27 Jul2006

Lumpiang Ubod

by Marketman


I was clearing out an old ancestral house of my parents a few months ago and came across these great shots of my mom with a platter of her “famous” lumpiang ubod (fresh spring rolls with heart of palm). I put them away and forgot about them until last week when my daughter’s homework was do a mom3family tree with photos. I pulled out my files and was able to reconstruct our family tree back five generations on my side and seven generations on my wife’s side. I found photos back five generations…not bad huh? Now that I think about it, there wasn’t a major party or meal at our home while I was growing up that didn’t have a Cebu lechon (roast suckling pig), some of my mom’s paella and a platter of freshly made lumpiang ubod. I wasn’t particularly fond of vegetables or gulay so this dish was low on my radar screen. However, once you drowned the lumpia in the sweet sauce and peanuts, it tasted pretty good to me. As I got older, I realized this was one of the few things that was in mom’s party and entertaining arsenal…she liked to putter in the kitchen but didn’t really cook serious meals that often…she more like directed or dictated to the troops. She made a very good lumpiang ubod in retrospect and I regret not learning it from her or getting her recipe…though I am sure my sister has it down pat from memory…since she makes a good one as well.

The photos are just stunning in that the lady is wearing a full blown terno (butterfly sleeved dress) complete with sash…geez, mom2she never served ME a lumpia dressed like that! It turns out that these were professionally taken snapshots for a multinational company’s magazine that had asked that she be featured in it with her recipe for lumpiang ubod. Can you imagine, my mother came out in a global edition of this magazine in the 1960’s for thousands of foreigners to read about? She was doing the blogging equivalent thing long before I was out of diapers! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a copy of the magazine so I never got to read the story or see her recipe in print.

So when I spied some some fresh ubod or heart of palm at the market a few weeks ago, I decided I would attempt to recreate one of the key dishes that anchored special meals at our home. I had never made this from scratch before, I tend to order it at restaurants instead. And if I recalled correctly, the dish seemed to have an odd or off or perhaps fishy flavor that I always wondered about. Here is my version of lumpiang ubod, with help from the recipes in books by Reynaldo Alejandro, Virginia Roces de Guzman and Nora Daza. First make some wrappers…I used to see my mom make these with relative ease and any time I have tried this in the past, I ended up with pancakes… At any rate, mix three whole eggs in a bowl with about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil with a whisk and add several pinches of salt. Dissolve 1 cup of cornstarch in 1.5 cups of water and pour that into the egg mixture while whisking. Heat up a non-stick pan and pour enough of the batter into the pan and swirl it with a flick of your wrist to make a wide circular thin lumpia wrapper. Turn it over to cook the other side and remove from the heat. You may burn a few fingertips getting this right but by about the 8th wrapper I was nailing it. Actually, I made two recipes of batter so I could keep at it until I was happy and just dumped the icky wrappers.

For the filling, take a heavy enamel pot and sweat about 1 kilo of pork fat, stirring constantly so that the fat doesn’t explode and at the end of say 15-20 minutes you will have golden brown mom5bits of fat and solids but a nice amount of pork lard in the pan. Remove the meat and fat bits and leave the lard. Chop up the crisped pork (should approximate a meaty chicharon). Shell about 1/2 kilo of medium sized prawns and remove the heads. Take the heads and shells and pound them in a mortar and pestle to extract the shrimp “liquor,” a heady fishy juice that I never knew formed the basis for the flavoring of this dish. Set this juice aside, discard the solids. Steam about 1 kilo of alimasag or blue crabs and extract the meat and set this aside. Back at the heavy casserole, heat up the lard, and sauté 1 chopped or minced white onion, about 8 cloves of minced garlic, chopped prawns, the crab, a kilo of julienned ubod and the shrimp juice. The smell that emanates from the pan will tell you if you are on the way to lumpiang ubod nirvana.

Stir and cook until the ubod is just right…not overcooked and mushy as most examples at restaurants seem to turn out. Season generously with patis (fish sauce), I also add salt if it tastes bland. Remove this mom4 from the stove and let it cool. Make sure you have clean lettuce leaves and some green onion for garnishing. Start assembling the lumpia by taking one wrapper, spooning some of the cooled ubod mixture on top of the lettuce and green onion in the center, sprinkling it with chopped fat (chicharon) and wrapping this all up. My mom used to individually wrap these in waxed paper so that they wouldn’t stick to each other on her serving platters. Guests would then have to take one from the buffet and remove the wax paper before they sauced it.

