-inspired dish that is taste great any time of the day. It is a small, log-shaped, meaty and crispy brown Filipino finger food.
Even my grandma always includes Lumpiang Shanghai in her to-cook list whenever there’s a birthday celebration, dedication, wedding, reunion, anniversary or a simple get-together.
So, What Really Is Lumpiang Shanghai?
This Lumpia is made of ground pork, chicken or beef filling that are mixed with finely chopped onions, carrots, celery and other seasonings all wrapped in a thin crepe called lumpia wrapper. Also, sticky beaten egg or plain water is used to seal its ends, then it’s deep-fried until it turns golden brown.
Of course, Lumpiang Shanghai is best eaten when dipped in either sweet chili sauce or just the traditional banana ketchup popular in the Philippines, but I usually prefer the sweet chili sauce. I simply like it too with steamed or fried rice for my breakfast, lunch, or dinner and even as a meryenda (afternoon snack).
Where Did Lumpia Originate?
As I said earlier, it is obvious that Lumpiang Shanghai has a Chinese influence. It originated in Fujian, China and first brought to Southeast Asian countries, like the Philippines way back in the 7th century. When the Chinese people began settling in our country, they introduced lumpia and its several variations to our people until it became one of our local dishes.
Here Are Some Of The Lumpia Variations:
- Lumpiang Hubad – basically, it has the same ingredients but not wrapped.
- Lumpiang Sariwa – this one is unfried lumpia and consists of shredded fresh vegetables, like ubod (palm tree trunk), flaked chicken, crushed peanuts and turnips. Usually dipped in a sweet sauce.
- Lumpiang Ubod – its main ingredient is ubod itself or the heart of a coconut palm. Unlike the others, it is served without a sauce.
- Dynamite – this is the spicy version of lumpia made with green chili peppers, ground meat and cheese. Also, it is best served with ketchup and mayo.
Over time, Pinoy cuisine has produced other variations due to our different cravings like:
- Lumpiang Adobo
- Lumpiang Gulay
- Lumpiang Prito
- Lumpiang Isda
- Lumpiang Labong
- Lumpiang Togue
- Lumpiang Singkamas
This small but crispy and delicious Lumpiang Shanghai will forever be loyal to our dining table, and that’s the thing I like about this dish because it is perfect for any season of life.
Basic Lumpiang Shanghai Ingredients
Since we have many variations of Lumpia, but if you want to cook this finger food at home for just a sudden craving here are the basic ingredients that you can easily whip up to make this filling dish.
- Ground meat – you can choose from chicken, pork and beef. You can also use fish, but if you don’t want to get in trouble of shredding the fish you can use canned tuna instead. I prefer tuna flakes in water or brine.
- Finely chopped vegetables – potatoes and carrots or you can replace them with sweet potato if you are not a fan of the other two.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garlic and onion
- Lumpia Wrapper
- Cooking oil for frying.
Making the Sauce
Having the best dip for your Lumpiang Shanghai will make it the best dish to be. There are many kinds of sauce that you can have with this finger food. For me a simple vinegar with chili sauce is the perfect one. But here is how you can make the all-time favorite Sweet Chili Sauce which is the classic dip for this dish.
SWEET CHILI SAUCE
- 1 white cup sugar
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons chili paste
- 3 cloves garlic crushed and left whole
- 1 carrot very finely grated,
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
- Combine all ingredients, except the cornstarch, in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Allow it to boil on high heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. While this is boiling, whisk or stir together with the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water.
- After 3 minutes, slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the boiling mixture on the stove. Stir to combine and reduce heat to a low boil. Allow it to boil, stirring frequently, for 2 more minutes. Taste and add more chili paste if desired. Remove and discard the garlic. Serve warm or allow to cool and refrigerate until needed. Sauce can be served hot or cold. Enjoy!
Problems when cooking Lumpia Shanghai
It may be a simple dish; however, you should never go wrong when cooking to make sure that it will turn out good.
Overcooked meat or filling – to avoid this, make sure that when you add the ground meat when the onion is already translucent during sautéing it. Just occasionally stir the meat until is brown enough, anyway it will still go under frying after it has been wrapped with the Lumpia wrapper.
Wrapper problems- this is a common problem when frying Lumpiang Shanghai that the wrapper will open up when it’s in the process of being fried. To avoid this, you just need to prepare a paste made of cornstarch and water to seal the Lumpia when already wrapping the filling.
How to keep Lumpiang Shanghai crispy?
Of course Lumpiang Shanghai is best served when they are crispy. Eventually overtime they turn soggy. Here are some few things I picked up on how to keep them crispy for a period of time.
- Use an Air Fryer – frying the Lumpia in this cooking device is surefire way to make it stay crispy since we don’t need to use oil for cooking.
- Freeze the Lumpia– freezing the lumpia first overtime will dry out the filling and also the wrapper. Frying them frozen is a good way to keep it crispy too, just make sure that the oil is hot enough to the point that it will not burn the Lumpia.
Best Food to Pair with Lumpia
This dish can be eaten anytime of the day, as a main dish, side dish or even a finger food for snacks or during a drinking session with your buddies. They are the best partners for some foods and drinks.
- Pancit or Pasta – having Lumpia as a side dish for any noodle dish is the best thing ever. Whether it be Spaghetti or Pancit Bihon Guisado. They are a match made in heaven.
- Beer – talk about hanging out with your friends over a nice ice cold beer. Well having Lumpia as your fingerfood could never go wrong. This crunchy dish is as good as having chicharon, with the fact that it’s filling and healthy.
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Best Lumpiang Shanghai Recipe
- 50 Pieces Lumpia Wrapper
- 3 Cups Cooking Oil
- 1 1/2 lbs Ground Pork
- 3 Pieces Onion Minced
- 2 Pieces Carrots Minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Cup Parsley Chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 2 Eggs
- In a bowl, combine ground pork, onion, carrots, garlic powder, parsley, salt, sesame oil, and eggs. Mix well.
- Scoop around 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of well-mixed filling and place half a handful of it over a lumpia wrapper. Spread the filling in a parallel movement, and then fold both sides of the wrapper.
- Fold the wrapper into two from bottom to top with filling ingredients in the middle. Roll-up until completely wrapped. Brush water or egg mixture on the top end of the wrapper to make sure it will be sealed. Perform the same step until all mixture is consumed.
- Heat oil in a pan then deep fry lumpia in medium heat until it floats and turns golden brown.
- When already cooked, put it on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
- Serve while hot. Share and enjoy!