Lumpia, Filipino spring rolls, are worth the work of wrapping filling into tight little cigars and deep frying them in until they are golden brown. The problem is, I am REALLY lazy and I don’t deep fry anything in my house. Not because I have anything against deep fried foods, but because I loathe wiping splattered grease off of walls and getting tiny little burns on my arms.
Since there is no way that one can claim to want to know about Filipino cuisine while skipping lumpia, I modified Dale Talde’s lumpia to a lettuce wrap to keep the crunch without the sizzling oil and cries of pain. I changed the dipping sauce from a liquid to a ketchup consistency to account for the lettuce wraps’s inferior structural integrity, and added cilantro, mint leaves, and lime wedges ’cause I wanted to. Bib lettuce and other lettuces that naturally form a cup will be easier to use as a wrap than romaine or, god forbid, mesclun. But if mesclun is all you have, just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, dress with the dipping sauce and lime whisked with olive oil, and eat it like a salad.
1 lb. Ground pork
1 small spring onion, grated
green tops of spring onion, chopped (or two scallions if you cant find a whole spring onion with the tops intact)
1/2 cup carrots, grated
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
Put all ingredients in a wok and cook on medium-high until meat is brown and most of the liquid from the veggies has evaporated.
Dipping (Slathering) Sauce
1 cup datu puti (Filipino vinegar made from sugar cane. This is available in most asian markets and online.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs brown sugar
3/4 tsp black pepper corns
2 cloves of garlic, mashed into a paste
1 serrano chilli, halved. Remove seeds if you do not want much spice. Leave seeds if you do.
1 Tbs corn starch
Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat, whisking constantly, until sauce starts to boil. Remove from heat and pour through a wire mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl.
Lazy Lumpia Lettuce Wraps
1 head bib lettuce, leafs separated and washed
6-10 cilantro stalks
2-3 mint stalks
1 lime cut into wedges
To eat, grab a lettuce leaf and fill it with meat, herbs, and a little sauce before squeezing a slim wedge of lime over it. Eat like a taco.