Fresh jicama spring rolls

Fresh jicama spring rolls

Lumpiang singkamas

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

In 2009, a regional food assignment with Selector magazine took me to Negros, an island reputed for its cuisine. Among its many specialties is lumpiang ubod. According to locals, in colonial days, Spanish hacenderos (landowners) snacked on the compact rolls with one hand to keep games of mahjong and cards flowing. This may explain why sauce traditionally poured over lumpia was thereby wrapped within.

Traditional ubod (heart of coconut palm) can be challenging to find abroad, so I’ve substituted jicama, another common lumpia ingredient. It shares a clean flavour and crisp texture, and is wonderful in this dish. While the Negrenese enjoy a generous amount of garlic paste, its raw pungency can be too sharp for the unaccustomed, so test a small amount first.


Quantity Ingredient
80ml vegetable oil
8 garlic cloves, 4 smashed, 4 pounded to a paste
4 large red asian shallots, sliced
250g pork
250g raw prawn meat, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
500g jicama, peeled and cut into 5 mm thick batons
20 spring roll wrappers
20 spring onions, green part only


  1. To make the filling, heat the vegetable oil in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the shallot and cook for 4 minutes, stirring until softened. Increase the heat to medium– high. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon, until browned. Add the prawn meat and cook for 1 minute, stirring often, until just cooked.
  2. Add the sugar, soy sauce and 250 ml water to the pan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the jicama and cook, tossing gently, for 3 minutes, or until the jicama is tender but still has crunch. Season with salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste, then remove the filling with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl, reserving the liquid in the pan. Allow the filling to cool before wrapping.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, return the cooking liquid in the pan to medium–high heat and cook for 2 minutes, or until reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. To make the lumpia, place a wrapper on a work surface. Smear a scant 1⁄4 teaspoon of garlic paste down the centre of each wrapper, then 1 teaspoon of the sauce. Lay a spring onion stem on top, allowing the point to extend beyond one end. Top with 2 heaped tablespoons of filling. Fold over the edge closest to you, then fold over a side and roll to enclose the filling. Run a wet finger along the edge to seal. Repeat to make 20 lumpia, then serve.
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