Lumpia (pronounced loom-p-yah) has been a popular snack in East Asia for centuries. In English known as egg roll because of crêpe pastry skin made with egg. The other name is spring roll as it is believed that it was filled with the new season’s spring vegetables in China. The lumpia was brought by Chinese immigrants who settled in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Lumpia is a favorite snack at gatherings, celebrations and sold by street hawkers in Indonesia and the Philippines. In Indonesia lumpia is associated with Chinese Indonesian cuisine. In the Netherlands it was Introduced through its colonial links with Indonesia. A large version of the loempia (old Dutch-Indonesian spelling) is served as a light meal. In the United States lumpia is associated with Filipino cuisine – the Shanghai variant.
There are fried and fresh versions. The best lumpia is generously filled and ingredients vary from region and family and can consist of minced chicken and/or, shrimp and/or pork (omitted for Moslim clientele), egg, bamboo shoots, shredded carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts etc. Rolled in a thin crêpe and fried to a crispy crust. Special pliable wrappers can be found fresh or frozen at Asian supermarkets. Use the larger wrappers (8 x 8 inches square). In the Netherlands a large version is served as a light meal.
Here we go:
3 cloves garlic
3 ounces chicken breast, minced
3 slices ham, chopped small
1 tablespoon leek, julienned
1 tablespoon celery
1 small can bamboo shoots, julienned
5 ounces taugé (bean sprouts)
salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces cabbage, shredded
1 red pepper, chopped small (optional)
4 spring roll wrappers
1 egg yolk, beaten
oil for deep frying
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the onion and garlic, and sauté in the oil. Add the chicken breast and ham, and stir for 2 minutes. Add the leek, celery, bamboo shoots and cabbage and continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Add the taugé, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Remove from heat and allow to cool; the mixture should be completely cooled off before using. Lay one spring roll wrapper on a clean, dry surface with a corner towards you and spoon 2 tablespoons of filling along the center. Brush the outer edges of the wrapper with a dab of beaten egg yolk. Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper over the filling and press lightly. Take the right corner and fold towards the center. Repeat with the left side, so it looks like an envelope, then roll the lumpia over to close. Heat a generous layer of oil to approximately 350 degrees Fahrenheit and fry the lumpias to a golden brown, about 5 minutes. Make sure the lumpias are completely immersed in the oil, otherwise the wrapper could burst. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sambal or chili sauce.
Tip: Lay a smaller square, a quarter wrapper, in the center of the larger spring roll wrapper for reinforcement, to prevent the lumpia from bursting open during frying. Spoon the filling onto the smaller wrapper, and fold the smaller wrapper over the filling like an envelope. Then wrap the larger wrapper as described above. Drape a damp tea towel over the unused defrosted wrappers to prevent drying and keep them pliable.