Lumpiang Shanghai (Filipino Pork Eggrolls)

One of my favorite appetizers of Filipino cuisine is lumpia. Lumpia is the Filipino version of eggrolls/spring rolls and it’s a little different from eggrolls/spring rolls of China, Vietnamese, Thai, etc. This specific version is called Lumpiang Shanghai which is typically filled with ground pork, minced carrots, and spices.

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, I made my version of Lumpiang Shanghai filled with ground pork, minced carrots, minced water chestnuts, sliced scallions, garlic & onions. It’s quite time consuming to make these as each lumpia is filled and rolled by hand, left to dry and packed to freeze for future use. Here’s how I make my lumpiang shanghai…

Lumpiang Shanghai Filling
original Joelen recipe inspired from family

1 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil for browning
1 cup minced carrot
1 cup thinly sliced scallions (white & green parts)
1/2 cup minced water chestnuts
1/2 cup minced garlic
1 large onion, minced
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil

– Heat your saute pan over medium high heat and add canola/olive oil when hot.
– Crumble the ground pork into the hot pan and season with salt & pepper to taste.
– Cook until browned and them drain any fat or liquid.
– Place the browned pork in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
– Toss all ingredients until evenly mixed through.
– Prepare your working surface with the lumpia wrappers to beging rolling.

I specifically recommend using the TYJ Spring Roll Pastry Wrappers. You can find this at most Asian markets and some national supermarket chains. The reason why I note this specific brand is because it has a great texture, nice thickness and is easy to work with, Many other brands are too delicate for this specific lumpia filling or they simply fall apart as it cooks. Once you get the wrappers, you’ll notice they must be peeled apart from each other. Do this carefully so that you don’t waste any wrappers!

When working with any type of lumpia/spring roll pastry wrapper, it’s important to remember that they dry out quickly. Once dried out, the wrapper is difficult to work with and the results are not very good. To prevent dried out wrappers, place a damp tea towel or paper towel over the wrappers you’ve peeled apart while you work. Here’s how to begin rolling lumpia…

Place the wrapper with one corner towards you and
put 1 heaping tablespoon in a line like so:

Fold the corner closest to you over the line of filling:

Roll the filling in the wrapper away from you once and
then fold the ends towards the middle like a burrito:

Continue rolling the filled wrapper away from you
until you get to the corner:

Brush the corner with eggwash to seal.

Finish rolling the filled wrapper away from you:

Continue doing this until all filling & wrappers are used up.

To store, carefully place in freezer bags and freeze.

To prepare, fry in hot oil from frozen, making sure no ice crystals
are coating the lumpia… because it will pop and make an oily mess!
They just need to brown on the outside since the pork is already cooked.

Spinach Orange Cranberry Salad

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. I chose this dish to be on my menu because I wanted to incorporate mandarin oranges somehow. I especially like spinach salads and thought the oranges and dried cranberries would not only add some sweet and tartness, but also for color. To me, the best salads incorporate some fruit, toasted or candied nuts and a good cheese to complement it all together.

Spinach Orange Cranberry Salad
recipe adapted from

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning salad
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
10 ounces baby spinach (6 cups), washed and dried
1/2 cup sliced red onions
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Lightly grease a 10-inch square of aluminum foil with butter or vegetable oil and set aside.

Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally, until the sugar turns a golden amber color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the almonds and stir to coat. Continue cooking until the almonds are fragrant and golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to the prepared aluminum foil, using a spoon to spread into a thin layer, and set aside to cool completely.

Combine 1/4 cup orange juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, the Champagne vinegar, olive oil, orange zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne in a mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Transfer the dressing to a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid until you are ready to serve.

Put the spinach in a large serving bowl, then top with the orange segments and french fried onions. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, add dried cranberries, break the caramelized almonds into bite-size pieces and scatter over the top of the salad. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Toss to coat evenly and serve immediately.

