Wednesday, June 15, 2005

my frying amnesia

vegetable mix for lumpia*


i was so traumatized by my last attempt at cooking lumpiang prito (egg rolls, spring rolls, poh pia). a disaster. the contents spilled out into the oil, the wrappers unfurled, a soggy inedible mess. for an obsessive cook with multiple clientele--hee hee--it was a new low.
but. daughter kept badgering me with her sweet round eyes, "mama, please???" that i had to give it another try.
so it became like a new cooking lesson. i have to remember what to do. i'm getting forgetful.

tips for preventing another lumpia disaster:
keep vegetables just almost cooked.
keep the mixture cool and drain the cooking liquid before wrapping. (i scooped the vegetables into a large sieve/ strainer on the wok before rolling them up in the spring roll pastry wraps.)
follow the instructions on thawing the wrappers, if using the frozen kind. (sounds simple right? in general, remove from freezer only 30 minutes before rolling. i had been getting arrogant and not reading! aargh, for shame for shame!)
after wrapping, place rolls in one layer on a wax-paper-lined flat cookie sheet or freezer-proof platter, and put in the freezer until ready to fry.
get the oil hot. 350F for deep frying, meaning frying in oil deep enough for the lumpia to float. allow the oil to get hot again before adding in more.
do not crowd the lumpia (lest they get mad at you and hurl out their contents).
and it only takes about 3 minutes so they don't soak up the oil.
remove with a wire spatula or bamboo net strainer, letting excess oil drip out and then place on a paper towel or brown paper-lined platter.

serve with garlic chili vinegar dip, seasoned with salt and pepper, humbly.

*vegetable mix:
1/4 pound of pork belly, skin removed, cubed
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 small red or white onion
1/4 pound of shrimp, shelled, deveined, chopped
combination of thinly sliced vegetables:
snow pea pods
bean sprouts (sprinkle with salt, let stand in strainer so it exudes excess water)
drained firm tofu cubes

saute pork in small amount of peanut oil until browned. add a cup of water and let boil until tender, adding more water as needed.
when water has evaporated and pork is tender add garlic and brown. add onions and cook until softened. add shrimp and cook until pink. add carrots, celery and snow pea pods and stir fry for 1 minute. pour in about 1/2 cup of water and a tbsp. of oyster sauce and a splash of soy. add cabbage, tofu and bean sprouts. mix well and turn off the heat. season with salt and pepper. they will be undercooked at this point but they will be well done in the deep fryer.
let cool completely and drain off liquid.

i also put in sliced boiled eggs in some of the lumpia rolls.

(other options: rehydrated tree ear fungus, bamboo shoots, thinly sliced jicama "singkamas", Japanese sweet potatoes, garbanzos)