An Experimental Lumpia a la Marketman


I was reading the very interesting comments in this old fried lumpia post, and had a hankering for fried lumpia. With the unusual purple kamote or sweet potatoes on hand, I decided to try a fried lumpia version with julienned kamote as part of the filling. I also decided to hit “two birds with one stone” and simultaneously experiment with single and double frying, which bettyq, and others pointed to as a must for firm, crisp lumpia. Here are the findings… :)


The fleeting nature of crisp vegetable lumpia is ONE THING I would like to fix, before I ever wrote THE RECIPE for lumpia a la Marketman. A few minutes after frying and sitting on a serving platter, our vegetable lumpia goes limp, for the lack of a better word on the bottom side of the wrapper. The moisture from the vegetables within makes the crisp wrapper soggy. This is less of an issue with meat filled lumpia, where there is less moisture. At any rate, here’s what I did.


In a large wok I put over high heat, I added a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil, added in a cup of chopped up leftover pork belly, and sauteed for a few seconds. Next, I added in the sliced white onions and the kamote, which I figured needed the most time to cook and soften. Toss vigorously like a Chinese Chef on moderate amounts of crack.


Add in the carrots and marvel for the color combination for a second or two…


…add in the french beans sliced on the diagonal, cabbage, bean sprouts and keep tossing vigorously. Season with some patis (fish sauce) and/or light soy sauce and cracked black pepper if desired. Taste the veggies, they should not be bland.


Drain the veggies in a colander to remove excess liquid (which you can turn into a dipping sauce if you like) and let this mixture cool. Some Chinese recipes suggest you chill this in the fridge before using. I can’t imagine that is an old, old trick. Perhaps more likely the frigid winterish conditions in some parts of china meant the filling would chill on a kitchen countertop rather quickly…


I used square lumpia wrappers, a little thicker than the round versions that are nearly see-through. These are wheat flour wrappers, not rice flour. Place a few tablespoons of cooled filling on one corner of the wrapper, roll it up carefully, tucking in the sides, and seal the end corner with some brushed egg white. These three pieces were fried in low temperature oil for a “first fry” that was meant to remove even more moisture and set this up for a second high heat frying just before eating. These were set aside to cool slightly.


The rolls were fried a second time in hot oil and they yielded the lumpia on the right in the photo above. Freshly made lumpia fried ONLY ONCE appear on the left side of the photo above. My conclusion? Forget the double frying for vegetable lumpia. The filling is so filled with moisture from the vegetables that the first frying doesn’t seem to accomplish anything other than adding oil to the finished product. This is a method perhaps better suited to meat fillings, which will cook through and lose moisture in a preliminary fry followed by a second bath in very hot oil. If you notice from the photo above the single fry lumpia have a nicer more consistent golden color, and they tasted better. I might try the ngohiong trick of dipping the lumpia in a cornstarch slurry before frying the next time. As for the taste of these lumpia, pretty much a supreme fail. :) Just when I thought I was having a long streak of delectable experiments… this filling was heavier, less tasty, less fresh, less appealing than I had expected. The purple kamote was a downer in this dish, and the incredible purple pigment rendered all of the veggies a lavender hue that frankly, wasn’t appetizing to look at. I liked the idea of sweet potato in lumpia, but maybe it’s just not for me. Back to the drawing board… or is it the kitchen for me… :)


19 Responses

  1. Hello MM, I love fried vegetable lumpia. It’s one of my daughter’s favorite. I learned how to preprare Lumpia from my Lola. She would pound shrimp heads and skin with a mortar and pestle, and use the juice when sauteing the juliened vegetables including sweet potato – the yellow or white ones. Adding juliened sweet potatoes lend a slightly sweetish taste to the Lumpia. Small strips of pork belly go into the wok first to render the fat, then the garlic, onion, shrimp, sweet potato, baguio beans, shrimp juice, cabbage, carrots, and the taogi is the last to go. Season with salt and pepper. Drain well. I tried double frying in the past but I guess using large round Lumpia wrapper from Carbon Market will help in making it crispier and less soggy. It’s nice when the vegetables are wrapped thickly with the lumpia wrapper. I didn’t achieve the crisp that I wanted when I tried to scrimp on the wrapper by using only half of the medium sized one or using one small sized ones. You can use the filling for fresh Lumpia or Lumpiang hubad with sauce made from the strained vegetables sauce, with chopped garlic, chopped baked peanut, brown sugar, cornstarch and heated in low fire until the sauce thickens. Best dip for fried Lumpia is vinegar with garlic, ground black peppers, and white sugar.
    For the fresh Lumpia wrapper, I followed the recipe printed on the box of Maizena Cornstarch. When I was 11 or 12 years old, I used to make 100-200 wrappers for my mother.

  2. hi, MM! from the looks of it, the amount of purple kamote was too much for that batch.

    we did a version of the mung bean sprout (1/2 kg), orange chinese kamote (2 medium size), carrot (medium size), hibi for flavor, minced garlic, chopped green onions and celery for aroma. it was really good.

  3. i was about to comment on the beautiful colors until i read the part about the purple camote turning everything else purple. and yes, i turn the drained liquid into lumpia sauce by adding some soysauce, sugar and cornstarch slurry, and topping everything with lots of chopped garlic.

