I was cooking lunch last Sunday when my husband saw the recipe for a fish-and-mango lumpia (spring rolls) on a local TV cooking show. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was busy in the kitchen. I’m not sure which cooking show it was but it definitely wasn’t Geny Sison’s. My husband wanted to try the lumpia at home–the combination of salty fish with sweet ripe mangoes and the unique flavor of cilantro was really interesting. But we both knew that the kids wouldn’t like tuyo (dried salted fish) which the recipe called for. They can’t stand anything that salty. We decided we’d substitute tinapa (smoked fish). Everything else would be as the original recipe required.
To make the tinapa and mango lumpia, you will need 2 large ripe mangoes, cut into strips; a cake of silken tofu, cut into small cubes (I think the original recipe used firm tofu; I’m not really sure); 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced; 12 large lumpia wrappers; 2 boneless tinapang bangus (smoked milkfish), skins removed and the meat broken into strips; a bunch of cilantro, tough ends removed; salt and pepper; and about 4 cups of vegetable oil for deep frying.
To form the lumpia, arrange the ingredients at the center of each wrapper, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then roll, tucking in the sides as you go. Wet the edges with water to seal. It is important to make sure that each lumpia is well sealed because some of the ingredients are wet and if moisture seeps out, you’ll have oil splatters galore all over the kitchen.
Actually, wrapping proved a little tricky. The mangoes, silken tofu and diced tomatoes were all wet and slippery. It would be wise to use large lumpia wrappers. Otherwise, you will have to drastically reduce the filling just to be able to wrap them properly.
Heat the vegetable oil in a fryer. Test the temperature by dropping a small piece of lumpia wrapper in the oil. If it browns too fast, the oil is too hot. If the color stays the same for several seconds, the oil isn’t hot enough. Frying lumpia in oil that isn’t hot enough will make them absorb more oil than is necessary and the cooked lumpia will be greasy and soggy. So, test the oil before dropping in the lumpia.
Fry the lumpia in batches to allow room for movement. You will have to turn them over halfway through and that will be difficult to do if the fryer is too crowded.
When the lumpia turns golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon or kitchen tongs and place them diagonally in a strainer to allow the excess oil to drip. Transfer to a platter lined with absorbent kitchen towels to remove excess oil on the surface. Transfer to a clean platter before serving.
I served the lumpia with Gourmet’s Garlic Dressing. The combination turned out to be delightful. :)