Filipino turon (or banana lumpia) is a snack made of ripe plantain wrapped in spring roll wrapper then deep fried to perfection. Serve with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce and you have yourself a dessert that transports you straight to the tropics where the sun is always shining and the sound of banana trees swaying with the warm breeze lulls you into a sweet siesta.
When I was new in Canada all those years ago, I was homesick all the time (I still am, though not as often) and food helped me deal with that. I cannot begin to describe to you the euphoria I get when I take that first bite of something, anything and it tastes like the ones from home.
Which brings me to this Filipino turon or banana lumpia recipe. Ironically I’ve never been a big fan of it. My mom would buy half a dozen from the local market and I would mostly ignore it.
But now, turon and I – we’re tight. It’s a simple snack but topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with salted caramel sauce – I would serve this to our most important guests at our fanciest dinner party in a heartbeat.
What is turon or banana lumpia?
Turon (pronounced too-ron) is a popular banana snack in the Philippines. It’s usually made of sliced bananas (ideally the saba variety), a piece of jackfruit and sugar, then wrapped in spring roll wrapper and deep fried.
You can find it anywhere – in your local sari-sari store (think: bodega but more grassroots), on the street from your favourite street vendor and, in recent years, in fancy restaurants.
How do you make Filipino turon?
But it’s really very easy to make turon from scratch.
Here in North America, the only challenge is finding the right ingredients but once you have everything you need, there’s nothing to it.
What is turon made of?
So what are these magic ingredients? You would need:
- Sweet jackfruit (optional)
- Spring roll wrappers
After that, the rest are easy: sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and oil for frying.
Right. Let’s talk ingredients.
How to choose plantains for turon
First there’s the banana. Like I said, traditionally Filipino turon is made of saba bananas but in all the years I’ve lived here I haven’t once seen saba anywhere. They are available frozen but they look sketchy so I’ve never even tried.
So I always go with plantain. Which is more widely available and close enough to saba in taste and texture IMO. I would steer away from regular bananas because they tend to turn to mush when fried and are too sweet.
Note that when choosing plantains for your turon, the uglier the better.
Unlike bananas, you want bruises on your plantain. You want a dull yellow plantain that’s semi-soft with patches of black (or mostly black). That means they’re ripe and ready to use.
You don’t want perfect green ones because they are unripe and unripe plantains are bitter and just nasty.
How to cook turon with jackfruit
Traditionally, turon is also made with sweet jackfruit. We don’t particularly like jackfruit though so we left it out in this recipe.
If you like it, you can easily buy it canned; just put a sliver of jackfruit with the plantain before you roll it.
What kind of spring roll wrappers to use for Filipino turon
Next are the spring roll wrappers. You can usually find spring roll wrappers in Asian stores or at the international aisle/frozen section of your local supermarket.
Don’t buy the rice paper kind. You need the ones that can also be used for wontons.
How do you make turon crispy?
We have a deep fryer and that makes it super convenient to fry a batch of turon. And they turn out evenly fried and crispy each time.
If you don’t have one, no worries. Just make sure you use enough oil to cover your banana lumpia completely and that your oil is hot enough. Then flip your turon so that each side is a nice golden brown.
Also, don’t crowd your pan so that the turon don’t stick to one another. Patience is key!
Can you make turon in the oven?
Worried about all that oil? You can definitely bake turon and still achieve that crunch. I’ve tried that with these baked apple turon and it worked perfectly.
Head on over there for a second to see how you can bake your banana lumpia instead of fry them. I also have step-by-step pictures on how to wrap turon that’s a great reference.
How do you make caramel for turon?
Something needs to be said about this salted caramel sauce deliciousness, which we serve on the side. The two together is a match made in deep fried snacks heaven.
And it’s super easy to make salted caramel sauce. You just whisk all ingredients in a heavy-bottom saucepan until it thickens to your desired consistency. Less than 15 minutes is all it takes.
Add vanilla ice cream to the mix and you have yourself your new favourite afternoon snack.
Other delicious Filipino recipes
Are you throwing a party? Try these delicious Filipino dishes and wow your guests.
Start with no-cook, no-bake, easy and refreshing apple buko salad. Made with tender young coconut and crisp apples, it’s sweet and light!
For your main course, try sweet and salty spaghetti. It’s a welcome change from traditional Italian-style pasta. Plus it has hotdogs in it!
As a side to your Filipino-style spaghetti, bake some homemade pandesal or Filipino bread rolls. Crusty, fluffy, sweet and salty in one.
Filipino Turon (Banana Lumpia)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 pcs ripe plantain each one cut into 4 3-inch pieces (see note 1)
- 8 pcs 8x8 inch spring roll wrapper thawed according to package instructions (see note 2)
- 1/8 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup canola oil enough to deep fry the turon
- In a medium bowl, mix the 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Position a spring roll wrapper on the counter so that when you look down on it, it's diamond shaped.
- Take a piece of cut plantain and roll it in the sugar/cinnamon mix until completely coated. Then place it horizontally in the middle of your diamond.
- To wrap the plantain, imagine you're making an envelope that's supposed to hug the plantain tightly: do the bottom then the sides and then up (see note 3). Gently roll away from you until you have a small triangle flap left on top. To seal, dab a generous amount of cornstarch mix on the flap then close.
- Once all plantains are wrapped, get your oil ready for frying. If using a deep fryer, set it to 338F (or approximate - like ovens, deep fryers are all different). While waiting for the oil to get hot enough, prepare a baking sheet by placing several pieces of paper towels on it. This is where you'll place the banana lumpia after frying to drain excess oil.
- They are done when golden brown on both sides.
- Let the banana lumpia cool a bit before serving. You can also drizzle salted caramel sauce on them or serve them with ice cream.
- A plantain has a slightly harder shell than a banana so the easiest way to cut it is by cutting the ends off first then making a slight cut at the side, making sure not to cut all the way through and hitting the plantain inside. Once you've done that, you can easily peel the skin off. To cut the plantain for this recipe, cut it in half lengthwise first then again half crosswise so you end up with 4 pieces.
- You can usually find spring roll wrappers in Asian stores or at the international aisle/frozen section of your local supermarket. Don't buy the rice paper kind. You need the ones that can also be used for wontons.
- Check out this post for detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to wrap turon.
Did you make banana lumpia? Tell me about it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.
(This post was updated on 29 January 2019.)