To make the sauce, take 2-3 large pieces of panocha (palm sugar) and 2 cups of water and boil this down while stirring and add about 1/3 cup of soy sauce. Taste and adjust panocha or soy sauce to get the mom6flavor that suits you. It should thicken up slightly as it reduces. Some folks just use brown sugar instead of panocha. Add a touch of cornstarch if the sauce proves to be too watery. Serve the lumpia and sauce and make sure you have some chopped peanuts and garlic for those that want to add these to the top of the lumpia. My first attempt turned out really well. I didn’t scrimp on the prawns, pork lard or the crab meat so it really was packed with flavor and good stuff…not fillers and extenders. I think I ate nearly half a dozen lumpia for lunch that day! My mom sent an invisible two thumbs up from her resting place in lumpia heaven… I am sure she will send me two thumbs down if she is mortified that I have “re-published” her 1960’s press photos…



  1. edee says:

    i love lumpia!!!…..grabe it’s nearly midnight here but i’m naglalaway na with your photos……..bad ka MM :)….now what shall i have for a midnight snack????

    your mom’s lovely, i don’t think she’ll mind you sharing with us her photo :)

    Jul 27, 2006 | 6:21 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    Even you missed out some of the procedures from your mom’s recipe, you cannot go wrong with rendered pork fat as your base, in addition to prawns, meat crabs and lettuce. The lumpiang ubod is a meal in itself plus the sweetened sauce, dessert can be eliminated. Thank you for your sharing one of your family’s treasured momentos.

    Jul 27, 2006 | 7:25 am

  4. millet says:

    that’s some mighty good-looking lumpia! i know most commercial versions omit the crabmeat and prawns and simply make do with a few pieces of shrimp – ground pork makes up the bulk of “sahog”. i think the tricky part about the wrappers is making them thin enough so that they don’t end up looking like crepes, and thick enough so they don’t end up looking like rags. but my family’s favorite lumpia story is when one of the guests in one of our family parties ate three pieces, one after the other, with waxed paper and all! that must have been some crunchy-chewy lumpia!

    Jul 27, 2006 | 7:43 am

  5. ichabod says:

    wow… your mom is beautiful…pic reminds me of sampaguita pictures….will try out recipe soon. thanks.

    Jul 27, 2006 | 9:32 am

  6. Jean says:

    Momma taught you well. :)

    Jul 27, 2006 | 9:34 am

  7. Lei says:

    I just wanna say that I am always ‘entranced’ by classic pictures. I kept scrolling up to look at the picture of your mom every now and then. Wow, that is one lovely picture!

    I can agree that cooking your own fresh lumpia wrapper may be cumbersome at the very first try but once you get the hang of it, you feel like one very expert lumpia wrapper maker.

    Jul 27, 2006 | 10:22 am

  8. Mila says:

    For your daughter’s class project, how about doing a side by side photo poster with your mom’s picture on one side and you (in a barong) and your platter of lumpia. Maybe your daughter can do some of the lumpia and dress up her in own version of the terno/saya.

    Jul 27, 2006 | 10:35 am

  9. MasPinaSarap says:

    It’s so precious to have photos like that! My mother told me a story once that when my grandmother was little back in the 40s she had her picture taken with a friend. Well when we went back a few years ago, the lady had unfortunately lost the picture. So these are definitely treasures :)

    Jul 27, 2006 | 10:48 am

  10. anonymous paul says:

    wrappers from scratch. i’m impressed. i really like lumpiang ubod. basically, i like all incarnations of lumpia (po-pia), fresh or fried. but ubod is up there on my fresh list. whereas nothing beats home-made, i particularly am fond of the lumpia you get in those brown cardboard boxes. the ones you usually find in parties and dont know where they came from; individually wrapped in plastic sheets and are like garlic bombs in the mouth. garlicy and slightly sweet. does anyone know what i’m talking about?

    Jul 27, 2006 | 11:34 am

  11. izang says:

    love these…thanks for the recipe…will definitely try it soon…..

    Jul 27, 2006 | 12:51 pm

  12. virgilio says:

    There’s a heatwave here in Europe (37 C forecast for Friday!!) so I can only think of Kaltes Essen (cold food)and fresh green salads. Fresh lumpia is a welcome treat so thanks for this tip although I can only get canned-ubods over here. I wonder how they would taste like.

    Oh, the sixties!! I love your mom’s photos.

    Jul 27, 2006 | 4:20 pm

  13. Gigi says:

    Anonymous Paul – I know what you’re talking about. It’s the Bacolod ubod lumpia. There’s a stall in Salcedo Market that sells those things — Johanna’s is the name. You can text in your orders. They have a branch in Shell Ayala going to Forbes. I’ll post the cell # when I get it this weekend. It’s quite mahal — sells for P20 for a piece that’s just a tad longer than Stabilo highlighter (Gosh. Such a dated visual peg!)! I love those! I get two and eat it for breakfast while I walk around Salcedo Market….

