Let’s read that again: Turon, Plantain EGG ROLLS. Turon is my favorite Filipino dessert and most definitely top 3 overall. I remember the first time I ever tasted it. It was such a daunting experience–I mean, who would think to wrap a dessert in an egg roll wrapper? Filipinos, that’s who.
Unlike other recipes, this one pretty much only has one flavor profile: sweet. If you’re not familiar with plantains they’re from the banana family but have a starchy and low-in-sugar taste. However, unlike bananas, you want to buy plantains that are blackening. That means they’re fully ripe and extra sweet. Jackfruit, the other major component to turon, is also sweet; it tastes kind of like if a mango and pineapple had a baby. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, don’t turn away quite yet. Because the dish is wrapped and fried like a spring roll, it’s much more savory than you’d think.
In case you haven’t picked up on this yet, I’m really big on texture. So, of course that’s what drew me to this dish. Turon is creamy like a banana and jackfruit is slightly starchy, soft, and malleable. The wrapper gives it that extra crunchiness like when you eat ice cream in a cone. The outside is coated in brown sugar, which makes it sticky in the best way. Every bite of turon in a delightful surprise and an explosion of flavor.
On that note, let’s talk about panutsa. As I mentioned, the outside shell is coated in a sticky and sweet brown sugar. Panutsa is a hardened brown sugar candy. It’s made by crystallizing brown sugar in a coconut shell until it hardens and essentially becomes candied. It’s hard to find–I’m not even sure where my mom got it! Nevertheless, we use it to coat our spring roll wrappers for that final punch of sweetness. You only need a little forearm strength and a lot of patience in order to chip off a piece of the panutsa. Then, drop it in the oil so that it coats the turon while it deep fries. If you can’t find panutsa, regular brown sugar is fine. Just drizzle it inside and outside the wrapper before frying.
You need three things–other than the ingredients–to make this recipe: a flat surface, a bowl of water, and a lot of time. Turon is sometimes also called lumpyiang saging (banana lumpia). Lumpia is the Filipino egg roll, so turon is a banana egg roll. The prep for this is kind of like working on a machine belt in a factory: 1. Wrapper 2. Plantain & Jackfruit 3. Fold 4. Repeat. On the upside the cooking is pretty simple: 1. Fry. That’s it.
I can’t say enough about how deep my love for turon goes. It’s so addicting, so be careful! Once you start eating them, you may not stop until they’re all gone! It’s great for gatherings as an appetizer or afternoon snack, or you can just make it as an everyday dessert. Either way, you won’t be sorry. Well, maybe your scale will.
What’s your favorite dessert? What desserts from your countries of origin do you enjoy making?
- 5-7 extra ripe plantains cut into thirds then halved
- 1 large can jackfruit cut into small strips
- 1-2 packets egg roll wrapper
- 1 cup water
- 1-2 cups brown sugar OR
- 1 tbsp panutsa
- canola oil
Lay out one wrapper on a flat surface. Stack plantain and jackfruit. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Fold in the sides of the wrapper. Tightly roll wrapper to 1/2 an inch away from the farther edge. Wet the edge of the wrapper with your finger and seal closed. Set aside.
Repeat until all plantains are wrapped.
Heat canola oil on high heat in a deep fryer, wok or cast iron dutch oven. Drop the panutas bits in the oil. Lower heat to medium high so the panutsa doesn't burn.
If using brown sugar, sprinkle the outside of the wrapped turon with brown sugar before frying.
Fry turon in batches until the outside wrappers are golden brown and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oil. Serve after dinner!