Meet Alex Retodo. He’s known around San Francisco as the King of Lumpia. Until I was folding up chairs after a macaron class, and Alex strolled into the venue to pick up some equipment, I had never tried lumpia. It’s similar to a spring roll—a handcrafted pastry filled with veggies, meat, and spices, then deep-fried. Turon is the dessert version of lumpia.
Alex grew up as the youngest of five boys, raised in the Bay Area by his immigrant Filipino parents. He loved sports, baseball cards and R&B music, but more than anything, he loved his mama’s cooking.
In Hayward, California in the 1980s, Alex’s mom started the first-ever lumpia booth at his annual school carnival. The lines were long. If he liked you, he’d crawl under the table and sneak you a free lumpia so you wouldn’t have to wait for an hour. Alex’s social status skyrocketed, and he discovered how community could be built through lumpia made with TLC.
Alex later earned a marketing degree and worked as a music producer in the entertainment industry (hanging with the likes of Justin Bieber). But eventually his mama’s salty, crispy, deep-fried lumpia called him home. He returned to San Francisco and built his food empire as The Lumpia Chef.
We were so excited to work together, but I challenged Alex to create a lumpia recipe that could be baked, because many of you don’t own deep fryers. He began experimenting, and the Berry Ricotta 4th of July Lumpia was soon born.
We hope you enjoy this video—we had a lot of fun making it for you!
Watch full recipe video here:
Food La La Recipe: Berry + Ricotta Lumpia with The Lumpia Chef
Serves: 12 lumpia
- 2 TBS cornstarch
- 12 spring roll wrappers (we used Spring Roll Shells from wei-chuan)
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup strawberries, cut in half lengthwise then cut into slivers
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup raspberries, cut in half lengthwise
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- Garnish: graham cracker crumbles, mint leaves, whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine cornstarch with 1 cup water and whisk until mixture forms a glossy glue consistency. Microwave the mixture for 1:30, then set aside.
- Place ricotta in medium-sized mixing bowl and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Gently whisk until combined.
- Add berries and gently stir until combined.
- Lay a spring roll flat with corners lined up at north and south, and place a golf-ball-size of ricotta mixture in center.
- Wrap lumpia (Note: See video for easiest way to wrap.):
- Using your fingers, press the mixture down to elongate it, so it creates a line of filling east to west.
- Top with a few berries.
- Rotate spring roll wrapper one quarter turn to left, and bring the east and west corners into the center, so they touch.
- Fold the south corner over the filling, and pull snuggly on the north corner to complete the lumpia shape.
- Using a pastry brush, spread the cornstarch glue along the north corner, and fold over to finish.
- Brush the top and sides with coconut oil, then place the lumpia on a baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining wrappers.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then gently flip the lumpia over, brush the top with coconut oil, and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then use a serrated knife to cut in half diagonally.
- Garnish with more berries, graham cracker crumbles, and/or whipped cream.
Psst! A few recipe notes:
- Instead of the cornstarch glue, you can also gently beat an egg white and brush that on the lumpia to seal it.
- To make ahead, follow the process through step 7(e), then place it on a baking sheet and freeze. Once the lumpia are frozen, you may transfer them to a large plastic bag and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to bake.