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.
Caramelised Banana Spring Rolls
10 saba (cooking) bananas or 5 cavendish bananas
20 spring roll wrappers
220g caster 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 5cm 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.
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.
Extracted from 7000 Islands: Cherished Recipes and Stories from the Philippines by Yasmin Newman (Hardie Grant, approx €22).