Veggie Saturday (my killer lumpia)

Yesterday was veggie day! But it’s not about salads or some chopped veggies served with ranch dip. It’s a medley of fresh vegetables sautéed with tofu and pork then wrapped in crepe-like wrappers and served with a special sauce with lots of garlic and finely chopped nuts. I am talking about lumpia- a Filipino dish which has gained a lot of popularity even among non-Filipino people.

I can’t think of anything you won’t like in lumpia if you’re a vegetable lover. When cooked rightly with the perfect sauce (because it’s the sauce that can make or break the dish) you have a one dish meal that is filling and healthy. For me the best lumpia should stand on its own even without the crepe wrapper- it is the sauce that will make the difference. But to be able to make nice crepe wrappers is like taking your lumpia to the highest level. I got all three elements covered and if done correctly, you will have my killer lumpia on your dining table... lol...
Here goes...

Fresh Lumpia Filling:
½ lb pork, boiled and sliced (boiled and flaked chicken breast can be used too)
2 squares firm tofu, cubed (drained of water)
1 cup green beans, sliced diagonally
1 cup lima beans
1 big carrot, cut into thin strips
Klondike Rose (golden red potatoes), cut into thin strips and fried separately
Chinese sausage, cut lengthwise then sliced into strips
Bean sprouts
2 chayote, peeled and sliced into diagonal strips
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic, crushed
peanuts, finely chopped for garnishing (optional)

Fresh Lumpia Cooking Instructions:
Sauté garlic and onions. Add pork and Chinese sausage.
When pork and Chinese sausage slightly cooked, add tofu.

Add chayote and season with soy sauce. Then add the green beans, lima beans and carrots. These vegetables have the same cooking time so they’re added one after another. At this point I would sprinkle 2 tablespoons chicken flavor seasoning and just occasionally turn over. Cover with a tight lid so the steam will cook the vegetables, no more than eight minutes on high heat. Add the fried potatoes and the bean sprouts, just toss and remove the pan from the stove. Do not put the lid because the vegetables cook fast, you don’t want to overcook them. Season to taste. Cool before wrapping.

Lumpia wrappers:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 extra large egg
1/2 tsp. of salt

2-3/4 cup water (may need adjustment depending on the quality of the flour and starch you use)

Cooking procedure:

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add the water all-purpose flour, cornstarch and salt and mix until well blended. Place the frying pan on the stove and turn on the heat to medium-low. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the pan, swirling the pan to evenly distribute the batter on the bottom. Cook the batter until the crepe pulls away from the sides of the pan about two minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crepe over and cook the other side for a minute. Do not overcook or you will have toasted crepe. Stack the cooked crepes in a plate; I separated each one with wax paper.

For the sauce:
1 cup brown sugar
Water diluted with chicken broth
soy sauce for color
chili flakes to taste
minced garlic to taste

Notes: I also add the broth from the cooked vegetables. Even without adding water, you will see broth at the bottom of the pan. I place the pan in an inclined position so I can scoop it and add to the sauce for more flavor, better yet, slowly transfer the cooked veggies in a big strainer to drain all moisture before wrapping. I prefer adding the minced garlic to sauce so it has all the flavors and spices,  The cilantro makes it even better because of its distinct herbaceous taste.

To make sauce:
Dissolve cornstarch in water, set aside. In a medium sauce pan, dissolve brown sugar in water diluted with chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Add soy sauce and chili flakes and taste if additional sugar is needed. Add minced garlic and cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the sauce. Stir until mixture becomes smooth and transparent and add the cilantro last.

To assemble lumpia:
Put 2-3 tablespoons of filling or more, depending on the size of your wrapper and how fat you want it in lumpia wrapper. Roll wrapper and seal. Serve with sauce and finely chopped peanuts.( I didn't have nuts but I swear, lumpia's yummy!)


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