Low Carb Lumpia (or Egg Roll)
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
If there's one thing that people know about Filipino cuisine, it's lumpia aka eggrolls (Not spring rolls. Y'all more educated than that.). More specifically, I'm talking lumpiang shanghai that are smaller than the eggrolls that you see at a lot of Chinese restaurants. They're just deliciously crispy little snacks filled with meat, possibly some veg. But mostly meat.
That's why you're doing low carb, right?
Unfortunately, low carb makes getting crispy food kind of difficult. Most "normal" crispy things get their crunch from starches that create structures during cooking and dehydration of said starches (i.e.: crunchy things cooked in oil, not water). Crispy things that we tend to encounter on a low carb diet derive from the Maillard reaction (e.g.: crispy chicken wings).
So, to make low carb lumpia or low carb egg rolls we tried a couple different wrappers.
1. Low Carb Tortillas
Makes 4 Lumpia Per Wrap: 1 Net Carb Per Wrap
The use of low carb tortillas moves us really close to taquito territory but whatever. Delicious food is delicious food, and we just want to play with it. Kait loved the tortilla-wrapped ones. I did not. To me, the tortilla to meat ratio was way off because the tortilla is significantly thicker than what I expect out of lumpia.
2. Coconut Wraps
Makes 4 Lumpia Per Wrap: 1 Net Carb Per Wrap
Despite the pliable-ness of the coconut wraps, they are actually quite dry (moisture comes from the oil of the coconut) and ended up browning really fast on the first attempt. We had to dip the coconut wrapper in water just to give the filling a fighting chance at getting cooked. Water is a massive heatsink which will evaporate off by the time the coconut browns. Kait didn't care for these as the wrapper gave a coconut taste to the lumpia.
In both cases, the alternative wrappers are thicker than usual, so we need to make sure we have the heat under control to make sure everything gets cooked by the time the wrappers brown.
So, here's the thing. I'm not going to lie. Traditional egg roll wrappers make for great lumpia (I prefer Wei-Chuan Spring Roll Shells). Shanghai Lumpia (entirely unrelated to Shanghai) is a smaller variety of egg roll, and you can make four lumpia from one wrapper. Turns out, like the low carb options above, the traditional wrapper adds one carb per piece.
How to Make Low Carb Lumpia in 5 Easy Steps
The filling ingredients listed here makes a lot, about 3.5 to 4 lbs worth. Wrapping eggrolls takes some time—which is why my parents made my siblings and I make them—but it's worth it. You can definitely freeze the filling for future use or wrap the entire batch, freeze the lumpia* and fry them when you need them.
If you're freezing them as pre-wrapped, make sure to put down some plastic wrap or something between layers because they will stick to each other.
Ingredients - Lumpia Filling
We adjusted the filling ingredients to be a little more low carb friendly.
2 lb. Ground Pork (900 grams)
1 Bunch of Green Onion (60 grams)
1/2 Cup Garlic (80 grams)
1/2 lb Shiitake Mushrooms (225 grams)
8 oz. can of Water Chestnuts, Drained (225 grams)
1 Large Egg
1/4 cup Soy Sauce (60 grams)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Chop up vegetables finely (This is the sort of thing a food processor was made for) and mix everything together.
2. In a small pan, fry a small sample of the mixture to adjust salt and pepper to taste (I used around 2 tbsp kosher salt, 4 tbsp black pepper or 17 grams (Diamond Crystal) salt and 30 grams pepper.
3. Get yourself something to watch/listen to, maybe con some other people to help, and start wrapping eggrolls.
Wrapping the Lumpia
Prepare the wrappers by cutting the sheets into quarters. If you're using the coconut wraps, dip the sheets in water first to 1) make them a little more flexible and 2) delay the browning of the wrapper when frying eggrolls.
You only need a little filler per eggroll. I can't say how much you need but try making a few and you should get a feel for how much is right in order to fold them up into nice little packages. For about 20 pieces, you end up using maybe 1/2 lb.
Place sheet diagonally
Spoon filler slightly below middle
Fold up once and fold sides in
Dip remaining corner in to beaten egg
Fold up remainder, leaving last corner down,
4. Heat oil to 325 degrees F, cook to internal temperature about 160 degrees F or until the wrapper is dark brown. The alternative wrappers are a little thick so it is real easy to overcook the outside and undercook the inside if the oil temperature gets too hot.
5. Drain, cool, and serve (usually best served fresh).
Nutritional Information Per Lumpia
The above recipe makes roughly 40 pieces of lumpia per pound but it really depends on how big you make these things. **Note** I got these numbers from the USDA and using good old fashioned math (another blog post about that eventually) because these eggrolls are so small, I would have had mild difficulty dealing with the rounding errors of its nutritional information. Be sure to add this recipe to what you use to track your macros with the brand of ingredients you use for the most accurate count. Also, this information is using the traditional wrapper.
Fat: 1.4 grams
Net Carbs: 1.5 grams
Carbs: 1.6 grams
Fiber: 0.1 grams
Protein: 1.3 grams
We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, we'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram using @KaitandKeto!