Friday, 27 January 2017

Lumpiang Hubad - Naked Springrolls

Doesn't look like spring rolls, does it? This is a Philippine stir-fry dish with a joking name - the typical filling ingredients of lumpia (Philippine spring rolls) are sautéed and served with a typical lumpia sweet peanut sauce. As with skillet lasagne, cabbage roll casseroles, or tamale casseroles, people have taken a beloved but very time-consuming traditional dish and made something with most of the flavour but far less work.

Lumpia vary a lot in what may be put in them, and this is a pretty flexible recipe too. Many of the versions I saw called for green beans, which are not available right now (frozen I guess, but I think them too soggy for an application like this) but most of the other commonly used vegetables are surprisingly available winter vegetables for us. I've categorized this as an all-year-round recipe though, because you can adjust the veggies according to what is in season.

As a stir-fry, it is really quite plain. It is the sauce that makes it distinctive, and it should be applied lavishly and mixed in well for best results. You can make it with or without meat added; most recipes I saw called for a mixture of chicken or pork with shrimp. I would think tofu would also work quite well here if you wanted a vegetarian version. In that case I would press it and sauté it until quite crisp before continuing with the recipe.

I'm calling for chopped peanuts over the top as most recipes do. I think they would really improve it, but alas, there were none in the house in spite of my distinct recollection of having purchased some recently. Mr. Ferdzy tends to regard them as his own personal snack (not without reason as I don't eat peanut products often) aaaand, yeah. Next time. Oh, and none of the recipes I saw called for ginger, but I think it needs a little bit of oomph, especially since I have stripped out most of the sugar.

3 to 4 servings
20 minutes prep time to make the sauce
40 minutes prep time to make the stir fry

Lumpiang Hubad - Naked Springrolls

Make the Sauce:
6 to 8 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon peanut or mild vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
3/4 cup chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup peanut butter

Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and grate the ginger. Put the oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the peanut butter, in a small bowl. Set aside.

Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, for one or two minutes until the garlic just begins to colour. Stir up the bowl of sauce ingredients and pour it in. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until it thickens and clears. Remove it from the heat and mix in the peanut butter, working it well to avoid lumps.

Scrape the sauce into a serving dish and set it aside. Return the pan to the stove top - if you have scraped it out well you will not need to wash it - to use again for the stir fry.

Make the Stir-Fry:
125 grams (1/2 pound) bean-thread noodles
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
1 small sweet potato
6 large white mushrooms
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
2 cups bean sprouts
250 grams (1/2 pound) chopped raw chicken and/or pork OPTIONAL
2 to 3 tablespoons peanut or mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped peanuts to garnish

Soak the bean-thread noodles for 15 minutes in warm tap water. When they soften, snip them up with a pair of kitchen shears into manageable lengths. Put a pot of water on to boil and boil them for 1 minute, then drain well.

Meanwhile, peel and cut the onion into slivers. Peel and grate the carrot. Clean and trim the sweet potato, and grate it with the skin on. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into slices, first one way and then the other (to form fairly long thin pieces). Trim and finely shred the cabbage. Rinse the bean sprouts and drain them very well. If using the meat, trim it of excess fat and chop into bite-sized pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the skillet over high heat. If using meat, add it now. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, and onions, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cabbage, along with spoonful of water, and continue to cook and stir for a few more minutes. You may need to add a little more oil at this point. Season with the soy sauce.

When the mixture appears to be essentially cooked - you are particularly observing the meat, if used, add the drained noodles and bean sprouts and mix them in well; continue to cook and stir for a few minutes until they are well amalgamated into the mixture and the bean sprouts are slightly wilted. Turn the stir-fry out onto a serving dish (or dishes), serve with the sauce and sprinkled with chopped peanuts.

Last year at this time I made Scotch Broth with Dried Peas & Barley.

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