Homesick Cooking//

Homesick Cooking: Crunchy, gooey turon

My sister and I drag our bags into the elevator and stand in silence after an exhausting day of school. As we ascend, I get a funny feeling in my stomach.

“I feel like there’s turon today,” I tell her.

Her eyes light up at the thought of a crunchy, gooey fried and caramelized banana — it’s exactly what we need after a long day like this one. It’s rainy season in Manila, and the tropical showering of warm rain outside has set the mood perfectly for a nice treat.

As we step out of the elevator onto our floor, we are immediately greeted by the inviting, sweet aroma.

“How did you know?” my sister asks me. “How do you always know when Esther makes turon?”

“I don’t know,” I tell her. “I just feel it.”

We race to our front door. I grab the handle and yank it open with full force — whoever gets to the plate first gets the first pick, after all. Our bags drop from our shoulders and onto the floor as we sprint to the kitchen where Esther, our helper, is frying up the last batch of turon. The vibrant sizzle of the oil sings a chorus of transformation as the flour lumpia wrapper crispens, coated with a sugar glaze.

I grab a plastic IKEA plate from when we were little and pile on three pieces of turon, carefully selecting the ones with the most sugar and the highest crunch-to-banana ratio. I sink into my couch and make myself comfortable before savouring my first bite. As I switch on the TV, the crispy lumpia wrapper melts in my mouth, and all is well.

Ingredients: makes six rolls of turon

  • Three large ripe bananas
  • Six lumpia wrappers (These are typically made from flour, cornstarch and water. You can find them at any Asian grocery store. For a gluten-free option, you can opt for rice paper.)
  • Three-quarters of a cup of brown sugar
  • Around one cup of oil for frying

Begin by peeling your bananas then slicing them in half once, lengthwise.

You’ll need to wrap each banana half in a lumpia wrapper — like you might while making a burrito or spring roll. Place it in the middle of the wrapper, around five cm from the bottom, then fold the bottom up. Fold the left and right sides over the banana and continue rolling your banana up until you run out of wrapper.

If you want your turon to be extra sweet, you can roll your banana pieces in brown sugar before wrapping them.

In a pan, heat up enough oil to pan-fry the pieces. The oil should come halfway up the sides of the rolls. Once it’s hot enough to fry, sprinkle one to two tablespoons (per turon roll) of brown sugar into the oil — you can adjust this amount depending on how sweet you want your turon. As soon as the brown sugar floats to the top of the oil, add your rolls.

When the wrapper turns golden brown and sticks to the brown sugar, your turon is done. It’s best served hot, and if you’re feeling it, with some vanilla ice cream. You can also store the rolls in the freezer before they’re cooked if you want to use them on a later day.