05 Oct2006


Here is my latest culinary obsession…how to make the thinnest lumpia ubod (heart of palm spring rolls)wrappers. I have featured a lumpia ubod recipe before, using an easier, and frankly, more lum2commonly used recipe for the wrappers that includes egg and results in a crepe-like wrapper for an already super rich filling. I am intrigued by a near translucent and very light wrapper that simply facilitates the raising of the ubod filling to your mouth, most likely made with only flour and water…it should practically melt away from the heat of your mouth and you experience the ubod filling as though its clothing has vanished in between… I kid you not, this matters to me to get this right…

The lumpia pictured here are “leftovers” from a friend’s large family reunion. The kitchens that created this lumpia are amongst lum4 the most “classic” in the country, in my opinion…very old school, if you know what I mean. But I can say that their lumpia ubod are some the finest I have EVER tasted. The freshest ubod (heart of palm), probably cut from their own groves just hours before, is cooked with just right mix of flavorful lard, pork, shrimp, spices, etc. It is served with perfectly fried chicharon or pork rind that is cut up into small pieces and can be added to the ubod before it is wrapped up. Together with some green onions and the light sauce filled with garlic…this is a dish that is hard to forget. Even the “leftovers” or “overruns” are brilliant.

But while I am fairly confident I can replicate the ubod filling, it is the translucent wrapper that has me totally intrigued at the moment. From what lum3I understand, this is made by mixing flour and water, kneading the dough and somehow cooking the dough on a medium hot kawali and only peeling off the very thin cooked layer of dough… Almost like a skin from the dough, these circles are enough to hold the filling but don’t add an overlay of rich egg crepe on top of the rich filling. I tried to replicate the wrapper as described and failed miserably. I have also made wrappers with corn starch, water, egg, flour, etc. and all have been thicker, doughier, more eggy than I am attempting to perfect. I suppose other variations are using rice or other flours, and different methods of cooking the wrapper. I will keep at this over the next few months but any suggestions from readers would be greatly appreciated! And please, don’t send any patented versions as I intend to post my final wrapper recipe if I can figure one out. Most of the published recipes I have found include eggs which I do not want in the thin wrapper…



  1. wil-b cariaga says:

    before when I was in Vigan we had a neighbor whose business is selling lumpia wrapper, and I see them just like playing the dough on just one hand then quickly stamping a thin layer in a big flat hot pan. . . but this is the common ones you see in the markets, the yellow ones. . . the one in your pictures MM look really good and really thin, I have never encountered this kind but it really is beautiful. . .

    Oct 5, 2006 | 6:44 am


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  3. Hchie says:

    Looking forward to that wrapper recipe so I don’t get stuck with the old dry ones they sell in the stores.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 6:47 am

  4. gonzo says:

    hmm, to me what you’re trying to achieve sounds pretty close to the ultra thin moroccan pastry called warka (or warqa, or ouarka), so maybe you can look into recipes of that, and i guess use a crepe pan, or a shallow cast iron pan inverted.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 6:50 am

  5. Maria Clara says:

    Regrettably, I do not have an input on this lumpia wrapper nirvana. I, for one am awaiting the birth of your ultra thin lumpia wrapper that I assure will be out of this world. Hoping the conception will be soon.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 7:25 am

  6. Marketman says:

    This quest could take a while… I think I need to apprentice in the province…

    Oct 5, 2006 | 7:44 am

  7. angela says:

    marketman, would it be improper to just ask your family friend for the recipe? and maybe you can ask for a demo, too. i’m sure they won’t mind as true foodies bask in sharing :)

    Oct 5, 2006 | 7:57 am

  8. Naz says:

    I am sure you will get the process right. We will patiently wait!

    Oct 5, 2006 | 8:06 am

  9. Marketman says:

    angela, I could ask I suppose but they only gear up to make the wrappers once in a while…several male (yes gender specified) cooks work the heavy pans to make the wrappers for large gatherings… I will try to get it on my own first but if that fails will ask…after all, I publish my recipes for all to see and use…some folks may not want to be as public as that…

    Oct 5, 2006 | 8:30 am

  10. Maricel says:

    MM, try adding a little cornstarch to the flour-water mixture because I find that adding a little cornstarch to a crepe recipe helps in strengthening the batter thus preventing tears.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 8:36 am

  11. Crissy says:

    Will look forward to your next lumpia ubod wrapper story. When we make fresh lumpia at home, it’s the very eggy crepe-like wrapper. I have yet to try the thin one, but my Dad thinks it’s better to buy since it’s more consistent.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 8:51 am

  12. Bubut says:

    in guadalupe, everytime i pass along that way, there is a man who cooks lumpia wrapper that is being sold in the market. I’ll try to ask him if he would give the ingridients in making the lumpia wrapper. i find it very entertaining as if he is just playing the dough.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 11:40 am

