Pulutan!: Filipino Bar Bites, Appetizers and Street Eats, written by Marvin Gapultos, features over 60 recipes based on Filipino drinking food and bar snacks (Pulutan). Highlights include Frozen Cantaloupe and Calamansi Margarita, Chicken-Fried Eggplant (Tortang Talong), Sweet Purple Yam and Coconut Churros, Sea Salt and Vinegar Peanuts (Mani), and Beer-Steamed Clams with Spam. Following the review, I will be sharing Marvin’s recipe for Pineapple Pigs in a Blanket (Vienna Sausage Lumpiang Shanghai).
Disclaimer: I received this book from Tuttle Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Marvin Gapultos was born and raised in Los Angeles, Calfornia. I have been a fan of his blog, Burnt Lumpia since receiving his first book, The Adobo Road Cookbook, during a food blogger cookbook swap in 2014.
His work can also be found in Serious Eats, The Kitchn, and more. As a Certified Cicerone®, Marvin combines his love of craft beer and Filipino food in Pulutan!
In Tagalog, Pulutan (from the word pulot– “to pick up with the fingers”) translates to bar foods or snacks meant to be paired with alcohol. This book definitely lives up to its name. Marvin begins with a look at the culture surrounding Pulutan from precolonial to modern times.
Many favorites can be found along with variations on the classics. To help with the pairings, Marvin has included a note with each recipe on the perfect beer pairing and how best to enjoy the meal. He also has lists of preferred kitchen items; step-by-step instructions and photos for techniques such as preparing calamansi, lemongrass, bitter melon, and oysters; and tips on beer pairing basics and cooking with beer.
The chapters are divided according to the following: Sauces, Dips & Pickles; Down the Hatch: Cocktails & Elixirs; Small Bites: Pica-Pica & Pintxos; The Raw and the (Barely) Cooked; Fried, Sizzled & Seared; Steamed, Stewed, Poached & Roasted; Off the Grill; and Sweet Treats.
Marvin has provided his own photographs. Every single recipe is accompanied by a quarter to full-page photo of the finished dish. There are also a handful of step-by-step photos for more complicated recipes such as wrapping lumpia, skewering bacon, peeling a pomelo, and opening a young coconut.
Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. The name of each recipe is written in English and Tagalog/local dialect when applicable. Headnotes include background information, serving size, prep/cook time, substitutions, and personal stories.
Pineapple Pigs in a Blanket (Vienna Sausage Lumpiang Shanghai)
These Pineapple Pigs in a Blanket are such a fun variation of Lumpiang Shanghai. During the American occupation of the Philippines from 1898 to 1946, a variety of processed foods were introduced and have found a place as pantry staples such as spam, tang, instant coffee, and Vienna sausages.
Marvin uses these Vienna sausages (or cocktail wieners) as the filling for the lumpia along with a dollop of pineapple jam, sriracha, and thinly sliced green onions for a fairly quick and easy treat. Plus, there is no dipping sauce required since the jam and Sriracha are already in the filling!
Lumpia-lovers will also enjoy the recipe for Lumpiang Tokwa’t Baboy (Pigs’ Ear and Tofu Spring Rolls).
Marvin recommends pairing these Pineapple Pigs in a Blanket with an American IPA with tropical fruit and citrus notes. He states that the hop bitterness and carbonation will help clear the palate of the fried taste. The citrus flavor will complement the pineapple jam along with contrasting the saltiness of the sausage.
If not frying immediately, the Pineapple Pigs in a Blanket can be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet and transferred to a freezer-safe bag when completely frozen for up to three months. They can then be fried straight from the freezer. Just be careful of splatter and add a couple of minutes to the cooking time.
I was able to find spring roll wrappers in my local Asian market, but they are also becoming readily available in larger grocery stores.
I don’t generally come across pineapple jam, but it is very easy to make at home. In a medium saucepan, I simmered the contents of an 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple with 3/4 cup granulated sugar until reduced and thickened.
