The Complete Asian Cookbook
Alan Benson

Lumpia, a popular snack, may be ‘fresh’ or fried. Fresh lumpia means that the filling is enclosed in a lettuce leaf and egg roll wrapper and eaten without additional cooking, while fried lumpia is similar to a spring roll. There are many versions of lumpia, each featuring a main ingredient — for example, lumpia labong (with bamboo shoots), lumpia with peanuts, and the most sought after, lumpia with ubod. Ubod is the heart of the coconut palm and has justly earned its reputation for being food for millionaires, because a whole tree has to be sacrificed to obtain the tender, nutty, creamy white heart-of-palm. Here is a basic recipe for lumpia. To this you may add chopped bamboo shoots or crushed roasted peanuts for variation. If you yearn to taste the heart-of-palm filling, cut tinned hearts of palm into matchstick strips and mix only with an equal quantity of diced cooked prawns or lobster, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.



Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
250g pork, cooked and diced
250g prawn meat, cooked and diced
125g green beans, sliced
115g fresh bean sprouts, trimmed
250g cabbage, shredded
140g celery, finely diced
60g spring onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
cos lettuce leaves, to serve

Egg roll wrappers (yield: 20) (or use 20 spring roll wrappers)

Quantity Ingredient
5 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil, plus extra for cooking
150g plain flour
oil, for deep-frying

Dipping sauce

Quantity Ingredient
75g sugar
60ml light soy sauce
250ml clear chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. To make the lumpia filling, heat the peanut oil in a wok or large heavy-based frying pan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the chicken, pork and prawn meat and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the beans, stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the bean sprouts, cabbage, celery and spring onion and toss to combine. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender but still crunchy. Add the salt, pepper and soy sauce and mix well to combine. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess moisture.
  2. To make the dipping sauce, combine the sugar, soy sauce and stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. In a separate bowl, combine the cornflour and 60 ml cold water to make a smooth paste, then add to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens. Continue to simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then stir in the garlic. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. To prepare fresh lumpia, put a cos lettuce leaf on an egg roll wrapper. Put 2 tablespoons of filling on the leaf, and roll up so that one end is enclosed and the leaf shows at the other end. Serve at room temperature accompanied by the dipping sauce.
  4. To prepare fried lumpia, do not use the lettuce but put the filling on a spring roll wrapper or egg roll wrapper and roll as for spring rolls so that the filling is completely enclosed. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Heat the oil in a wok or large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, deep-fry the lumpia, in batches, for 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel and serve with the sauce.
The Complete Asian Cookbook
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