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Food

Shanghai lumpia? Think spring rolls with a spicy twist

Pork and shrimp lumpia Shanghai with cracked pepper coconut vinegar sauce
A classic mix of pork, shrimp and vegetables fill these crunchy lumpia.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

“My relatives in the Philippines don’t celebrate Chinese New Year,” said Charles Olalia of the Silver Lake restaurant Ma’am Sir. “But my family here did because my dad’s a doctor and all his Chinese patients gave him food gifts that we’d eat for a week.”

At lunar new year, Olalia makes Shanghai lumpia with a pork-shrimp filling fried to an auspiciously golden crisp. He sticks to a classic stuffing but has created a unique dipping sauce of coconut vinegar infused with garlic, ginger, chiles and lots of cracked black pepper. Spicy and sharp, it cuts through the richness of the crisp-fried rolls.

For a milder dipping sauce, you can substitute serranos for the Thai chiles and seed them.

Pork and Shrimp Lumpia Shanghai With Cracked Pepper Coconut Vinegar Sauce

3 hours. Makes 30.

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Pork and shrimp lumpia Shanghai
A generous line of filling stuffs these rolls.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Maggi seasoning (optional)
  • 6 ounces ground pork, preferably fatty
  • 6 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 8 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 30 sheets (8-inch-square) spring roll wrappers, preferably TYJ brand
  • 1 large egg white
  • Cracked Pepper Coconut Vinegar Sauce (see recipe below), for serving

Instructions

  1. Mix the soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, salt, white pepper and Maggi, if using, in a medium bowl. Pour half the marinade into another medium bowl. Put the pork in one and the shrimp in the other. Mix each well, then cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add the cabbage, carrots, scallions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables wilt, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate to chill. Rinse out and dry the wok.
  3. After the pork and shrimp have marinated, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the wok over high heat until shimmering. Add the pork and cook, stirring to break into small bits, for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until opaque, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Transfer to the bowl with the vegetables and stir until well mixed. The filling should be cool or room temperature. If it’s hot, refrigerate to cool.
  4. Whisk the egg white with 2 tablespoons water until well blended. Put a spring roll wrapper on a work surface and spoon a line of filling (2 to 3 tablespoons) parallel to and 2 inches away from the side closest to you, leaving a 1- to 2-inch rim on the sides perpendicular to the line of filling. Fold the side closest to you over the filling, then fold in the ends and continue rolling until you have 1 ½ inches remaining. Brush egg white on that edge to seal and finish rolling. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, filling and egg white wash to make more lumpia.
  5. Fill a saucepan with oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees. Working in batches, add the lumpia to the hot oil (avoid overcrowding) and fry, turning to evenly cook, just until golden brown and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve hot with the vinegar sauce.

Cracked Pepper Coconut Vinegar Sauce

5 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.

0108 cooking
Smash whole garlic cloves and a knob of ginger for the sauce.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut vinegar
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 1 piece (½ inch) fresh ginger, smashed
  • ¼ cup sliced Thai chiles
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the vinegar, garlic, ginger, chiles and pepper in a small bowl. Stir well.

Make ahead: The filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Adapted from Charles Olalia.


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