Vegetable Lumpia

The funny thing about vegetable lumpia is that it has meat in it.  Ground beef.  Of all the lumpia, it is my favorite!  I made it for the first time when Iko was living in the States some years ago with her husband Joel and daughters Popsie & Ruthie.  I made it for her birthday and frankly, we were both surprised by how good it turned out!

I am not really sure what the key is to making seamless, non-greasy, nice & crispy vegetable lumpia because I’ve only been able to achieve that kind of “perfection” that one time.  It probably entails a combination of factors:  draining the filling well, wrapping the lumpia tightly, having a good lumpia wrapper.

If anyone reading this has a favorite brand of lumpia wrapper available in the States and Canada, please let us know!


  • Ground Beef
  • Garlic
  • Onion – chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Potatoes – chopped
  • Singkamas (jicama) – chopped
  • Carrots – chopped or shredded (I cheat & buy them in the bag already shredded)
  • Green beans – raw/fresh – sliced
  • Beansprouts
  • Lumpia wrapper
  • Datu puti vinegar
  • Egg wash or small bowl of water


  1. In a large pan or pot, heat olive oil.
  2. Add chopped/pressed garlic & brown lightly.
  3. Add chopped onions and sautee for about 2 minutes
  4. Add ground beef until almost no pink is showing
  5. Add potatoes and singkamas; cook until potatoes are almost tender
  6. Add remaining vegetables plus salt, pepper & soy sauce to taste
  7. Simmer slowly being careful not to overcook thus drying out the beef.
  8. Once well mixed & cooked, pour into collander to drain juices and to cool.
  9. DO NOT USE SOGGY OR HOT mix to roll into lumpia – it will be a disaster!  Trust me.
  10. Cut your lumpia squares in half diagonally.
  11. With point of wrapper closest to your body, spoon mixture in a straight line running parallel to the long end of the wrapper.  Start rolling from the point to the long end being sure to roll tightly.
  12. Use either an egg wash or water to moisten long edge of the wrapper to seal the lumpia.
  13. Deep-fry lumpia in small batches and drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with chopped garlic, pepper & salt-laced datu puti vinegar.


Meat Empanadas

IMG_7717When we were younger  Mom used to make delicious empanadas and its miniature dessert version empanaditas.  The most laborious task when making these meat pies is making & preparing the dough:  one of the reasons I haven’t bothered.  But then not too long ago, Mom told me that Uncle Manny had given her a tip:  use Goya brand empanada “skins”.

I found some at our local Kroger’s a couple of weeks ago & decided to give it a try.  Naturally, I called Mom from Kroger’s to ask for the ingredients…again.


  • Ground beef, pork or shredded chicken
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • chopped garlic
  • 2 diced potatoes
  • 1 small can of chopped olives (green or black)
  • frozen peas
  • raisins
  • soy sauce, salt & pepper to taste
  • Goya  empanada discos
  • water

Yesterday I bought a cooked rotisserie chicken, pulled the meat off (after first simmering to make some stock), shredded and then cooked it up for empanadas.  Here’s how:

  1. Sautee garlic and onions in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add diced potatoes & cover.  Cook until tender.
  3. If using ground beef or pork or uncooked chicken,  add now & brown.  If using rotisserie chicken, add peas, chopped olives & raisins.  Mix well then add shredded chicken.
  4. Add soy sauce, salt & pepper.
  5. Let simmer; beef or pork mixture may have to drain due to drippings.  You do not want to use “wet” mixture on wrapper as it will tear.
  6. Once meat mixture is properly cooled, take wrapper & roll out slightly (per pkg directions)
  7. Add meat filling & fold over so that edges of wrapper meet.  Slightly wet the top edge & press edges together.
  8. Next,  fold the edges of the dough using your fingertip, fold one corner of the empanada over, pressing down firmly, repeating all around, pressing firmly each time to maintain a seal around the edge of the empanada in a spiral pattern.  This is the way Mom taught me but you can also use a fork to make the seal.
  9. Deep fry in hot oil – this only takes a minute or two depending on how hot your oil is & how many you place in pan so watch carefully.  When golden brown, remove & let drain.

If you would prefer to bake the empanadas, place empanadas on a greased (spray Pam) cookie sheet & then lightly brush each empanada with an egg wash.  Bake for 12-15 min in a pre-heated 400* oven.  IMG_7713

Options:  Home-made empanada wrapper (see recipe below), boiled egg, chopped carrots, sugar.

Home-made Empanada Wrappers

I’m not currently this adventurous, but if you are, here’s a relatively simple recipe to make the wrappers from scratch.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup of grasa – lard or butter or mix of both
  • ¾ cup to 1 cup of warm milk
  • ½ tsp salt


  1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor, pulse until well combined.
  2. Add the lard or butter, blend well.
  3. Add the egg yolk and the milk in small amounts, pulse until small dough clumps start to form.
  4. Make a couple of balls, flatten into disks and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate).