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Serious Eats contributor Marvin Gapultos didn't always appreciate or know how to cook his family's Filipino cuisine. But, as he writes in his new cookbook, The Adobo Road, once he left home, he began craving his mother's and grandmother's dishes.
Lumpia, or Filipino spring rolls, were one his most frequently requested dishes when visiting his mother, and they're one of the first things he learned how to make.
These fried rolls are filled with moist ground pork, carrots, peas, and bean sprouts. Fish sauce adds a layer of salty complexity, but otherwise these are simply straight-up, easy-to-eat, fried goodness. Cooking the filling ahead of time and letting it cool and drain before wrapping keeps the rolls from sogging out and leaking into the hot oil, and Gapultos's freezing directions make the rolls easy to prepare and serve whenever a lumpia craving sets in.
Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't pass up the Gapultos family signature lumpia recipe.
What worked: Everything from execution to taste was spot on with these rolls. They disappeared from the table in minutes.
What didn't: No problems at all.
Suggested tweaks: You could use just about any ground meat (or tofu, if you must) in place of the pork here, but they'll taste best if the meat is well laced with fat. Vegetables are also relatively interchangeable, but they should be in small shreddy pieces.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.