  13. Dodi says:

    Hi MM! At the Kamuning market in Quezon City, there are two or three stores with several guys making and selling these very thin lumpia wrappers, much like the one you have in the picture. Hehehehe, maybe you can apprentice with them. Sorry, I never really stayed that long to watch them make it but they really do it fast.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 12:36 pm

  14. honey says:

    MM, i once saw this guy in the wet market making lumpia wrappers. he gathers a fistful of dough and rolls it lightly over a hot flat metal surface. after a few seconds, the wrapper is ready to be peeled off the pan. i’ve also tried making fresh lumpia wrappers and it’s a lot like making pancakes, only the wrappers are thinner. i lifted the recipe i think from nora daza’s cookbook

    Oct 5, 2006 | 1:28 pm

  15. tulip says:

    Marketman, I have seen my grandma make thin lumpia wrappers but she doesnt form it into a dough. She doesnt knead the mixture. It is just a mixture of flour, water and some salt if Im not mistaken, then she brushes some of the batter on a hot cast iron. She brushes it a few times to even it out.

    My mom also told me that lumpia wrappers can be made by steaming and that either cornstarch or flour can be use. I have asked her about it before but I am not so sure if my memory serves me right. On a steamer a non stick pan or plate is placed on top of the first layer, just above the pan where the boiling water is. Pour an even amount of the batter on the plate/pan according to the thickness you like.

    Good luck to your current culinary adventure of making thin lumpia wrappers!!

    Oct 5, 2006 | 4:35 pm

  16. ems says:

    Hi MM, I found the recipe below in an old vietnamese cookbook. I remember trying it only once (I think I was still in college) because it needs a lot of patience and my family actually like the ones with eggs for their lumpia wrapper. Not sure if this is what you’re looking for though.

    – 1 cup rice flour, 3 cups water and pinch of salt, mixed together to form a batter
    – you’ll need a steamer with 2/3 full of water, cheesecloth (doubled and stretched tightly over the top of the steamer and secured with string)
    – when the water begins to boil, brush the surface of the cheesecloth with oil and the pour a small ladel of the batter, spreading it in a circular motion
    – leave for about 3 to 4 minutes or until done
    remove the rice wrapper with a spatula, carefully lifting the corners
    – set the wrapper on a smooth surface and line with wax paper (to keep the wrappers from sticking to each other)
    – repeat until all the batter is used

    Oct 5, 2006 | 5:05 pm

  17. Ann says:

    MM, i am also in search of a thin lumpia wrapper recipe for several years now, i’ll patiently wait, too.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 5:27 pm

  18. Pecorino says:

    MM, would you care to try the Vietnamese rice paper wrappers? They’re pretty thin and tasteless, plus you just need to buy them, soak them in water, and they’re ready to use.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 7:08 pm

  19. Jean says:

    MM, I too am intrigued as to how they make those wrappers so thin like transparent skin, much like the Vietnamese lumpia. I make my wrappers with cornstarch and eggs. Looking forward to your next post. BTW, I’m happy to have a ‘kailian’ (townmate) here, Wil-b cariaga.

    Oct 5, 2006 | 9:08 pm

  20. elna says:

    I do make fresh lumpia once every couple of months as hubby (an English man) loves it so much. Being in London, there’s an availability of Vietnamese, Chinese and all kinds of spring roll wrappers and I’ve tried them all but wasn’t very happy with any of it. So I tried making my own from scratch but it’s the rice flour, corn starch mixture with eggs. I once omitted eggs to see if they’re gonna be thinner but still came out crepe like wrappers. Anyway, I can’t wait for your recipe MM!

    Oct 5, 2006 | 10:23 pm

  21. Sandra says:

    I can eat lumpia ubod, Ilonggo style, every day! Ka namit.
    Since we do not have ubod in New York, singkamas (jicama) is a good substitute.

    Oct 6, 2006 | 6:08 am

  22. shane says:

    here’s a recipe for the wrappers i have yet to perfect. got this recipe from this site: http://chilemasters.tripod.com/lumpia1.html

    Recipe for Lumpia Wrappers

    1 cup rice flour
    1 cup water

    Mix the flour and water together and blend well to form a smooth batter. Grease a clean
    griddle or frying pan very lightly. (The best way to do this is to use a piece of clean
    cloth or paper lightly moistened with oil and wipe the surface of the pan). Using a paint
    brush, paint batter thinly over the griddle or pan, working quickly. Remove the wrapper
    with a pan cake turner as batter dries.

    Oct 6, 2006 | 7:40 am

  23. rina says:

    MM, i go by the brushing method as this really achieves the thin quality of the wrapper, perhaps using a fine silicone brush?