    Johanna’s has two variants na — garlicky and no-garlic. I like the super garlicky kind …

    Jul 27, 2006 | 4:34 pm

  14. lee says:

    to Gigi: It’s been years since I last heard someone use the term “visual peg.” Heard it from my production design teacher Don Escudero…

    I’ll try to see if there’s lumpia in the foodcourt… and buy a mint after

    Jul 27, 2006 | 4:54 pm

  15. 33 in Sydney says:

    Lovely photo of your mother. I think family photos become more meaningful when they are captured this way. Do you or someone in your family still have the gravy boat and platter?

    Jul 27, 2006 | 6:26 pm

  16. Mandy says:

    MM, i wonder if you have any of those ceramic/stoneware/plaster of paris “banana leaf” platter with the fake halved coconut stuck on the side of the fake leaf? for the lechon and the sauce (well, cebu lechon, no sauce tho). i just saw a couple this afternoon in greenhills and they are so kitchsy looking talaga!!

    lumpia, lechon, yummers!!! :) there’s this fried lumpia ubod we buy after church in alabang, hay so good!!

    Jul 28, 2006 | 12:38 am

  17. acmr says:

    Sarap ng lumpiang ubod!!! It might take me a looong while before I even attempt this. It still feels like its a really cumbersome dish to prepare. But it does look really good.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Jul 28, 2006 | 12:43 am

  18. mita says:

    MM, your mom is so lovely and fragile-looking!

    Jul 28, 2006 | 1:08 am

  19. smiles4angels says:

    Yummy!!!-=(“,)=- when our cravings for lumpiang hubad comes up and wihtout any knowledge of making the wrapper (thanks for posting) or any sources of the wrapper, we have concocted our version… Lumpiang Hubad. Don’t know though if other people does that, people I’ve talked to have said that they’ve never heard of that.

    Jul 28, 2006 | 6:18 am

  20. Gigi says:

    I love Lumpiang Hubad as well! It’s like ginisang lumpia filling well, that’s exposed…. It’s good stuff. Very South Beach friendly (minus the sweet sauce).

    Lee– Hi there! I’m in advertising and we say visual peg like all the time…… I was actually referring to Stabilo! Isn’t is such an 80s thing? (I still use one btw…)

    Jul 28, 2006 | 8:39 am

  21. Marketman says:

    Lumpiang hubad, is just literally naked lumpiang ubod, without the wrapper. acmr, the dish was pretty easy to make with the exception of the wrapper… 33 in Sydney, my parents stuff was shared by the siblings…plates et al from the 1940’s and onwards… some of them are featured on this blog. Virgilio, I have never tried canned ubod… Mila, egads, I just realized I don’t even own a single barong! The last one I had for a stint as a ninong at a wedding must have become a place mat…

    Jul 28, 2006 | 9:48 am

  22. anonymous paul says:

    gigi- i can now sleep with that question answered. muchas gracias.

    speaking of fried lumpiang ubod, i used to love the ones you get at Max’s (yes, the house that fried chicken built). but upon figuring out they fry it in the same oil they use for the chickens (which is animal fat, by the way) i stopped eating it. kaya pala masarap!

    Jul 28, 2006 | 10:58 am

  23. sister says:

    Mom’s lumpia was her signature dish. Your version sounds pretty good. Mom’s had sauteed pork, not cracklings, shrimp, ubod, garlic and onion and shrimp juice, salt and pepper only, no patis. Drain cooked filling and use drippings for the sauce. Cebu lumpia sauce was white, use only drippings, garlic, sugar, water and cornstarch, never soysauce and no peanuts.
    For wrapper whisk together 4 eggs, 2 1/4 c. cold water, 1 tsp. salt and 1 c. unsifted all-purpose flour. Refrigerate for an hour.
    Use two 8 in. teflon pans or two greased woks over medium heat and tilt pan to spread scant 1/4 c. batter, and invert them into the second pan to avoid burning your fingers as soon as the edges start to curl up. Cook 1 more minute and slide onto a plate. Place a narrow strip of wax paper in between wrappers to separate them.
    Lay green leaf lettuce and a thin scallion, fill and roll up, flolding one end to seal one side.

    Jul 28, 2006 | 11:28 am

  24. connie says:

    Wow! What a lovely picture!

    Lumpiang Ubod, another one of mom’s recipes that I didn’t quite learn. Like you, MM, I will have to ask my dear old sis for the recipe…..hehehe.

