Caramelised Banana Spring Rolls (Turon). This popular Filipino street stall snack is a great way to turn over-ripe bananas into something spectacular.
What is it?
Turon is a popular pick for a Filipino merienda (snack) and a common street stall item. Vendors with makeshift deep-fryers made from disused oil drums, rickety gas bottles and oversized woks can be found at nearly every market or town square. Saba is plunged into hot oil to make additional favourite Filipino treats, including maruya (splayed banana in batter), banana cue (caramelised brown sugar–coated banana) and its variation, kamote cue (made with sweet potato). They are often popped on a skewer to eat.
“When a bunch of ripe saba (cooking) bananas arrives in the morning at my cousin’s place, afternoons are blessed with crisp banana spring rolls. My family’s cook, Tess, forgoes the oft-added sweet langka (jackfruit) in place of an extra scatter of sugar. When piping hot, a little burst of liquid caramel accompanies each bite; at room temperature, it hardens into a thin sugar crust. Turon is one of my all-time favourite sweet snacks.
For turon, oil temperature is critical to ensure the banana cooks through before the pastry overcooks; a kitchen thermometer gives the best results. Wrapping the filling tightly and sealing well also prevents the caramelised sugar seeping out. While fresh saba is the choice for turon, frozen fruit can be found at specialist Filipino grocery stores. Cavendish are equally delicious,” says Newman.
10 saba (cooking) bananas or 5 cavendish bananas
20 spring roll wrappers
220 g (8 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Cut the saba bananas in half lengthwise; if using cavendish bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then widthwise.
Place a spring roll wrapper on a work surface. Place a banana piece 5 cm (2 inches) from the edge closest to you, then scatter 2 heaped teaspoons of sugar over the top. Fold over the bottom edge, then fold in the sides and roll up tightly to enclose the filling. Run a wet finger over the edge to seal. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, banana and sugar.
Fill a deep saucepan one-third full of vegetable oil and place over medium–high heat until the oil reaches 170ºC (325ºF).
Working in batches, gently lower the turon into the hot oil and deep-fry for 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel, then immediately transfer to a clean plate (turon will stick to paper towel if left too long).
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.