At every Filipino food gathering, you’ll find a few if not all of the following: pancit canton, lechon, adobo, buko pandan salad, and last but definitely not least, lumpiang shanghai.

Lumpiang shanghai is one of those foods that you can’t stop popping into your mouth even though you know very damn well that you are more than full. It’s kind of like when you open a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, THEY’RE JUST SO ADDICTING.

Now, my sister and I have had a lot of versions of lumpiang shanghai. Honestly, nothing beats our mom’s recipe a.k.a Mama Rose. She gracefully blessed me with her recipe along with laborious hours of training that I thought I’d give it a try for the first time. I must warn you, however, this is not for the faint of heart. To get the best results, this will take at least 3 days (maybe 2 1/2, but why rush it?). It will require patience, technique, and most of all – endurance to roll all of that lumpiang shanghai.

Ready to take on this recipe? Let’s start!

For lumpiang shanghai, there are always two types of proteins mixed in together. Traditionally, it’s ground pork and minced shrimp, but because my family grew up in Saudi Arabia, pork was not at our disposal. Instead, my mom’s recipe consists of ground chicken and minced shrimp, which is easier to cook all the way through. With pork, as noted from another Filipino friend of mine (shoutout to Chiqui), it is recommended to cook the pork prior to rolling to make sure the lumpiang shanghai is cooked thoroughly.

The rest of the ingredients are pretty simple: celery, carrots, yellow onion, soy sauce, egg roll wrappers as well as salt, and pepper to season. I did, however, tweak the recipe a little bit and actually put in a secret ingredient, which makes it even more delicious. But that’s only for me to know hehe.

The filling: Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients and materials, it’s time to finally get started on the filling, which may take about an hour to make. If you have a food processor, you can chop up a vegetable at a time much faster. Just make sure that you pulse your vegetables, don’t blend it. If you do not have a food processor, you will need to finely chop your peeled celery, carrot, and onion.

After you’ve prepared your vegetables, put them together with the minced shrimp (do not mince in the food processor), ground chicken, soy sauce, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix together. I had to use 2 wooden spatulas to mix, which was a workout. But if you have a stand mixer, you can mix the filling on low speed with a flat beater attachment. With either method, this should take no longer than 5-7 minutes.

Chill the filling: The most important part about this recipe is refrigeration, which is what you’ll do after you finish the filling. Transfer your filling to an air tight container and leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. If you don’t have an air tight container, you can put the filling in whatever container you have, place saran wrap on top, and close the lid over the saran wrap.

Keep the wrappers moist: After your filling is chilled, it’s time to get rolling! You will need a cutting board, flour, a spoon, chilled filling, egg roll wrappers, a clean damp towel, and your paste. When you take out the wraps from the fridge, set the damp towel over them to make sure they don’t dry out. The dampness keeps the wraps moist and more difficult to rip by accident.

The paste: The most difficult part of the rolling process is setting up your paste that you will use to seal your lumpiang shanghai. Start with a tablespoon of flour in a small bowl followed by 2-3 tablespoons of water. Mix it together, put it in the microwave for about 10 seconds, stir again, and put it back in the microwave for another 10 seconds. You want to keep doing this until it’s almost a glue-like consistency. You will have to make more paste the more you roll, but to reduce waste, don’t make too much and make it as you go.

The paste will still “cook” after you take it out of the microwave due to the heat, so make sure it’s not too thick. If it becomes too thick, you will have to start over. This took me a long time to master, so don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right the first time.

Rolling the lumpiang shanghai: There is no fancy schmancy technique to the rolling, it just takes a long time to do. So try to recruit (or trick) someone to help you out. Spoon about 3/4 of an inch thick line of filling near the bottom of your wrapper. Roll the filling over once and use your finger to spread the paste on the upper third of the remaining wrapper. Then roll until the very end. If you think your lumpia is not sealed enough, you can lightly spread some paste on the seam.

Storing the lumpiang shanghai: To store the lumpiang shanghai, you will need tupperware that is lightly dusted with flour. You will also need to dust each lumpiang shanghai with flour before placing in the tupperware. After you’ve filled a container, place saran wrap on top, close the lid, and put it in the freezer overnight. Every filipino knows that these are best fried when frozen than fresh! Freezing your lumpiang shanghai will also prevent them from “exploding” in the pan.

Frying: The best pan to fry the lumpiang shanghai in is a cast iron skillet due to its ability to stay hot. You can use a regular pan, but you will have to be extra attentive to the temperature of your oil. Fill the skillet until it’s about 1/2 inch deep or just enough to cover half the width of your lumpiang shanghai. The temperature should be just above medium heat.

Do not overcrowd your pan! At most, only fry 3-4 at a time. If you put too many at a time, it will be difficult to flip them over and there’ll be a lot of very hot splatters.

Once you place 3-4 of your frozen lumpiang shanghai (do not thaw them prior to frying), reduce the heat to minimize splattering. Each side of the lumpiang shanghai should take about 4-5 minutes. After frying, place them in a colander lined with paper towels.

Lumpiang shanghai is best served fresh with sweet chili sauce on the side and of course white rice. Now, if you bring this to a potluck AND SOMEHOW END UP WITH LEFTOVERS (impossible), you can get them crispy again by popping them into the air fryer.

This simple yet laborious recipe is a real crowd pleaser, so try it out for your next potluck, summer BBQ, or just any meal of the day. Best of luck!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 lb shrimp, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 5-6 stalks of celery, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 packs of egg roll wrappers (at least 50 wrappers in total)
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil to fry
  • Sweet chili sauce to serve!

Method

Note: A lot of the techniques required for this recipe is provided above. Please take a look at my pictures and suggestions to get the best results!

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine together finely chopped carrot, celery, yellow onion, minced shrimp, ground chicken, salt, black pepper, and soy sauce. Combine well and refrigerate in an airtight container for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Prepare the paste by combining 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds, stir, and repeat until you get a glue-like texture. Make more only when needed.
  3. Open up egg roll wrapper package and place a damp towel on top to prevent drying and cracking. Gently peel off one wrapper and place on a lightly dusted surface.
  4. With a spoon, scoop a small amount of filling about 1 inch away from the bottom edge. Continue doing this until you have a line of filling that is about 3/4 of an inch thick.
  5. Roll over the filling once and spread the paste on the upper third of the wrapper with your finger. Finish rolling the lumpiang shanghai and lightly dust with flour to prevent sticking to other rolls.
  6. Store the lumpia in a large rectangular tupperware dusted with flour and wrap the top with saran wrap before closing the lid. Freeze the lumpia overnight or until firm.
  7. On medium heat, pour enough vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet so that it goes halfway up the lumpiang shanghai rolls. Cook each side for 4-5 minutes and drain excess oil in a colander lined with paper towels.
  8. Serve with sweet chili sauce and white rice!

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