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Natalie Coughlin's Grandma's Lumpia

Grandma's Lumpia
Cook To Thrive- Natalie CoughlinErin Kunkel / (C) Erin Kunkel


  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons liquid Maggi seasoning or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 30-45 to lumpia wrappers
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Thai sweet chili sauce, for serving
  • Chef notes

    When I think of holiday get-togethers with family, the dish I look forward to most is my grandma's lumpia. I've spoiled my dinner plenty of times eating too many of them. There are countless versions of lumpia, and while I've tried and liked quite a few, but these are the best!

    Technique tip: You can also "oven-fry" the lumpia. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the lumpia on the baking sheet with an inch of space between them. Spray the lumpia with cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 425°F oven until deep golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

    Swap option: Maggi seasoning is what my grandma uses to season her lumpia, and it is readily available in the international section of most grocery stores. If you cannot find it, feel free to substitute soy sauce. If you can't find lumpia wrappers, Chinese wheat flour-based spring roll wrappers will work too.



    In a large bowl, combine the pork, onions, water chestnuts, garlic, Maggi seasoning, and white pepper. Using your hands, mix thoroughly.


    In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/3 cup water.


    Gently separate the lumpia wrappers (they're very delicate), arrange them on a clean work surface, and cover them with a clean damp dish towel or paper towels to prevent them from drying out. Keep the wrappers covered while you are assembling each lumpia. To assemble one, place a wrapper on a cutting board. Using a pastry brush or your finger, moisten the top edge of the wrapper (the one farthest from you) with the cornstarch mixture. Place 2 tablespoons of the pork mixture along the center of the wrapper, forming a log shape. Bring the bottom edge of the wrapper up over the log, pulling it tightly, and then fold the left and right sides of the wrapper toward the center over the log. Tightly roll up the lumpia and press to seal the edge. Place the lumpia on a plate, cover it with plastic wrap, and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.


    Set a wire rack on a baking sheet and place several layers of paper towels on top of the rack.


    Heat 3-4 inches of vegetable oil in a large wok or pot to 375°F (if you don't have a thermometer, test the oil by inserting the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If bubbles appear immediately, the oil is ready). Working in batches, deep-fry the lumpia, using tongs to flip them over halfway through, until they are a deep golden brown all over, about 3 minutes total. Using a spider strainer or a slotted spoon, transfer the lumpia to the paper towels to drain.


    Serve the lumpia warm with the sweet chili sauce for dipping.

    Reprinted from Cook to Thrive: Recipes to Fuel Body and Soul. Copyright © 2019 by Natalie Coughlin. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Erin Kunke. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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