Recipes are not always just a list of ingredients: They can be precious heirlooms passed down through generations.
JCCC student chef Gabrielle Edrosa’s Shanghai Lumpia recipe is a favorite that her grandmother and mother shared with her growing up.
“It was one of my favorite things to eat,” Edrosa says. “I learned this from my mom, who learned from hers and so-on and so-on.”
Finger food-sized Shanghai Lumpia come in all shapes and sizes, wrappers and fillings, including beef, pork, shrimp and vegetables.
While this is a family recipe, Edrosa says it is also important to create your own variation, to add your own flavor and style.
“Sometimes I add fish sauce or sweet chili sauce or oyster sauce just to change things up,” she says.
Regardless of the chosen ingredients, the key is the wrapper. They are thin and can break when pulled apart. Edrosa recommends freezing the wrappers first, and before they completely thaw, pulling them apart.
“They separate easier when they are cold,” Edrosa says.
Another key is to use cornstarch to keep the wrapper together and to not overfill the wrapper with the mixture.
Shanghai Lumpia are a hit at family gatherings or parties. Make a big batch and freeze them, and you will have lumpia ready anytime.
About the chef: Gabrielle Edrosa is a fifth-semester student in the chef’s apprentice and food and beverage program at Johnson County Community College. She works as a sauté cook and in banquet prep at Lake Quivira County Club.
About the column: Cooking 101, an occasional column exclusive to The Star, is a joint project between culinary students and instructors at Johnson County Community College.
Shanghai Lumpia With Pancit
Makes 25 pieces; 5 per plate
1/4 pound 80-percent lean ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/2 cup celery stalk, small dice
1 (1- to 2-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely diced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
Pinch crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 (25-count) package frozen lumpia wrappers, thawed in refrigerator overnight (look for them in a well-stocked grocery store or Asian market)
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
Sweet and sour sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
Dash hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 pound chicken breast, diced
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, any brand from the grocery store
5 cloves minced garlic, divided use
1 (8-ounce) package rice noodles
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup green onions
To prepare the lumpia: In a large bowl, mix ground beef, ground pork, celery, water chestnuts, green onions, egg and crushed red pepper. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Cover bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Mix cornstarch and a few drops of water to create a paste. Peel each wrapper to separate and lay a lumpia wrapper on a flat surface. Spread slightly less than 1 tablespoon meat, spreading in a line 2 1/2 inches long by 1/2 inch thick down center of the wrapper. Fold sides of the wrap in and over the meat. Roll into a cylinder, leaving the last 2 inches flat. Dab your finger in the cornstarch paste and spread it on the end flap. Roll the rest of the way; line finished rolls in a freezer-safe pan for storage. When all the lumpia are wrapped, place the pan in the freezer and allow to freeze before frying to keep the pastry from overcooking before the center is cooked through.
To fry: Fill a 3-quart pot with 1 quart vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Fry the lumpia rolls for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown, place on towel to remove excess oil before serving.
To make the sweet and sour sauce: Put sugar, orange juice, vinegar, ketchup, hot sauce and salt into saucepan. Allow mixture to boil; when the sugar has dissolved, lower the heat to a simmer. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1-2 teaspoons water in a small cup. Slowly add slurry to sauce and stir for about 2 to 3 minutes until it thickens.
To make the pancit: In a ziptop bag, marinade the diced chicken with teriyaki sauce and 2 cloves minced garlic for 4 hours, or overnight.
In a medium bowl, soak the noodles in 1 quart of water for 15 minutes, until tender
Drain off the chicken and discard the marinade. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat and brown chicken, remove from heat and drain off any excess oil
In a large sauce pot, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat and sauté 3 cloves garlic for 30 seconds, then add the carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add shredded cabbage, onion, soy sauce, chicken and noodles and adjust heat to medium. Cook until tender, stirring often to avoid burning.
Top with green onions. Serve lumpia with dipping sauce and a side of pancit.
Per plate (5 pieces): 1,173 calories (49 percent from fat), 64 grams total fat (10 grams saturated), 130 milligrams cholesterol, 116 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams protein, 2,107 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.