Monday, April 2, 2012

Lumpiang Jicama (My Adapted Version of Lumpian Ubod)

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This recipe came about out of necessity and desperation. One of the things I loved to cook with my Mom is the Lumpiang Ubod which originally hailed from Silay City, a city about 20 minutes away from Bacolod where I was born and where I grew up. Lumpia is what we refer to as anything wrapped in a spring roll wrapper, be it fresh or fried. Ubod or palm of hearts are readily available in the our town since coconut is a major crop in the province. This sweet savory dish is almost like a crepe but is served like a salad since it is kept chilled prior to serving. The shredded palm of hearts are cooked in vinegar and is balanced by a sweet brown sauce that is flavored with freshly chopped garlic and finely chopped roasted peanuts. I actually made several versions of this dish to find that elusive taste of the original lumpia sold in Silay and we did come close to getting it right. Eating the samples were also a lot of fun so I wasn't complaining. By the fourth attempt however, the rest of the family have had enough so we stopped for a bit until we eventually got it as good as the original dish. A cousin of my Mom sells a really great version of this dish but she cooks this from memory so the chances of getting a recipe from her is close to nil. 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Here in the US, I tried making this with canned palm of hearts but they were stored in salted water that they ended up basically falling apart during the cooking process. They also lost the crunchiness that is found in fresh palm of hearts. I then realized that the closest thing to getting the texture right is to use jicama. Jicama is the Mexican version of the turnips from back home. Here in the US, they are grown to humongous sizes and has a bland taste. The sauce takes care of the flavor though so I'm not too concerned. The wrapper is another issue. I have been making my version of this dish with rice paper since I'm wary of eating the frozen spring roll wrappers which are indeed fully cooked. I finally decided to give it a try just to see if there is a difference and if one is better than the other. As it turned out, there isn't that much difference. Both work equally well.

Lumpiang Jicama

2 lbs jicama, peeled and julienned
2 tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper
stalks of green onions (optional)

1. In a large pan, heat the oil at medium heat. Add the jicama and saute 
    until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. 

2. Cook until the jicama is tender but still crunchy. Pour the jicama into 
    a large colander over a large bowl to drain any liquid. Cool to room 

Brown Sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp corn starch in 4tbsp water
1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped

1. Combine all the ingredients except for the corn starch and heat in a 
    pot at medium heat until almost boiling. 

2. Add the cornstarch mixture and mix well. Cook until thickened. 
    Check for flavor and adjust with salt. Add the minced garlic and 
    allow to cool at room temperature. Add the chopped peanuts.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
To prepare the filling, combine 2/3 of the sauce with the drained jicama. If using rice paper, follow instructions on how to soften the rice paper. Once softened, lay a piece of green leaf lettuce and top with 2 tbsp of the filling and one stalk of green onion if using. Fold one edge of the wrapper over the filling and tuck the sides towards the center. Roll the lumpia away from you to seal it. Lay flat on a lined baking sheet and cover with a moist towel. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. 

If using the spring roll wrapper, do away with the lettuce leaf. Both should be served with the remaining brown sauce. If the sauce has cooled and coagulated, add a bit of water and warm it up until pourable.    

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