Vegetarian Spring Rolls (Lumpia) with Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce

How many times have you looked in the fridge at the end of the week of cooking and couldn’t find a lot of any one thing left but a little bit of a lot of veggies like a half a head of red (or green cabbage), half a bell pepper, one small carrot, a couple of green beans, a couple cups of sprouts, or one green onion.  Most often folks will think to make a soup or a salad, well, spring rolls or “lumpia”, a Filipino term, is another great way to use up all of those little bits of everything to make something crazy delicious.

Preparation Time: 45 minutes total (15 min to cut veggies; 30 to roll lumpia (each one will take less time than the previous as you get better at it)).  Plus at least 4 hours or overnight for the veggies (see below for explanation)

Cooking (Frying) Time:  4 minutes

Yields:  50 lumpia rolls

Note:  You can usually find spring roll or lumpia wrappers in the frozen section of most Asian grocery stores.  They come 25 to a package.  Make 25 to have for dinner and freeze the other 25 for later.  The finished lumpia freeze really well and can go directly into the fryer frozen.

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Ingredients:

Spring rolls (lumpia)

  • 50 lumpia wrappers (2 packs of 25 wrappers)
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
    • Can also use green cabbage, bok choy, kina savoy, kale, collard greens
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup ripe red poblano peppers strips (julienne – approximately 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch by 2 inch sticks)
    • Can also use bell peppers, sweet peppers, Italian or Cubanelle peppers.
    • If you like it really spicy add jalapeno peppers
  • 2 cups sunflower shoots
  • 1/2 cup carrot julienned
  • 1/2 cup green beans, sliced
  • 1/2 cup culantro (top left in herbs photo below)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (top right)
  • 1/2 cup mint (bottom right)
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil (bottom left)
  • 1/4 cup ginger minced (optional, bottom center)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced (optional, bottom center)
  • 1 tsp corn starch (to be used in rolling the lumpia wrappers)
  • 1/2 cup of water  (to be used in rolling the lumpia wrappers)
  • Sweet and sour dipping sauce
    • 1 cup sweet pepper glaze
    • 1/4 cup organic rice vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp corn starch

Preparation:

Lumpia wrappers

  • The wrappers will come frozen from the Asian grocery store so place these in the fridge to thaw overnight.

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Veggie Filling:

  • Wash the red cabbage, remove any discolored leaves, thinly slice; place in a medium to large bowl.
  • Wash the scallions, remove any discolored leaves, cut off the root end, thinly slice; add to bowl.
  • Wash the red/green poblano peppers, julienne; add to bowl.
  • Wash the sunflower sprouts really well, remove any discolored leaves or roots; add to bowl.
  • Wash and peel the carrot, julienne; add to bowl.
  • Wash the green beans, remove any discolored parts, cut off both ends, slice on the diagonal; add to bowl.
  • Add a couple of sprinkles of kosher salt, mix well, cover with plastic wrap, place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
    • This step will remove excess moisture from the veggies and soften them a bit.  Not doing this step may result in a lot of punctured lumpia wrappers.

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Herbs:

  • Prep the herbs after you have allowed the veggies to soften a bit in the fridge (see step above) and when you’re ready to begin rolling the lumpia.
  • Wash the herbs really well, drain, wash again, drain, pick the leaves off of the stems, give them a rough chop; add to the bowl of softened veggies, mix well.
  • Your filling is now ready!

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Rolling the lumpia:

  • In a small bowl add 1 tsp of corn starch to 1/2 cup of cold water, mix well.
  • Refer to photos below starting with top left then going clockwise.
  • Remove the lumpia wrappers from its package, lay on a cutting board and cover with a damp paper towel.
  • Remove one wrapper and place it on the cutting board with one of the corners close to you.
  • Place one tablespoon of the filling just below the center of the wrapper.
  • Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper over the filling and lightly press toward you.
  • Roll twice.
  • Fold the one side over the partially rolled lumpia.
  • Fold the other side in the same manner.
  • Using a small basting brush, spoon, or your thumb, dip it into the cornstarch water mix and lightly wet the unfolded portion.
  • Complete rolling the lumpia.
    • The corn starch water mixture will act as a “glue” to keep the wrapper from separating.
  • Place on a baking sheet.
  • Repeat until the baking sheet is full.
  • Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  • Remove the partially frozen lumpia and place in a sealable plastic bag; place the bag in the freezer until ready to use.

Cooking:

  • Add enough vegetable into a frying pan to about 1 inch deep.
  • Heat on medium-high to 350F.  Your oil is ready to use.
  • Carefully and slowly add one lumpia at a time to the hot oil.
  • Fry on one side for 1 to 2 minutes then the other for another minute or two; the rule of thumb is “Golden Brown and Delicious”.
  • Place the cooked lumpia on a tray lined with paper towels to wick away excess oil.
  • Serve immediately with a cup of hot green tea, and sweet and sour pepper, sambal oelek, and ponzu sauces!

Enjoy!

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