When I was little and watched my dad make them, I was given the task of separating the lumpia wrappers. Generally my dad would make them for some special occasion or party, so he would make a ridiculous amount at one time, and then freeze any excess so he wouldn't have to make them again for months. I would sit there separating hundreds of thin sheets of lumpia wrappers like a little Asian kid in a sweat shop. But it was worth it. They are pretty addictive like potato chips, I don't know a single person (Filipino or non-Filipino) who can eat just one. If you've never had one before, they are pretty different from Chinese egg rolls since the wrapper is much thinner and the inside is mostly ground pork mixed with finely chopped vegetables. I guess it is more similar to a fried spring roll. But enough description, onto the recipe!
2 lbs. ground pork
4 carrots (1 to 1.5 cups chopped)
4 stalks of celery (1 to 1.5 cups chopped)
1 small jicama (1 to 1.5 cups chopped)
1 head of garlic (couple of tablespoons minced)
1 medium onion (1 to 1.5 cups chopped)
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2-1 tsp pepper (to taste)
1-2 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
1-2 packages of lumpia wrappers (can be found in Asian markets, my dad says to use the round ones)
flour/water mixture (to seal eggrolls)
Canola oil (or any other frying oil)
1. First, separate the lumpia wrappers (or have your child do it for you). If the wrappers are frozen, let them thaw first. To keep the wrappers from drying out, cover them with a damp kitchen towel or paper towel. Peel carefully, starting with the edges, and working towards the center so you don't rip the wrappers. Also keep the separated wrappers moist with a damp towel.
2. Next peel and finely chop all vegetables (I never even knew people peeled celery, but my dad does, to remove all the stringy stuff, so I did too.) The chopping is no joke. My dad told me to use more vegetables, but I got tired of chopping so I stopped at 4 carrots, 4 stalks of celery, etc. Feel free to add more or less depending on how much your hand hurts from all the chopping. Also, the vegetables should be chopped very fine, practically minced. (I probably did not chop them small enough for my dad's liking, but I think it turned out fine).
3. Mix vegetables, meat, salt & pepper, and soy sauce until combined well
4. Fry a small amount of the meat mixture to make sure the seasonings are right. If needed, add more salt, pepper or soy sauce. If you're happy with the seasoning, now you're ready to start rolling!
5. Put about 1-2 tbsp of meat mixture onto lumpia wrapper a few inches from the edge closest to you. (You'll be tempted to use more, but it's important to not overfill the lumpia, otherwise the pork won't be fully cooked after frying. That and my dad will yell at you for overfilling the lumpia ;)) Spread the filling out evenly in the shape of a thin cigar, leaving about an inch and a half of wrapper on each side.
6. Fold over the edge closest to you, and wrap tightly, roll about halfway, then fold the sides to the middle, then finish rolling to the end of the wrapper.
7. Using your finger, apply a little of the flour/water mixture to the edge of the wrapper to seal the lumpia.
At this point, you can freeze any extras you don't plan on eating right away (or all of them like I did so I could fry them the next day). It literally took me hours to roll these because I ended up making somewhere around 80 lumpia. Think I used 1 and a half packages of the lumpia wrappers.
Fry in 350 degree oil until golden brown. (Since I am sometimes paranoid about undercooking them, I always cut into the first few to make sure they are cooked. I make a mental note how long they were in the fryer and try to fry the rest for the same amount of time.) Drain on paper towels, cut into halves or thirds. (Or after frozen, you can cut them before frying.)They are tasty on their own, but you can also dip them in sweet & sour sauce OR a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and crushed garlic OR banana ketchup (can be found in Asian stores). Keep eating until you are stuffed or run out of lumpia :)