Veggie Lumpia with Food Anthropologist ​Mayo Buenafe-Ze + The Lumpia Queen

On the Menu:

Lumpiang Gulay (Veggie Lumpias)

Food Anthropologist Mayo Buenafe-Ze was born in the Philippines, raised in Daly City and has lived all around the world. When she was young, her mother sold lumpia to teachers and families at school, leading to her nickname: The Lumpia Queen.

We were graced by the Lumpia Queen’s presence at last week’s class at Youth Radio, where Mayo and her mother came to show us how to make one of their favorite Filipino dishes.

Lumpia is very similar to a Chinese egg roll, but fresh Lumpia tastes so much better and can have so much more variety. While it’s traditionally made with pork, you can make it with any ground meat, or, in our case, a vegetarian version! Feel free to use any veggies you have on-hand for the stuffing. Mayo’s mother sometimes uses frozen, chopped veggies when she’s in a pinch.

The acidity of the dipping sauce is supposed to balance out the heavier fried flavor of the lumpia, and you can customize it depending on what kind of vinegar or citrus you have available.

Quick Tips:

-You can make lumpia with any veggies and any ground meat or chopped meat

-Golden rule of Filipino food, according to Mayo: make food with what you have available

-The sauce: you can use any citrus/acid, can add cilantro or other herbs

We’ve listed the recipes below if you need it and if any of you try it out, please share it with us on Instagram @cooking_project or #thecookingproject.

Recipe (Lumpia):

1 pack of Lumpia wrappers (25 pcs)
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 bag (8 oz.) of shredded carrots
1 small package of baked tofu (7 oz.)
1 can of sliced bamboo shoots (5-8 oz.) 3 eggs (2 for filling, 1 for wrappers)
2 tablespoons of cooking oil for cooking filling
~1 cup of cooking oil for frying lumpias
4 tablespoons soy sauce (according to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small bag (12 oz.) of bean sprouts (may only find at asian store)
2 tablespoons fish sauce* (according to taste)
3 tablespoons sesame seed oil* (according to taste)

  • Wash hands thoroughly. Defrost lumpia wrappers for about 30mins at room temperature (if frozen); if already thawed out, place in fridge.
  • Gather equipment needed: Chopping board, knives, bowls, whisk, large frying pan, tongs, saran wrap, shallow baking pan/bowl/plate.
  • Mince garlic, chop onion and bamboo shoots. Cut baked tofu into cubes.
  • Heat up frying pan to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and 3 tablespoons of sesame seed oil. When oil is hot add garlic and onions until it is soft. Then add baked tofu and toss in pan for about 2 minutes.
  • Add shredded carrots, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts in pan. Toss in high heat for about 1 minute. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Cover frying pan for about 3 minutes under low heat.
  • Scramble 2 eggs, set aside in one bowl. Scramble 1 egg, set aside in different bowl.
  • Turn off heat, drain excess water/liquid from filling, and transfer filling in shallow bowl/baking pan/plate. Add the 2 scrambled eggs into filling mixture and evenly distribute filling on plate. Cover with saran wrap and flash freeze for about 7-10 minutes.
  • While waiting for filling to cool down, separate 25 individual lumpia wrappers onto plate.
  • Once filling has cooled, lay 1 square lumpia wrapper on flat surface, usually a clean cutting board
  • Scoop 3 tablespoons of lumpia filling (1”) and place 2” above bottom of square lumpia with ½” wrapper on each side — See diagram below
  • Fold bottom 2” upwards around lumpia and tighten contents by using ‘tucking’ technique with wrapper
  • Roll upwards to top to form a cylinder, leaving 1” at top to apply egg wash (from 1 scrambled egg).
  • After applying egg wash to wrapper, roll wrapper upwards to form a perfect cylinder. Remember rolling technique from workshop.
  • Continue process until all lumpia wrappers and/or filling is used. Set aside rolled lumpias on a separate plate.
  • Heat up frying pan with 1 cup of cooking oil (make sure that the depth of the oil is about half the width of your lumpia) on medium-high heat. You will know the temperature of your oil is right when bubbles form around the lumpia you place in the frying pan. Place lumpias in frying pan and fry until the oil-side is golden brown, then use your tongs to flip it on the other side and cook until other side is golden brown.
  • Place cooked lumpias on strainer to drain out excess oil, allow to cool for about 3-5 minutes, then serve with dipping sauce.

2-3 cloves garlic (can be crushed or chopped)
~1⁄2-1 cup of Sukang Iloko (small red and green chilis, garlic cloves soaked in white vinegar) (may only find at asian store)
OR 1⁄2 to 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
Lemon juice from 1⁄2 of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Combine all sauce ingredients, whisk lightly

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