I also made the Sweet Mango Coconut Shake, Lumpiang Sariwa (Filipino Salad Crepes), Beer-and-Spam Mac and Cheese, and Crispy Oven-Roasted Pork Belly (Lechon Kawali).
There are a variety of cocktail recipes at the beginning of the book and I was particularly drawn to the Sweet Mango Coconut Shake. This drink comes together in less than 5 minutes with just a handful of ingredients. Mango chunks, coconut milk, a pandan syrup (recipe also provided), and golden rum are blended together until smooth and served with a garnish of Calamansi.
The Filipino Salad Crepes are a variation of Lumpiang Sariwa (Fresh Lumpia). The crepe includes coconut milk and beer as the base for the shredded cabbage filling and peanut butter dressing. I especially loved the fried egg topping.
The Beer-and-Spam Mac and Cheese was Chad’s favorite. Another easy recipe, this mac and cheese was actually inspired by J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats. He created a “3 ingredient, 10 minute macaroni and cheese” which was used as the base for this Filipino-influenced version. The stovetop mac and cheese includes edam and cheddar cheese, beer, evaporated milk, and pan-fried cubed spam.
I can’t believe I had gone this long without making Lechon Kawali and am so glad to have an oven-roasted variation. This Crispy Oven-Roasted Pork Belly is prepared by scoring the skin, rubbing with salt, black pepper, and lemongrass, and refrigerating overnight before roasting in the oven and blasting at the highest temperature for the last few minutes. This will help create that wonderfully crispy skin. I served the crispy pork belly with an All-Purpose Vinegar Dip.
Pulutan is the perfect pick for those interested in Filipino cuisine or easy recipes that pair well with beer.
Many of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store. Having a market nearby specializing in Filipino or Southeast Asian items will be helpful in locating lemongrass, calamansi, sukang maasim (Filipino white can vinegar), bagoong (fermented shrimp paste), pandan leaves, quail eggs, spring roll wrappers, pigs’ ears, small dried shrimp, skin-on pork belly, and sambal oelek.
Substitutions are included when available. A list of basic pantry items can be found at the beginning of the book for those unfamiliar with Filipino ingredients.
Pineapple Pigs in a Blanket (Vienna Sausage Lumpiang Shanghai) Recipe
Excerpt from Pulutan!
Pineapple Pigs in a Blanket (Vienna Sausage Lumpiang Shanghai)
- 21 square spring roll wrappers 8×8 inch (20×20 centimeters), thawed if frozen
- 4 tablespoons pineapple preserves or jam
- Sriracha sauce to taste
- 2 green onions (scallions) thinly sliced
- 21 Vienna sausages (3 cans) or cocktail wieners
- Canola oil for frying
- Place a lumpia wrapper on a clean, dry work surface so that one corner of the wrapper is pointing at you (i.e. positioned like a diamond rather than a square).
- Place a generous teaspoon of the pineapple jam just under the midpoint of the diamond, closest to the corner pointing at you. Squirt some sriracha sauce onto the jam, then sprinkle a few sliced green onions on top. Place one sausage horizontally over all.
- Roll the corner closest to you up and over the filling until half of the wrapper remains.
- Fold the left and right corners of the wrapper over the filling, folding back any excess that extends beyond the filling.
- Using your fingers or a pastry brush, dab the edges of the wrapper with water.
- Continue to roll the lumpia toward the final corner at the top.
- Place the finished lumpia on a plate underneath a damp towel. Continue rolling until all of the filling has been used.
- To freeze the lumpia, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until completely frozen. Transfer the frozen lumpia to a large resealable food storage bag and store in the freezer for up to three months.
- To fry the lumpia, pour oil into a large frying pan to a depth of at least 1 inch (2.5 centimeters). Heat the oil over high heat until it reaches 375˚F (190˚C) on a deep-fry thermometer.
- Working in batches, fry the lumpia, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes total. (If frying frozen lumpia, fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.)
- Transfer the fried lumpia to a paper-towel lined plate and serve immediately.