Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adventures in Lumpia-Making

Today was the last day we were going to be together in Northern Virginia. T. is on a bus back to New York City, and after dinner, I'll be driving back down to North Carolina. It was wonderful seeing my cousins again, and I hope we'll have the chance to see each other more often.

Today we decided to roll lumpia. Lumpia is the Filipino version of egg rolls. The filling is a vegetarian version using tofu (tokwa) instead of ground beef or pork. Ate S. made the filling before she went off to work.

We were going to do two varieties: fried (lumpiang pritong tokwa) and "fresh" (lumpiang sariwa). We had store-bought wrappers for the fried variety. We decided to try making our own for the "fresh" variety.

We had a lumpia rolling party. Kuya M. started us off, and he showed S2 how to roll one. (It's really more like rolling a burrito.) T. and I joined S2. The picture below shows our efforts before Kuya M. fried them.

And here is T. modelling the fried version:

I tried my hand at doing the fresh lumpia wrapper. I couldn't help but be mesmerised by the guy making it at this stall in the Philippines:

He makes it look easy, doesn't he? It wasn't, really. My finished product, even though it had the right taste, didn't look nearly as pretty as his, plus mine was much thicker. I suspect I didn't use the right pan. I do remember my mother using a an electronic griddle when making it.

How did I make it? Well, when I called my mum this morning, she said there were no proportions. "Just put flour in a bowl, add salt if you want, and then make a well in the middle. Add water slowly until you get the right consistency."

When I cooked the wrappers, I used a 10" pan with a non-stick surface. No oil or butter of any sort. I just heated it under medium heat until the surface got hot, and then just like the guy in the picture, I took the dough in my right hand, rubbed it on the surface of the pan, and when the edges started to come up, I picked it up with my left hand, turned it over briefly, then placed it on the plate.

And that's it. It's something I'll definitely practice more in the future.

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