Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spring rolls in winter?

My mom made the bestest spring roll ever. But it's different. In case you're wondering, spring rolls and egg rolls are two different thing. In Indonesia, I've actually never seen an egg roll. We have mostly spring rolls and there two major types of spring rolls: fresh rolls and fried rolls. One of the cities in Indonesia is pretty famous for spring roll: Semarang, which is in Java. 

Again, as we've discussed, the Javanese style cooking is a bit on the sweeter side which they compensate by serving sambal. Spring roll (called "lumpia" or "lunpia" in Indonesian language) is no different. It can be eaten with sambal or fresh chili pepper (something like bird's eye chili). 

The recipe I have below is for Semarang-style lumpia, however it's been modified in that my mom and I serve it with peanut sambal rather than fresh chili pepper. This is just one of many, of course. When I was little, there were street peddlers selling deep fried snacks (deep fried sweet potatoes, banana, etc.) and one of the snack was lumpia. However, because these were cheap $0.01 snacks (back then, of course, it's probably more expensive now), they put rice noodle as the filling.

Semarang-style lumpia is fancier and bigger than the $0.01 lumpia and it costs about 10 times more too...

Rie's mom's spring rolls


For the spring rolls:
2 cans bamboo shoot, drained, washed, julienned
2 eggs
1/4 cup Indonesian sweet soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce (or 1 bouillon cube)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 package frozen spring roll wrappers (Any frozen spring roll wrapper should do. My favorite brand is “TJY Spring Roll Pastry”)
1 egg, beaten
Oil for frying

For the peanut sambal:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 tbs white vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 pepper (jalapeno, habanero, etc.), pureed
1/2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
Hot water to thin the sauce

For the filling:
1. Spray wok with cooking spray and sautee garlic until fragrant.
2. Add eggs, and scramble the eggs until fully cooked.
3. Add julienned bamboo shoots, fish sauce and soy sauce, stir until all ingredients assume the color of the soy sauce evenly.
4. Adjust the flavor of the dish.

For the sambal:
1. Mix peanut butter and hot water to adjust the peanut butter desired consistency.
2. Add vinegar, salt, sugar, lime juice and pureed pepper to and adjust the taste.

Assembling the spring rolls:
1. Horizontally place a tablespoon of filling onto the bottom 1/4 of spring roll wrapper
2. Roll up the bottom wrapper to cover the filling and roll once more to secure filling
3. Fold both sides of the wrapper (on either sides of the filling) and glue them onto the filling side with beaten egg (similar to wrapping a burrito).
4. Finish rolling and glue the end of the wrapper with beaten egg
5. Fry the spring rolls until golden brown

1. The filling should be a little less sweet than sweet soy sauce, but sweet nonetheless.
2. I just read in Wikipedia that people used dried shrimp and minced meat. I don't remember my mom ever making it that way (and it doesn't help that I used to hate this dish), but I think you can add dried shrimp and do away with the fish sauce (maybe about 2 tbs dried shrimp, chopped coarsely will do?). As for the minced meat, I'd say less than 1/4 - 1/3 cup of ground chicken.
3. If you don't have sweet soy sauce... that can be a problem since I've never made this with a substitution. However, I'm sure a combination of salty soy sauce (so long as they're not Kikkoman brand simply because Kikkoman has a flavor that's distinctly Japanese cooking) and brown sugar will do. Again, soy sauce here is a coloring agent.
4. For the sambal, I usually make it to the consistency of clam chowder after it cooled a bit (so it's thick, but slightly watery).
5. You can do away with the vinegar and just use lime juice. The sambal should be slightly sour (ever try salt and vinegar chips?), this is to cut the sweetness of the lumpia.
6. You don't have to make the sambal spicy. It really is there just to complement the sweetness of the spring roll. And you can even skip the sambal altogether. The last time I made this, people opted to just eat it without dipping it in the sambal. So, your call...
7. You can substitute bamboo shots with jicama. Same principle, just julienne the jicama and cook it in soy sauce.
8. Wash the bamboo shoots carefully. Usually there's a chalky layer in the insides of the bamboo shoots, get rid of that.
9. Don't substitute spring roll wrappers with egg roll. They're different.


  1. Thanks for sharing your blog with the Board. Looking forward to reading more now!

  2. YAY! I think I managed to add the follow button. Hahaha! Now I know what that's for!

    Same to you, TOR!