Lumpia: My mother’s recipe

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? :^)


  1. Adelle Gabrielson’s avatar

    yummmy…we get GREAT Lumpia out here, but it would be a fun experiment to make our own! It’s a standard contribution at most church potlucks!

  2. Norine’s avatar

    Found your blog by way of google searching for a tie strap bag tutorial! Had to comment because 1. I did download the pdf pattern and tut for the slouch bag and didn’t want to be rude and 2. I love lumpia! Except, we call them ‘spring rolls’. My mother is Thai and we’ve been making them forever. I, too, had the job of peeling the wrappers apart when I was young. Fond memories of spring roll wrapping with the family.

    Thanks for this!

  3. kiki’s avatar

    Oh….did you find specific “lumpia” wrappers? I remember them being especially thin and crisped up well. More like spring rolls that I’ll order now, rather than the tough, thick egg roll wrappers. Just curious. I remember Mom could only buy them at the commissary.

    1. Cindy’s avatar

      Good question. We get ones that are called “TYJ Spring Roll Pastry” from the local oriental market. You can see the corner of the wrapper in one of the photos above but here’s a link to a photo of the full wrapper:

    2. kiki’s avatar

      Yum, Yum, Yum…..these were one of my most favorite things ever! I loved having them in Iceland and even made them a few times myself…but I hadn’t had a recipe. I am going to save this one!

    3. Becky’s avatar

      My Flipino sister-in-law made this all the time. She added chopped raisins in the meat mixture. We loved them. She also baked them for my parents who couldn’t have fried foods. Both ways were great.

Comments are now closed.