Finally, a recipe I can replicate. Adapted from an entry in Reynaldo Alejandroâ€™s The Philippine Cookbook, these crisp lumpiang shanghai will now be a staple in my freezer, to accompany the atchara that shall always be in my fridge!
1 kg medium-ground pork (a little fat is essential in the mix)
1 package (500 g) frozen deveined shrimp, thawed, de-shelled and coarsely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sliced green onions (about 1 bunch)
½ cup coarsely grated carrots
1 can (500 g) whole water chestnuts, coarsely grated or minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 packages (24 sheets each) frozen lumpia or spring roll wrappers
¼ cup vegetable oil
Bottled sweet and sour sauce, for dipping
1. Combine all ingredients for the filling in a large bowl; mix thoroughly, best done with your hands. Stick the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour; thaw frozen lumpia wrappers at room temperature while the filling sits to chill.
2. Prep the lumpia wrappers by carefully peeling each sheet off the thawed package, one by one (it takes a bit of patience with these thin sheets, but I promise it will be worth it!). Place loose sheets on a plate lined with a damp tea towel. Make sure to keep the topmost sheet covered if you plan to step away longer than five minutes, as they dry quickly!
3. Get your wrapping station set up â€“ mise matters. Above your cutting board, set the covered wrappers in station one, the filling in station two, and a small bowl with cold tap water in station three. Have a baking sheet ready on the side to stack wrapped lumpia pieces in.
4. To assemble, place one wrapper at the centre of your board; scoop one heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the lower third of the wrapper. Spread the filling out with your fingers or a spoon to about an inch from the bottom edge, and ½-inch from the left and right edges.
5. Fold the bottom edge over the filling; patting it out to distribute the filling evenly if needed. Fold the left and right edges toward the centre.
6. Roll the lumpia as tightly and neatly as you can. I may never achieve the uniformity that my grandmother rolls her lumpiang shanghai with, but I imagine that comes with decades of prepping these delicious rolls for 10 children and over a dozen grandchildren!
7. Heat ¼-inch of oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium. Tear a tiny piece of wrapper off one lumpia to test the oilâ€™s temperature; drop it into the pan, and if it sizzles upon contact you are ready to go!
8. Fry lumpia for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the wrappers are a beautifully crisp golden brown.
9. Drain on paper towels. Dip in sweet and sour sauce and enjoy!