Lumpia Shanghai

published Dec 26, 2021
christmas
Lumpia Shanghai Recipe

These crispy Filipino egg rolls are filled with an aromatic pork filling, and served with your choice of dipping sauce.

Makes25 lumpia

Prep1 hour

Cook30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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lumpia on plate with sauce
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Lumpia Shanghai is a popular Filipino-style egg roll that’s traditionally filled with pork, onions, garlic and/or vegetables and shallow-fried in a skillet, giving it a light, crisp exterior.

And when I say popular, I mean POPULAR! Every single Filipino party I’ve ever attended had lumpia served. It’s the first thing the kids line up for, patiently waiting for the aunties to be done frying so they can cram a piping-hot lumpia into their mouths. I’m guilty of piling my plate up with lumpia only and eating as much as I can, not really caring about who doesn’t get any.

My life is filled with people asking my mom to make lumpia for parties. American family members would flood her with requests: turkey, chicken, or vegetarian for those who didn’t eat meat. She rarely obliged, citing the laborious effort needed to make them. After all, big parties usually had several aunties to help to roll them the day before, where they would sit around the table and gossip while getting the food ready for the party.

If you can gather some friends or family to help with the rolling, making lumpia is pretty easy, and so rewarding. Here, I’ll show you how to do it.

What Are the Different Types of Lumpia? 

There are several styles of lumpia across the Philippines. Lumpia Sariwa, also known as “fresh lumpia,” features a freshly cooked crepe instead of a fried one, and the filling can be vegetables alone, or vegetables with pork or shrimp. Lumpia Gulay is a vegetarian form of lumpia that can have cabbage, tofu, bean sprouts, and more. Dinamita, or Dynamite Lumpia, is a long green pepper filled with pork and cheese filling, then wrapped in a wrapper and fried until crisp. Kind of like a jalapeño popper, but crispier and, in my opinion, tastier!

In an extremely delicious dessert version of lumpia called turon, a banana is sometimes combined with ube or other sweet fruit, wrapped, then fried until crisp. The turon is then covered in a caramel and served.

Growing up, as I moved around to a few places in the United States, I watched lumpia transform from the traditional filling to fillings that represented each of the places I was living. While in California, my mom would often get requests for lumpia filled with turkey and chicken. My Filipina sister-in-law who lives in the Pacific Northwest would sometimes fill her lumpia with salmon. While these are not traditional, know that you can easily swap out the ground pork or beef for the filling of your choice. 

What Kind of Wrappers Do You Use for Lumpia? 

While I love the savory filling, I am equally obsessed with the crispy exterior that only comes from lumpia wrappers. You can’t just buy any kind of egg roll wrapper from any Asian market to wrap lumpia. Traditional Chinese-style egg roll wrappers will fry up thicker, with small bumps or pock marks all over the surface. Filipino-style wrappers are made from a flour-based, paper-thin crepe. Once fried, the exteriors are smooth and, when you bite into it, the wrapper is shatteringly crisp, revealing the warm, savory filling. Spring roll wrappers also work well.

I recommend you head to your local Filipino market and ask them for lumpia wrappers (or look for them in the freezer section). However, if you only have access to Chinese-style egg roll wrappers, you can still use them and get close to lumpia. It would probably still be a tasty bite.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Rolling, Frying, and Serving Lumpia

Start by mixing ground pork with aromatics like onion, lots of garlic, grated carrots, salt, and pepper. Separate an egg white from its yolk and add the yolk into the meat mixture and save the white for sealing the wrappers.

Separate the thawed lumpia wrappers from one another. Working with one at a time, lay the wrapper on the work surface with one corner pointed towards your body.  Add a bit of the meat filling to one side of the wrapper and form into a 5-inch thin log. Fold the corner closest to you tightly over the filling, then fold the sides over and crease the edges. Tightly roll the lumpia into a long, thin egg roll and use a dab of the egg white to seal the wrapper shut. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling until you have used everything up.

Cook the lumpia by shallow-frying in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat until the wrapper is deep golden-brown and crisp and the center is cooked through completely.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce like soy and vinegar with garlic and chilies, or Thai sweet chili sauce or banana sauce. Sometimes I opt for just vinegar and black pepper. 

Can You Make Lumpia in Advance?

Yes! I’m not sure where I would be without a freezer lumpia stash. Sometimes I like to roll some just to keep in my freezer to pull out a few whenever the craving hits. No need to thaw — simply heat the oil to 330°F to 350°F and cook as you normally would, until the center is cooked through and the exterior is deep golden-brown and crispy. 

Lumpia Shanghai Recipe

These crispy Filipino egg rolls are filled with an aromatic pork filling, and served with your choice of dipping sauce.

Prep time 1 hour

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes 25 lumpia

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 (11 to 12-ounce)

    package fresh or frozen lumpia or spring roll wrappers (not egg roll wrappers)

  • 1

    small yellow onion (about 4 ounces)

  • 2

    medium scallions

  • 1

    large carrot (about 4 ounces)

  • 3

    cloves garlic

  • 1

    large egg

  • 3 to 4 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    ground pork

  • 2 cups

    canola oil, plus more, for shallow frying

  • Dipping options: banana ketchup or sauce, sweet Thai chili sauce, or vinegar and soy dipping sauce

Instructions

  1. If needed, thaw 1 package frozen lumpia or spring roll wrappers in the refrigerator until you can separate the sheets, about 3 hours.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Finely chop 1 small yellow onion (about 3/4 cup) and 2 medium scallions (about 1/4 cup). Peel and grate 1 large carrot on the large holes of a box grater (about 3/4 cup). Grate 3 garlic cloves on the small holes of the box grater.

  3. Separate 1 large egg and add the yolk to the bowl of vegetables and the white to a small bowl. Add 3 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt (use 3 teaspoons for coarse kosher salt) and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 pounds ground pork and mix with your hands until very well combined.

  4. Remove the wrappers from the package and place on a work surface or plate. Cover with a damp paper towel to keep from drying out. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

  5. Place one wrapper on the work surface in a diamond shape (keep the remaining wrappers covered with the towel). Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling 3 inches from the bottom corner and form into a 5-inch long log. Fold the bottom corner up and over the filling, pulling the wrapper taut over the filling. Fold the left and right sides over the filling so the points meet at the center and crease the sides so it now looks like an envelope. Roll from the bottom up into a tight log, stopping when you get close to the top and you have a small triangle left. Dip a finger into the egg white and use it to dampen the triangle, then finish rolling all the way up (the egg white will help “glue” the wrapper together).

  6. Transfer the lumpia to the baking sheet seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling (they can be touching on the baking sheet). If making ahead, you can freeze the filled lumpia at this point.

  7. Heat 2 cups canola oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat until 330 to 350ºF. (If you don’t have a thermometer, gently dip one end of a lumpia in the oil: If it sizzles up right away, the oil is ready.) Meanwhile, line a second baking sheet with a rack and top the rack with a paper towel.

  8. Frying in batches of 7, add the lumpia to the hot oil and fry until the bottoms are deep golden brown, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Flip the lumpia and cook until the second side is deep golden brown and the filling is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the lumpia to the paper towels.

  9. Repeat frying the remaining lumpia, adding more oil to the pan as needed between batches. Let the lumpia cool for about 5 minutes before serving. You can serve them whole or cut them in half to serve a crowd. Enjoy with banana sauce or ketchup, vinegar and soy sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The filling can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. The lumpia can be also be assembled up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, or frozen solid and then stored in a ziptop bag for up to 2 months. Fry frozen lumpia directly from frozen for about the same amount of time.