Lumpia (Filipino Vegetarian Spring Rolls)


You may be wondering why I am publishing another Lumpia recipe when I already have 2 on this blog. Well, you may or may not know it - but there are actually many variations of Lumpia (Filipino Spring Rolls) namely: Lumpiang Sariwa (Fresh Lumpia - unfried with a crepe-like wrapping), Lumpiang Hubad (Naked Spring Rolls - as you may have thought - it's fresh Lumpia without the wrapping), Lumpiang Shanghai (not really from Shanghai but named after the Chinese city which is mostly made with a meat-filling), Lumpiang Ubod so-called because it's made with Ubod which is the heart of the coconut tree and lastly, Lumpiang Gulay or simply Lumpia which is this recipe.

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It was kind of chilly yesterday morning so when hubby and I went out to go downtown I made sure I was wearing a jacket. I thought to myself, "Come on, it's nearly Memorial weekend so where's the heat and summer weather?" You think I should get used to this kind of unpredictable weather having lived in Michigan for over a decade but the Filipino in me always longs for the warmth of the summer sun.

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When we first came to the USA, nearly 12 years ago, one thing that truly struck us was the patriotism of Americans. In the small town where we used to live in Michigan so many houses have the American flag hoisted in their front lawn. In the Philippines, we only do this, if at all, during our own Independence Day and after that, the flag goes back to the closet and won't be taken out again until the next year. But here, it's there pretty much the whole year through. 

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I am swamped with paperwork today. It's not fun. I've done this routine countless times before. But it's never an enjoyable experience; it's always tedious. I am talking about applying for a visa. Since I still have my Filipino passport, even though I am a permanent resident here in the US, whenever we travel abroad I still have to apply for visas (except when I am travelling around South East Asia where there is reciprocity agreement among neighboring countries so no visas are required).

Cassava Cake with Creamy Custard Topping


Upon touchdown at Ninoy Aquino International Airport whenever I return home to Manila, there is one dessert I instantly dream of and crave - CASSAVA CAKE. With a soft and spongy texture, flavored with coconut and condensed milk and then topped with a creamy custard sauce - my taste buds instantly dance with joy with each bite of this favorite Filipino delicacy. Go to any mall or market anywhere in the Philippines and you're sure to find cassava cake being offered on sale. We just love this delicious dessert so much!


Cassava, also known as manioc, Brazilian arrowroot, tapioca and often referred to as yucca (though they're not really the same), is a starchy tuberous root of a tree that grows abundantly in the tropical regions of Asia, Africa and South America. It is in fact a staple much like corn and rice in certain countries. This is what a cassava looks like. You can find these already frozen and grated at many Asian stores so it's very accessible now.  And certainly in the Philippines, you can find the tree all over the place.

Photo credit goes to Amada44 who contributed this photo to Wikipedia.
While there are many uses for cassava the ultimate favorite would be the Cassava Cake. I've had quite a few slices of this delectable treat in the Philippines when I returned home recently and now I miss it so much. Thankfully, a Filipina friend of mine invited me grocery shopping to a huge Asian store in Hartford last week and I was able to grab a packet of this frozen cassava. It was time to make my own version of this yummy cake so I can literally have my cake and eat it, too! ;)


For this version, I added a little ground cardamon which you probably won't find in any other usual cassava cake recipe but I thought it might work and wow it did! Ever so subtle is the taste but you can tell that a tiny amount of cardamom gives this cake an extra layer of yum. I know it for sure because hubby who normally is not into our puddings and homemade delicacies loved it a lot. And then I gave some of this to my Filipino friends to sample and they called me the next day to say that they really enjoyed this cassava cake. So now this version is fully tried and tested and given the seal of approval. But if you can't find cardamom, don't worry it will still come out yummy because the added creamy vanilla custard topping also gives this cake a lot of flavor. Instead of the usual plain condensed milk on top which I used to make for this cake I thought, I'll improvise and add a thin layer of custard (inspired by our leche flan) on top and then sprinkle some brown sugar to really bring it over the top. So next time you go to an Asian store, grab a packet or 2 of grated cassava (if frozen, simply thaw before using) and make  this! Enjoy!

Cassava Cake with Creamy Custard Topping






With a soft and spongy texture, flavored with coconut and condensed milk and then topped with a creamy vanilla custard sauce - your taste buds will dance with joy with each bite of this favorite Filipino delicacy.

Ingredients

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 lb grated Cassava (if frozen, thaw first)
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed Milk
  • 1 14 oz can Coconut Milk
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/4 and 1/8 teaspoon ground Cardamom (optional)

  • For the Custard Topping 

  • 1/2 a 14 oz can of condense milk
  • 1/4 cup Half-n-half (Single Cream)
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons brown Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease the bottom and sides of a baking dish (9x9 or an 8x11).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the grated cassava, condensed milk, coconut milk, eggs, and ground cardamom (if using) until well-mixed. Pour into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until almost fully set. Remove from the oven and pour the custard sauce on top tilting the pan gently to ensure that the sauce has spread evenly. Bake for another 20 minutes or until the custard has set.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and set the oven to broil. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Place under the broiler for about 2 minutes or until the top is nicely golden and caramelized or use a flame torch to achive the same result.
  5. Cool completely before slicing. I promise this is a slice of heaven!
Yield: 12-16 slices
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

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