    Oct 6, 2006 | 7:55 am

  24. mita says:

    mmm…that could be the rice flour and water recipe judging by the color. a brush sounds like a good idea to try.

    Oct 6, 2006 | 4:05 pm

  25. linda says:

    I’ll be waiting patiently for this recipe.

    Oct 6, 2006 | 8:57 pm

  26. ginny says:

    Hi MM, I can’t wait also! I have tried your heavenly lumpia recipe. Using the right amount of filling in such a transluscent wrapper will truly be a melt-in your-mouth experience, Exciting. It’s my ultimate comfort food. Good luck…confident you will hit the nail in the head.

    Oct 6, 2006 | 10:56 pm

  27. Ria says:

    I thought about rice flour when I saw the picture, and it seems most had the same idea too. Peotraco is marketing packed rice flour (ordinary and glutinous). The ordinary is around 23 pesos per kilo. FYI.

    Oct 9, 2006 | 3:56 pm

  28. Amora says:

    I actually know someone who makes them wrappers right in the heart of the Blumentritt market in Manila. It’s very hard to do. To me, I see it as an art form, since you have to press the dough in a certain motion. Lood Luck!

    Oct 13, 2006 | 12:25 pm

  29. vida mishielle says:

    My family is making lumpia wrappers.Its a mixture of 1 cup of flour and 3 cups of water 1tsp of salt to have some taste.This batter will result like a pan cake mix,not watery and not too sticky.You will need a non stick pan dont put any oil.We use the back of soup laddle to flatten and spead the batter very thinly and its ready to sell in palengke.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 12:46 pm

  30. Marketman says:

    vida, thank you, thank you for that description, I will try that version, I have almost given up hope on doing this right… maraming salamat!!! :)

    Aug 3, 2007 | 1:13 pm

  31. dollybee says:

    that wrapper seems like made from Rice Flour instead.. i think u can buy the dried one and just soak it n the water.

    Mar 31, 2008 | 12:39 am

  32. carmen says:

    I have tasted the lumpia wrapper that you mention. In Silay City Neg. Occidental, They make lumpia ubod with very thin wrapper that asctually melts as you describe. It’s amazing how the wrapper doesn’t tear up that easily, unlike most commercially made flour and egg wrappers. I have been wanting to learn how to make this kind of wrapper. Eagerly awaiting your tried and tested recipe.

    Mar 31, 2008 | 7:44 am

  33. Belle says:

    Hey, maybe you just need to mix: flour, egg, some salt, and baking powder just to make it harder and not easily tear. :P

    Apr 6, 2008 | 4:07 am

  34. Dulce Garcia says:

    Thank you all for sharing. Vida thank you much for sharing your family recipe. Appreciate it much. I will try to do it. Thanks again.

    Apr 19, 2008 | 6:40 am

  35. Belle says:

    I actually tried using the Vietnamese Rice Paper Wrapper that was suggested above…. wow… my family loved it. I can’t wait to make it again. It’s so easy, you just soak each wrapper for 5-10 seconds, and put fresh lettuce and the prefered filling inside… it was so good. I was surprised. My Mother in-law didn’t want to try it because she’s old fashioned. She thought it was real paper, but the ingredient was actually rice and it tasted better than the raw egg roll wrapper. You should try it and let me know what you think. :P

    Apr 20, 2008 | 2:37 am

  36. Marketman says:

    Belle, i Have used vietnamese rice paper several times, but with more vietnamese fillings such as prawns, cilantro, other herbs, lettuce, bean sprouts, etc. I like those fresh spring rolls a lot. But I have never tried them with our lumpia filling.

    Apr 20, 2008 | 8:19 am

  37. Belle says:

    You should try it sometimes, I didn’t think it would taste good either, but I failed in making the fresh lumpia wrapper. Since the filling was already cooked, I had to do something with it. I found some vietnamese wrappers…. and yummy it was good. :P

    Apr 27, 2008 | 4:27 am

  38. JEN says:


    Aug 23, 2008 | 2:22 pm

  39. fely d. cagara says:

    I am new in terms of cooking. I want to really learn a lot. May I ask what kind of flour do you usually use in making the wrapper? Is it cake flour or all purpose flour?

    Oct 8, 2008 | 4:31 pm

  40. Marketman says:

    fely, all purpose flour.

    Oct 9, 2008 | 2:08 pm

  41. belle says:

    have you come up with the right recipe for the very thin fresh lumpia wrappers yet?

    Jan 8, 2009 | 11:31 am

  42. Marketman says:

    belle, nope. And for now it is a dead quest. :(

    Jan 8, 2009 | 11:59 am

  43. maggie says:

    I had philipine friend she use rice flour little tapioca flour water and only white egg.Please try and let me know great notice
    Sorry my english is terrible…..my language is spanish

    good luck!

    Apr 25, 2009 | 6:10 pm


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