Red Cabbage Lumpia

A testament to tastiness: we devoured more than half of them before I remembered to take a picture.

The best part of growing up in multicultural family is the exposure to so much delicious food.  Family holidays always include the classic American roast turkey or ham, but are never complete without my mom’s “egg rolls.”  Mom would make dozens – sometimes even hundreds – of lumpia depending on the size of the gathering. 50 for an intimate Easter. 100 for a large family Christmas. 200 for my little sister’s high school graduation. Regardless of how many she made, they would all disappear and the crowd would clamor for more.

To recreate the experience, Raphe and I had a few folks over to taste test a traditional non-traditional Easter menu

  • Hamonada (pineapple braised pork)
  • Rice
  • Vegetable lumpia (spring rolls)
  • Super-experimental sweet potato fritters (inspired by ukoy)

The lumpia, as usual, stole the show.  We decided to keep them vegetable only to balance out the large hunk of meat sitting in the oven.  My mom’s lumpia (Filipino fried spring rolls) are filled with seasoned ground beef, garlic and (usually) vegetables. Occasionally, she’ll make all-meat lumpia. For some reason, I embraced an all vegetable version when I started experimenting in my own kitchen.   This does not, however, mean that they are vegetarian. I slipped in a little fish sauce and bacon grease to round out the flavor.

American influence or no, this is Filipino food we’re talking about.

Ready to go into the fryer


  1. My mom’s secret is to skip all the chopping and just use a bag of pre-mixed, pre-washed cole slaw mix.  In the Kensington Kitchen we go for the cheaper but more time-consuming route, especially since we have a kitchen full of sous chefs.  If you’re looking to save 20 minutes of your life, though, go for the cole slaw.
  2.  I (Marni) have an irrational fear of deep frying, so I make Raphe do it.  Even if you’re brave, please wear an apron.  To avoid the spattering oil all together, you can also just put them under the broiler (instructions below) if you make sure to watch them carefully.  Unlike me.
  3. Some of the pictures here were taken when we made meat lumpia a few weeks ago, but the process is the same.

Vegetable Lumpia
Makes 25 lumpia

Ingredients Local sources
1 package of 25 frozen spring roll wrappers Eastern Fruit and Vegetable
1/2 red cabbage Eastern Fruits and Vegetables
1 large carrot, shredded Eastern Fruits and Vegetables
3 stalks celery, julienne All Asian (Himalayan) Grocery
1 T minced garlic C-town
Olive oil ShopRite
2-3 splashes fish sauce (be conservative if you’re new to fish sauce – it’s potent) New York Mart on Avenue U
Twice around the pan with soy sauce New York Mart on Avenue U
salt and pepper to taste
Dipping Sauce (identical to Spam musubi marinade)
1/4 c. soy sauce New York Mart on Avenue U
1/4 c. vinegar C-town
1/4 c. brown, raw or palm sugar C-town
1. Prep

Vegetables should all be shredded or julienne sliced

  • Set spring roll wrappers out to thaw.
  • Chop/shred vegetables
2. Make filling

Celery, carrots and red cabbage look so nice together

  • Saute garlic in olive oil until fragrant.
  • Add cabbage, celery and carrots. Season with fish sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cook ~10minutes.
  • Set aside until cool enough to handle with fingers.
3. Roll
Set up your rolling station: We use three dinner plates: one to hold unused spring roll wrappers, one to hold finished spring rolls and one for rolling the spring rolls. Have a small bowl of water ready to seal the rolls.

A. Use about 2Tb of filling per spring rolls

Spread about two tablespoons of filling along a diagonal on a wrapper

B. Fold bottom corner up.

Fold over one corner and begin rolling tightly. A loosely wrapped roll will fall apart in the skillet.

C. Fold over one side

Fold over one side corner…

D. Fold over second side corner

…then the other.

E. Tightly roll to the end of the last corner

Roll tightly to the end of the wrapper.  Rolling tightly is the key here.

F. Seal roll with water

Seal with a little water.

G. Finished roll should look like a little cigar

Finished roll should look like a little cigar. Repeat until all wrappers are used.  Leftover filling can be eaten over rice
4. Fry or Broil

Fry the spring rolls

  • Cover a deep skillet with at least a quarter inch of oil (we use olive oil, my mom uses corn or canola oil).  Heat oil.
  • When the oil’s hot enough to pop when water is splashed on it, add the first batch of spring rolls.
  • Fry until golden brown.  Alternately, coat the rolls in olive oil and place under broiler for 5 minutes.  Flip and broil for another 5 minutes. Set a timer or you’ll end up with blackened (cajun?) spring rolls.
  • Set on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
5. Serve with homemade dipping sauce or sweet and sour sauce.
  • Combine soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a boil and heat in the microwave 30 sec.  Stir.

7 responses

  1. Pingback: Fil-Am Pulled Hamonada Sliders | Kensington Kitchen

  2. Pingback: 2011 in the Kensington Kitchen | Kensington Kitchen

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