Often when we have parties or large family events, we plan the menu by thinking of the main course first. Side dishes are a second thought but one thing is certain, you will always find Fresh Vegetable Lumpia with homemade wrappers at almost every Filipino event.
In my case, the Fresh Vegetable Lumpia is my favorite way to cook vegetables and I have it as my main course when the “handa” (big feast) is overwhelming.
One of our favorite lumpias has always been the Ube Fresh Lumpia at Cendrillon Restaurant in SoHo which for years my sons enjoyed. When owners Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan moved their restaurant to Brooklyn and renamed it Purple Yam, my sons and I were delighted the ube-wrapped lumpia was a mainstay on the menu.
Back here in New Jersey, craving for ube lumpia wrappers, my son Constante took matters in his own hands and made these when he drove home from Philadelphia last Thanksgiving. He took one look at the large platter of ‘Lumpiang Hubad’ (No-Wrap Lumpia Vegetables) I cooked and declared he was going to cook the wrappers.
It was a last-minute decision for my son to cook ube lumpia wrappers so in place of the ube flour or boiled ube I often have on standby, we used ube liquid flavoring. The smooth, crepe-like, purple wrappers gave the julienne strips of vegetables an elegant, marvelous look. We tied each wrapper with an improvised ‘string’ of green scallions which made the pretty vegetable roll stand out next to the turkey, the ham and the other dishes. When we sliced each Ube-wrapped Fresh Lumpia, I couldn’t help but notice that the sweet, fragrant ube wrappers were a great contrast to the savory vegetables and the garlicky “paalat” sauce with crunchy peanuts.
In less than two weeks it will be Christmas and you can include this Ube Fresh Lumpia on your menu. Many of you are preparing your holiday dishes for Noche Buena on Christmas Eve and for family celebrations on Christmas Day. I can envision how many Filipinos in communities around the USA and in the Philippines itself will celebrate the 9-day dawn masses known as “misa de gallo” while enjoying sumptuous servings of rich, buttery bibingkas (rice cakes), ensaimadas (brioche) and puto bumbong (purple rice logs with coconut) for breakfast. These are the rituals that define our Filipino Christmas.
Traditions and rituals are the language of the soul. It is the holiday traditions, the things we do routinely during Christmas…these are the tiny, solitary blessings that connects us with our Filipino community, whether they are near or far away. It is those traditions that we hang on to, as a reminder of who we are. These are the traditions that nourish our spirit during the holidays.
Ube-Wrapped Fresh Vegetable Lumpia
- 3/4 cup cornstarch or tapioca starch for wrapper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for wrapper
- 1 teaspoon salt for wrapper
- 1 1/2 cups water for wrapper
- 5 whole large eggs for wrapper
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Ube Liquid Flavoring for wrapper (from Asian markets or online sources)
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 whole onion chopped
- 2 to 3 stalks celery chopped, about 1 cup
- 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
- 1/4 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound fresh shrimps peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 2 whole potatoes peeled, sliced julienne strips in 2-inch length
- 1 cup chickpeas or garbanzos canned; drain liquid
- 1 whole carrot peeled,sliced julienne strips in 2-inch length
- 1 cup sliced jicama sliced in 2-inch length julienne strips; Filipino singkamas
- 1 cup sliced green beans stems trimmed, cut in 2-inch length pieces
- 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 stalks scallions chopped for filling
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar for sauce granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce for sauce
- 2 cups organic chicken broth for sauce
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca starch for sauce
- 1/4 cup water for sauce
- 1/2 cup crushed garlic salted peanuts for topping in filling
- 2 Tablespoons fried garlic bits for topping in filling
- 12 to 14 pieces fresh lettuce leaves for filling
- 12 to 14 strips scallion greens cut in vertical strips; to tie the lumpia
- To make the ube lumpia wrappers: In a medium-sized bowl, using a whisk mix by hand the cornstarch, flour, eggs, liquid ube flavoring and salt. Blend ingredients till smooth.
- Spread a light film of cooking spray into a medium-sized non-stick skillet. Over medium heat, pour 1/3 cup of the ube wrapper liquid in the center. Tilt the pan around so the ube liquid spreads flat all around, in a circle. You need to have a 1/8-inch thick wrapper that looks like a thin crepe. The wrapper will firm up and cook in about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not turn over. When completely cooked and there are no liquid parts in the wrapper, remove from the skillet using a large, wide turner. Repeat the process for cooking every lumpia wrapper. Stack the cooked wrappers on a large plate, with wax or parchment paper between each wrapper -- so they do not stick to one another. When done cooking the wrappers, set aside.
- To cook the vegetable filling: In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. Saute the garlic, onions, celery. Add the ‘patis’ or fish sauce, and ½ cup of broth.
- When onions and celery are soft, add the potatoes. Cook till they get soft in about 8 minutes. The potatoes tend to absorb the liquids, so lower heat to medium low.
- Add the chickpeas, carrots and jicama. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the green beans. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with crushed garlic peanuts. Set the filling aside.
- To wrap the lumpia: place one wrapper on a dry, flat surface. Place one lettuce leaf in the center of the wrapper. Spread 2 tablespoons of vegetable filling in a long strip on the lettuce. Take the lumpia wrapper with your fingers and wrap it like a burrito, starting at the point nearest you, and rolling away from you. Tie with a strip of scallion (green part) if desired.
- To make the paalat sauce: 1. Prepare and cook the lumpia sauce or "paalat". Mix the sugar and the soy sauce in a small bowl. Blend this well with the broth and salt. Put this mixture in a small saucepan, over medium heat.2. Allow the sauce to boil. Separately, mix the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Once the broth mixture boils, pour the cornstarch+ water mixture, stirring constantly while doing this. The sauce will get thicker.3. Season with salt. Remove from fire and set aside till ready to serve.4. Garnish top of sauce with crisp fried garlic bits.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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