It felt great to be cooking in the kitchen again. After a summer hiatus, I signed the usual group up again for my omakase bento lunches. A day out in New Jersey playing $40 buy-in volleyball with some friends got me a slightly twisted ankle, so I couldn’t really stand too long to cook something elaborate. I did most of the work here sitting down. My legs also hurt from too much exercise in one day, so I ended up using my entire CSA share from last Thursday instead of going out to shop for more ingredients.
Ask any non-Filipino out there about Filipino food and they’ll most likely tell you about lumpiang Shanghai, or the fried egg rolls we adapted from the Chinese. Like any traditional recipe, this not only involves a lot of preparation, but also an almost precise way of frying to get them crispy. Wrapping them is a whole other business I’ve learned from my mother and from rolling other things–it takes practice.
To cut down on chopping and cooking time, I used a peeler to get the vegetable meat as thin as possible. When ready to serve, all I had to do was fry them in medium-low heat to brown the wrapper since everything inside is already cooked. You can make these ahead of time and they keep in the freezer, stored in a Tupperware, for up to two weeks.
You can find spring roll wrappers or “shells” in the frozen section of any Asian grocery store. I like the Wei-Chuan brand because they’re springy enough to make the rolling easy, but also thin enough to brown quicker.
spring roll wrappers, thawed and kept moist by covering with a wet paper towel while wrapping
1 pound of green beans, stringed, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled, and then shaved using a peeler
2 kohlrabis, peeled, and then shaved using a peeler
2 potatoes, half-boiled, peeled, and then shaved using a peeler
1 red bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
oil, salt, pepper
1. Heat some oil in a large skillet. Sauté the garlic until light brown. Sauté all the vegetables, adding the ones that take longer to cook. In this case, green beans first, then kohlrabi, followed by the carrots and the red bell pepper. Add in the cooked potatoes 2 minutes before turning the heat off. Season with chili flakes, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Wrap and roll. On a chopping block, lay out one of the wrappers flat. Spoon a little bit of the vegetable mix onto the bottom end of the wrapper. Fold that end over to cover the stuffing and then fold half an inch from the left and the right over to seal the sides. Continue to fold over the bottom until you make a roll. Set aside with the opening side down to keep it closed until ready to fry. Do this until you’re out of vegetable mixture or wrappers.
3. When ready to fry, heat some oil in a shallow skillet. When oil is almost smoking, slowly add each roll to fry with the opening side down to keep them closed. Using tongs, gently turn each roll over to cook the other side. Both sides should only be a lightly toasted color.
4. Remove each roll to a stainless steel colander. They will sweat and lose crispiness if you put them on paper towel right away.
Part of my Mother Hen project: omakase bento #16