    Jul 28, 2006 | 12:21 pm

  25. pat santibanez says:

    Can I order some lumpiang ubod from you

    Jul 30, 2006 | 5:27 am

  26. Marketman says:

    Sorry Pat, I don’t sell anything… that’s why the recipe is posted… so you can try to make it yourself when you feel up to it.

    Jul 30, 2006 | 8:12 am

  27. Candsmd says:

    Aww…you’re mom looks very pretty.

    Jul 30, 2006 | 2:17 pm

  28. Christine says:

    MM, my sister made this today at the barbecue in her house. It was EXCELLENT! Everyone loved it! I just had another one now before going to bed (we took some home) and it’s almost midnight. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. :)

    Sep 17, 2006 | 11:32 pm

  29. Marketman says:

    Christine, glad it worked for you guys…

    Sep 18, 2006 | 9:45 pm

  30. vincute says:

    hindi pa ako nakakatikim niyan pero alam ko masarap yn! pahingi ako ha!

    Sep 24, 2006 | 12:44 pm

  31. delite says:

    this looks delish! i just stumbled upon this via my google alert for fresh hearts of palm which is my business in the U.S. my family owns a palm farm in Costa Rica. i have never heard of ubod however, and wonder if our palm taste similar to the coconut palm i would expect that it does. i am from florida, and grew up eating swamp cabbage which comes from the sabal palm and is cooked down with salt pork or bacon. i am excited to try this recipe, and will let you know how it turns out with our palm.

    Jun 15, 2007 | 10:29 pm

  32. Mary-Ann Evangelista says:

    Yummy! nakakatakaw naman! I remember sa Bicol ang sarap nilang gumawa ng lumpiang ubod. When I was young I thought they got the ubod gulay from the trunk of banana tree. then, they said it’s from the coconut tree.

    Jul 2, 2007 | 2:03 pm

  33. Bettina says:

    Hello. Yum! Would you have the recipe without any meat?? Thanks

    Jul 5, 2007 | 1:13 pm

  34. Marketman says:

    Bettina, without meat is a tough one on this recipe. The ubod steeps in pork lard for flavor, plus pork bits. I suppose you could use vegetable oil and shrimps only but that might dramatically change the taste…

    Jul 5, 2007 | 2:06 pm

  35. TJ says:

    Lumpiang ubod is very delicious…..i love it very much….. but i only ate it once a year because we do not no how to cook it…we only ordered it but it’s o.k at least i tasted it….(:

    Jul 17, 2007 | 5:33 pm

  36. John says:

    Nuon pa favorite ko na and lumpiang ubod uhmmm!,i dont know pero there’s something about the food that makes you wonder while you were eating,kaya nga lagi akong hingi ng ubod tuwing may itutumbang puno dito sa malapit samin sa Laguna masarap talaga!!!

    Aug 21, 2007 | 7:35 pm

  37. marielle says:

    i really love lumpia,.,kahit ano basta lumpia!!kakainin ko talaga..uhmmmmmm..your mom looks pretty huh,.,can i have her photo??share mo naman sakin.,.

    Oct 25, 2007 | 12:19 pm

  38. shang says:

    me and my husband are fond of eating fresh lumpiang ubod lalo na kung ang may gawa ay si johanna, we used to order from her during christmas, birthdays, pang regalo, or kahit walang okasyon kaya lang the problem now is nawala yung mobile number nya sa amin, grabe talagang masarap….ibang klase yung lumpiang ubod ni johanna’s kse nandun yung sauce sa loob ng wrapper and its not messy to eat,we even went to different food bazaars, tianges but sad to say wala talaga sya. so anyone there who can help us find her we will highly appreciate it very much. thank you.

    Nov 19, 2007 | 10:02 pm

  39. Lady Madonna says:

    I don’t think I can get ubod here from where I live in Ohio,USA. Is there perhaps an equivalent of this veggie that you can recommend?

    Jan 15, 2008 | 10:50 pm

  40. Marketman says:

    Lady Madonna, they sometimes sell canned hearts of palm, maybe that would work??

    Jan 16, 2008 | 12:59 pm

  41. RR Flordia says:

    hello po diyan sa inyo. Miss ko kumain ng fresh lumpia na may ubod. anyone pls send me a recipe pls.

    Mar 29, 2008 | 5:08 am

  42. Belle says:

    Add baking powder to harden it.

    Apr 9, 2008 | 5:37 am

  43. Farida says:

    Hi MM, I have been looking for a recipe for fresh lumpia. Finally you did one. I have found a recipe for crepes which worked well with the fresh lumpia I made but I will try to make your recipe with the canned ubod. I remember how my Mom made it too. She did a very good one, bless her soul.
    Thank you.

    Apr 4, 2009 | 8:57 am


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