The many uses of lumpia wrapper-A A +A
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
THIS could be used in preparing sweets or savory dishes and everybody has his or her own ways of using and preparing this very lowly and cheap, but highly regarded item that is truly indispensable in almost all kitchens, be it in a hi-end five star hotels or an ordinary carenderia.
Using only flour and water to make a huge paste rolled around their hands in making these lumpia wrappers, it seems pretty easy to make, especially if one has observed those wrapper makers in the market. I often wondered how they were made but upon inquiry and observations during my weekly visits to the wet market section, I finally found out and was truly amazed how fast one can make in a minute!
And aside from their entrepreneurship skills, I should say they are also blessed with talents in making what it seems to be difficult without burning themselves. Instead of a wok or flat pan, some make use of a flat iron plate that is heated from below just like making the yummy crepes.
The prices of these wrappers have increased through the years although not as much as those other commodities. But what I have observed is that the small size before is now considered tiny! And the large size has diminished remarkably, too! Signs of the times?
Depending on how these simple wrappers (I guess it would also be okay to call them crepes) are used, they can be turned into something really delectably sweet as a dessert treat or into a wonderful crispy and crunchy side dish or main course and in-betweens.
These wrappers come in different sizes, but usually round or spherical in shape. Maybe we can also request to make them into other shapes if the price is right. At any rate, our local wrapper is totally different from our Asian neighborhood's counterpart. But I am pretty sure they are used the same way we use it here.
Imported wrapper found in Asian stores that are factory sealed are usually frozen so they can be stored indefinitely for a couple of weeks. Vietnamese rice wrappers are almost translucent and they are softened with some moisture then rolled with something fried (be it egg, meat or a mixture of both) and a lot of green leafy vegetables. It is then eaten as it is, dipped in their delicious sweet, chili and sour sauce.
For savory dishes, we definitely make use of it in making our favorite appetizer, but also considered a main course, Lumpia Shanghai. It is also used in making Spring Rolls (which is actually made with more vegetables and less meat) or egg rolls (more on vegetables). As long as this is served hot and crispy, it is always a hit for all ages. Just make sure, it isn't greasy!
Another dish would be Fried Pork Bag where a spoonful of pork mixture is wrapped in the center and tied with a piece of green onion and deep fried. That would taste well with sweet and sour chili sauce. Veggies sautéed with fresh young coconut and rolled into a sheet of lumpia wrapper, deep fried and dipped with garlic/vinegar sauce is great for parties, too!
It is also used in wrapping fresh Chinese Lumpia, which is basically made of assorted green vegetables but not limited to cabbage, onions, baguio beans, carrots, jicama, mongo sprouts with tofu and lined with a piece of lettuce and sprinkled with crushed peanut/sugar mixture and sweet garlic sauce with a hint of chili sauce. Sometime, a mixture of chopped shrimps and ground meat is also included.
A mixture of meat and vegetables or alone by itself, these can also be wrapped and rolled and steamed for a healthier version of the lumpia. Goodah?
Sweet desserts seem endless. Who can forget the crunchy banana turon with langka that is glazed with sugar? Of course, anything that can be placed inside the wrapper (fresh or candied fruits) and deep fried would be sensational!
Also, just frying it alone dipped in some milk with a little cinnamon/sugar mixture would taste great, especially if it is also topped with a scoop or scoops of ice cream of your choice! What about a drizzling of chocolate syrup with whipped cream on top? Mangoes would be fabulously sinful! What about those sweet and salty Cheese sticks?
Now, who can say that ordinary lumpia wrapper is not only economical but also easy to use? And the good thing is that these can be refrigerated for a week or so without spoiling. Just make sure they are wrapped well or else they dry out and would be quite impossible to use if one is to roll them.
If they dry out, they can also be moistened with a little water by spraying a light mist on them. But don't overdo it or else you will make them useless.
So, always keep a pack of wrappers in your chiller section to be used for those surprised, unannounced guests!
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 22, 2012.