What distinguishes good lumpiang ubod (heart of palm spring rolls) from great lumpiang ubod? The quality of the ubod, of course, the right balance of saltiness and sweetness of the sauce, the light seasoning of the filling that does not take away from the natural sweetness of the ubod… And then there’s the wrapper. You can have the most superb filling but if you wrap it in commercial spring roll wrapper, the lumpia as served suddenly falls by several notches. But if you can make crepe-like spring roll wrappers, you’ve elevated your lumpia game.
There are three things to remember when making crepe-like spring roll wrappers.
1. The correct proportion between the flour and the starch;
2. The correct consistency of the batter (i.e., the amount of liquid); and
3. A non-stick frying pan (I really wouldn’t attempt this without a non-stick pan).
Adding chopped herbs to the batter is optional but highly recommended.
The following recipe makes eight crepe-like spring roll wrappers using a 10-inch non-stick frying pan. If you use a smaller sized pan, you will be able to make more wrappers. But small wrappers aren’t easy to work with because you will need a substantial amount of overhang to fold them properly without the lumpia bursting open before they are served.
How To Make Crepe-like Spring Roll Wrappers
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 and 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped herbs (optional)
- In a mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add the water and mix. Add the flour, starch and salt and mix until well blended.
- Place the frying pan on the stove and turn on the heat to medium-high. Make sure that the pan is hot before pouring the batter in. You will have to work fast though because the heat from the pan will cook the batter instantly. So you have to swirl the pan around while pouring in the batter.
- What I do is heat the pan, then hold it away from the stove with my left hand, pour in about 1/4 cup batter into the pan with my right hand while swirling the pan until the batter coats the entire bottom of the pan.
- Set the pan on the stove. Cook the batter until the wrapper pulls away from the sides of the pan (see the photo), about two minutes.
- Using a spatula, flip the wrapper to cook the topside. See the texture on the underside? Because the pan is hot when the batter first touches its surface, steam forms bubbles immediately. That creates the web-like pattern on the wrapper. Note though that the topside won’t have a web-like pattern.
- Okay, stoves have different settings and temperature and the cooking time of two minutes is relative. How can you tell if the wrapper is ready to be flipped over? It is ready when the spatula slides easily underneath. If the wrapper wrinkles, that means it is still too wet. If you flip it at this stage, it is still sticky, it’s difficult to flip over and it might crumple and stick in places. So, wait until the wrapper is firm. Take care though that you do not burn the underside.
- Just keep repeating the procedure until you have used up all the batter. A tip: stir the batter before cooking each wrapper. The starch has a nasty tendency to sink to the bottom and you really want the batter to be very well blended before it goes into the hot frying pan.
- Where do you place the cooked wrappers? Most cooks will say stack them between sheets of kitchen (wax) paper. That’s too rich for me — kitchen paper is not cheap and I only use it for baking. I don’t have any problems stacking the cooked wrappers one on top of the other. They might stick to one another if they are still wet. But if they have been sufficiently looked, you will be able to pull off each wrapper easily.
- How long will they keep? Ah, I do not know. I only make spring roll wrappers that can be consumed in one meal.
- Click here for the recipe for lumpiang ubod filling.
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