Warm Pineapple Brie & Crackers

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. This is not only an appetizer that’s easy to prepare but elegant too! I chose to add this to my Floribbean menu because I’m a fan of cheese and crackers. Brie is one cheese that seems to be a great crowd pleaser and one you can serve as either sweet or savory. Pineapple salsa is something that reminds me of Florida so pairing that with cheese sounded like a great idea!

Warm Pineapple Brie & Crackers
original Joelen recipe

1 large round of brie
1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained & smashed
1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes
1 handful chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely diced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice brie round in half, horizontally and place on a foil lined baking pan.
Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl until fully incorporated.
Spread half of the mixture on top of one half of the brie.
Top with the second half of brie.
Spread the remaining mixture over the second half of brie.
Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes until warmed through.
Serve with crackers or crostini.

Mango Salsa

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. This is great all year round if you can find frozen mango chunks (Trader Joe’s carries it as a staple item.) How can I have a tropical food theme and not include mangoes? This is a different salsa recipe from what I used for my brie appetizer. I like this because of the chunky texture and everyone gets a nice bite of mango.

Mango & Pineapple Salsa
recipe adapted from

1-2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 JalapeƱo chile, minced (include ribs and seeds for a hotter taste if desired)
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups finely diced & slightly mashed tomatoes
1 cup crushed pineapple

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot or acidic for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.

Aloha BBQ Chicken Pizza Squares

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for quite some time. I’ve seen different variations of BBQ chicken pizza in restaurants and this was a way for me to incorporate the trend in my menu with a tropical spin…

Aloha Pizza
recipe adapted from Pampered Chef

2 packages refrigerated croissant dough
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup BBQ sauce, divided
2 cups (8 oz) shredded colby jack cheese
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
handful finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll both packages of dough side by side over bottom of a cookie sheet to cover. Bake 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown; remove from oven.

Spread half of the bbq sauce over hot crust. Sprinkle with chicken, crushed pineapple and cheese over crust. Bake in oven until cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and garnish with fresh cilantro and diced tomatoes.

Citrus Flounder

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. Aside from shrimp, I wanted to include fish on my menu. There is an abundance of seafood in Florida and the Caribbean so I chose on flounder. This is a flounder recipe where I used some citrus basil seasoning I had on hand… and to also capture how Florida is the citrus state.

Citrus Flounder
original Joelen recipe

2 lbs Flounder fillets
1 lemon, sliced
citrus basil seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
flour for dredging
egg wash
panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a baking dish, place flour for dredging.
In another baking dish, place eggwash
In a third baking dish, place panko breadcrumbs.
Season flounder with citrus basil seasoning.
Dredge seasoned flounder in flour, then eggwash and finally in breadcrumbs to coat.
Place breaded flounder in single layer of a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with citrus seasoning blend and salt & pepper to taste.
Drizzle the top of the breaded fish with olive oil.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until done.

Serve with lemon wedges and tropical salsa or finely diced fresh tropical fruits (pineapple, papaya, mangoes, etc).

Shrimp Ceviche

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. Seafood is definitely evident in Floribbean foods and shrimp needed to be included in my menu. I love how easy ceviche is to make and how refreshing it is to eat without being heavy. This was a great recipe that helps me forget about the harsh Chicago winters!

Shrimp Ceviche
served with tortilla chips
recipe adapted from

1 pound medium-small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp salt
3/4 cup lime juice (juice from 4-6 limes)
3/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 2-3 lemons)
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1-2 jalapenoes, ribs and seeds removed, minced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cucumber, peeled finely diced
2-3 roma tomatoes, finely diced

1-2 avocadoes, finely diced

In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of water, salted with 2 Tbsp salt. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute to 2 minutes max, depending on size of shrimp. (Over-cooking the shrimp will turn it rubbery.) Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Drain the shrimp. Cut each piece of shrimp in half, or into inch-long pieces. Place shrimp in a glass or ceramic bowl. Mix in the lime and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour.

Mix in the chopped red onion, jalapenoes & tomatoes. Refrigerate an additional half hour.

Right before serving, add the cilantro, cucumber & avocado. Toss to combine and serve as is, with chips or on top of tostadas.