Asian Food Craving: Filipino Spring Roll Recipe

If there's one thing we can't resist when dining out in an Asian restaurant, it's those crispy and delicious spring rolls. Even our little picky eater has a soft spot for this Asian dish, which is why we tend to fix it at home and put our own little spin to it. It's almost expected that Ariana is bound to soon develop a taste for good Asian cooking, especially when her American dad can fix Filipino dishes like he was born to cook them? Brian, undeniably the better cook in this family, tries to follow the traditional way of cooking Filipino spring rolls, also called lumpia, but is by no means afraid to add his own flair to it, turning a lowly spring roll into what he'd call lumpia ala Brian.

What I love about this dish is that, while it could get initially a bit time-consuming to prepare as we would have to cut vegetables into small bits and later wrap the ground meat and veggie mixture in a spring roll wrapper, it can be prepped ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a later meal. Thus, when we fix this dish, we always have several ready-made rolls that are simply a deep-fry away from another meal. Plus, in our household where dinnertime can easily creep up after working on Ariana's school assignment, a pre-made dish is always a good idea! PHOTOGRAPHY BY REALTOR BRIAN JOHNSON

Crispy spring rolls make for a delicious main dish or a delightful appetizer.

Crispy spring rolls make for a delicious main dish or a delightful appetizer.

How do fix your own spring roll at home? Start by getting all the needed ingredients:

2 cups of oil

1/2 lb. ground beef

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 tsp. ginger (optional, we just love adding ginger to our dishes!)

1/4 cup minced carrots

1/2 cup cabbage

a dash of chili powder

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. sesame oil (optional)

1 tbsp. sake (optional)

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. black pepper

lumpia or spring roll wrappers (find it in your local Asian grocery store)

Ground beef mixed with vegetables are a great combo for a spring roll filling.

Ground beef mixed with vegetables are a great combo for a spring roll filling.

  1. On high heat, pour one tablespoon of olive or coconut oil on a large wok. Stir in ground beef until fully cooked, set aside. On the same wok, cook garlic and onion until golden brown. Add ginger, carrots, cabbage and cooked ground beef.
  2. In a bowl, mix your seasoning. Blend soy sauce, pepper, chili powder, sesame oil, sake, garlic powder and brown sugar. You can always tone down the sweetness by adding less sugar if you prefer a saltier flavor. Add the seasoning to the filling and stir well to blend all the flavors.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  4. Place the spring roll wrapper diagonally on a flat surface. Place the filling in the upper center of each of the wrapper, leaving an inch space at both ends. Fold the sides, tuck in both ends and roll from the top. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge. 
  5. Heat oil over medium heat. To test if oil is hot enough, slightly dip the corner of the roll and see if oil starts to sizzle. Fry the rolls for one to two minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately. Best when served with a cup of rice and a side of dipping sauce, like soy sauce, plum sauce or ketchup.