August 2011

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I think my mother learned to make lumpia from Filipino ladies whose husband’s were stationed on the Navy base in Iceland at the same time we were there. The filling is made of various cooked vegetables and ground meat wrapped in a thin wrapper almost like a crepe and then fried quickly in hot oil. As a child, I remember it was difficult to buy the wrappers and the packages had likely been frozen and thawed more than once. The paper-thin wrappers were often stuck together and it was my job to carefully peel them apart and hand them out to the adults who rolled the filling into the wrappers.

rolling lumpia filling

A few weeks ago my parents came down to see us and my mother cooked up a big batch of filling and three of us rolling made quick work, allowing us both to stock pile carefully bagged lumpia in the freezer for later enjoyment.

homemade lumpia and rice

My mother’s recipe for Lumpia

makes 75-100

1 1/2 – 2 lb ground beef (or other types of meat)
2 medium carrots (I use peeler)
1 medium cabbage, cut very thin
4-5 stalks celery, chopped small
1 bag of beansprouts
1 lb (approx) string beans, cut very thin
1 medium onion chopped
5 bay leaves
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp salt
small amount of black pepper to your taste
1 Tbs vegetable oil

1. Fry garlic in oil; add gound beef, salt and bay leaves
2. Add onion and let it cook until translucent
3. Add cabbage and cook 2 minutes
4. Add bean sprouts
5. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir constantly until everything
is cooked
6. Add a dash of pepper
The total amount of cooking time is approximately 10 minutes.

Cool and drain the filling. Place 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of filling on a wrapper and bring up the bottom corner first. Fold in the sides and roll. Brush the last corner with beaten egg to seal.

To cook, heat two inches of oil in a heavy pot until a dry chopstick bubbles when dipped in the oil. Have a cooling rack of paper towel covered tray ready for the hot lumpia. Gently slide lumpia into the hot oil, turn as necessary to fry evenly to golden brown. Remove to rack to cool slightly before serving. I usually cook 4-6 per adult. Two per adult for an appetizer.

Did I get all that right mother? :^)

Then I decided to do a search on the term. Apparently the dish I have been calling shrimp en brochette for at least 15 years is only somewhat related. En brochette is French for food that is cooked and possibly served on a skewer. Generally that means grilled. And in the case of shrimp, at least here in the United States, it is accompanied by bacon, jalapeño pepper and cheese.

There was a little restaurant in Oklahoma City in the early ’90s called Pearl’s and they served up New Orleans style food and music. On our working part-time through college budgets we still managed to go a few times and enjoy their gumbo and shrimp en brochette. Here’s my home-cooked version of what Pearl’s called shrimp en brochette.

shrimp en brochette breaded with cornmeal and fried

Pearl’s Shrimp en Brochette (for 4 – 6)

20 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and cleaned
20 1/2″ cubes of a sharp cheese such as cheddar
thin sliced bacon cut into 1/2 or 1/3 strips, whatever will fit around your shrimp

I put the cheese in the middle of the curled shrimp and then wrap the bacon around and fix with a toothpick. You can also butterfly the shrimp and insert sliced cheese. Some recipes also call for a little strip of jalepeño with the cheese. I’ve never tried that and I don’t recall that Pearl’s put it inside either.

how to make shrimp en brochette battered with cornmeal and fried

Prepare one bowl with a beaten egg and a bowl with about 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, salt and pepper. Coat your skewered shrimp first in the beaten egg and then in the cornmeal mixture.

Heat oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven. Oil should be hot enough to make a dry chopstick release air bubbles. Have a metal rack or paper toweled plate ready. Lower the coated shrimp into the hot oil. It will only take a minute or two to fry to a nice golden brown. Remove to rack and allow to cool a bit before serving. Make sure to remove the toothpicks or at least warn your guests to do so!

Pearl’s served these with a cherry horseradish sauce which I’ve never tried to make, but I would guess it was similar to basic cocktail sauce but with puréed cherries and possibly tiny diced jalepeño, instead of ketchup or in addition to ketchup.

This is really too rich to eat as an entrée but it makes a tasty appetizer or a light addition to rice or a large salad.


I’ve been working pretty hard on a rather important project for a while now. It’s more than halfway along but it will still be a few months before it’s finished. I don’t have much to show for it just yet but here’s a hint:

tie dye shirts and baby onesie

left to right: for Dad, big brother, little brother due 12/5.

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