  4. My grandma fried the kamote first, set it aside to cool. She would stir-fry the rest of the veggies and leave them to completely drain and cool. I press on the stir-fried veggies to get as much of the moisture out without mashing them. Before wrapping, she mixes the kamote with the rest of the vegetables.
    I noticed that you cut the veggies quite finely. Have you tried making them more chunky. I’m thinking there would be less surface area for the vegetables to absorb water if it’s chunkier and less leakage after it’s cooked.
    Fried lumpia is really best eaten immediately after frying. When I serve it at home, I give my family a heads-up before I start frying the lumpia.
    I used to buy tiny fried lumpia from a vendor near the faculty centre at UP Diliman. No matter what time I buy it, it’s always crunchy but the fried lumpia is more wrapper than filling. Maybe the trick is in the wrapper to filling ratio.

  5. My mom would also fry the camote first and added last like Marnie says. Best to use the regular sweeter camote.

  6. Double frying is best using rice paper, ie, the Vietnamese spring roll wrappers. The first frying gets it cooked through while the second in very high heat gives it the bubbles or flakes which makes it brittle.

  7. “Toss vigorously like a Chinese Chef on moderate amounts of crack.”

    This line made the article, hehehe!

    Single Fried Fried Lumpia – Always something to learn from your posts MM!

  8. OMG! kaLAmi na unya ani inig ma-perfect na =) go Lang ng go Mr. MM…. will be waiting for the much improved edition of your lumpia =)

  9. haha thanks for sharing this experiment with us MarketMan! not to be schadenfreudeish about it, but if even you and David Lebovitz (hmm i’ll try to post the link when i find that entry) can occasionally misfire, it gives us ordinary mortals some hope. but yes, gorgeous colors sana. hehe.

  10. MM, Are you aware that your blog on the ‘ experimental lumpia’ was on ‘Zite’ yesterday, the food and cooking section…
    “About Zite – We all want to be in touch with the “Zeitgeist” — the spirit of our times. We want to know the current events, important ideas and smart opinions that are circulating in our world-what’s happening and what’s interesting. And we want to be challenged with experiences that are new and unexpected.
    With so much information available online today, it’s increasingly difficult and time-consuming to find the content we want. That’s where Zite comes in. Zite evaluates millions of new stories every day, looking at the type of article, its key attributes and how it is shared across the web. Zite uses this information to match stories to your personal interests and then delivers them automatically to your iPad or iPhone.”

  11. I use regular sweet potato (orange or yellow) in our fried lumpia which gives it a sweet (naturally) flavor. However, I also add in a little sotanghon when cooking the vegetables as it absorbs any excess moisture/sauce in the filling. I then prepare a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, chopped onion and a little sugar. My kids love the combination. Hope this will help improve the flavor of your lumpia with sweet potato.

  12. Given that the lumpia wrapper is thin and the filling more than the meat lumpia shanghai yielding a mataba lumpia, double wrapper using the wet markt lumpia wrapper or Pinoy frozen lumpia wrapper works for me….wrap the already wrapped lumpia in another wrpper! Then double fry. Lumpia shanghai on the other hand, finger width meat filling in 1 small wrapper is enough ….yielding about 3 layers of wrapper around the meat filling.

  13. Given that the lumpia wrapper is thin and the filling more than the meat lumpia shanghai yielding a mataba lumpia, double wrapper using the wet markt lumpia wrapper or Pinoy frozen lumpia wrapper works for me….wrap the already wrapped lumpia in another wrpper! Then double fry. This was how we did it since 1975.

    Lumpia shanghai on the other hand, finger width meat filling in 1 small wrapper is enough ….yielding about 3 layers of wrapper around the meat filling. Then double fry.

    Also, MM…lumpia shanghai like Vietnamese lumpia, I do nt use egg as binder. ….only the grated gabi, lots of minced onions, grated carrots, sotanghon if i am making vietnamese lumpia, salt/ white pepper, touch of 5 spice, sugar, and finely minced wood ear mushrooms and thrown against the sides of bowl till pasty looking.

  14. I’ve always detested lumpia with wierd ingredients like rasins (yuk) and potatoes. But I recall the ‘lumpia of the 70s’ when people didn’t depend on frozen mixed vegetables in making the filling. I was pretty happy eating the filling alone which was made with beef/pork and fresh vegetables. The one thing I noticed about ’70s lumpia’ is the crispiness factor. Today’s lumpia seems to have a weird taste out of the fryer. Out of all the ingredients that have gone out of vogue, other than vetsin (Accent), I think it was Crisco that fried up the lumpia to that glorius light crispiness. Other than Calrose, corned beef, Spam, I can remember families of Filipino servicemen loading up their carts filled with Crisco and Accent as they went down the aisles of the commisary.

  15. just like the purple sitaw MM which makes your dish all purple din he he.. I actually opt for a larger lumpia wrapper para at least twice ung pagka wrap sa lumpia para d mg soggy agad after you fry it (just once pls!) we always partnered the stir fry veggies (sometimes with tokwa) with fried fish or meat at pag may left over the next day ung veggies pwiding pang lumpia para maiba naman… :)

  16. Re:soggy lumpia. I wrap and fry as needed. I take “orders” before serving on approximately how many each of us will eat and just fry and wrap that number of lumpia pieces. I’d also love to know how to prevent soggy lumpia! But for now I just store the filling in a ziplock bag and wrap before frying.

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