Turon is a popular Filipino snack that’s sweet, crunchy, and satisfying. Ripe saba banana, jackfruit, and brown sugar are rolled together in a flour lumpia wrapper and fried to a golden crisp. It is then coated with rich caramel for added decadence.
Typically served for merienda (Filipino afternoon snack) or dessert, turon has the perfect blend of flavor and texture. Turon is a treat I grew up eating regularly. We rarely made it at home because there were several Filipino shops nearby that made fresh turon every afternoon. I’m not sure if those little mom and pop shops still exist. It has been a long time since I’ve visited my childhood neighborhood. When the craving for something sweet and crunchy hits, I run to the nearest Asian market and find the ripest saba bananas they have.
Turon is very easy to make. SUPER easy. Only a handful of ingredients are needed: lumpia wrappers (I keep a stash in the freezer at all times), brown sugar, saba banana, and jackfruit. The addition of jackfruit is optional. I love jackfruit. It adds another dimension of sweetness. However, overripe jackfruit tends to have a “cheesy” flavor that many find off-putting. Fresh jackfruit may be difficult to find, plus the whole fruit is rather large. Unless you LOVE jackfruit, it is perfectly suitable to use canned jackfruit- especially because you only need a small amount. (Use the leftover jackfruit to make my Halo-Halo!)
What is a Saba Banana?
Saba bananas are native to the Philippines. Saba bananas are chubbier, thicker, and more angular in shape than standard bananas. They can be found as most Asian markets under various names such as” cardaba, sweet plantain, or papaya banana. If you cannot find saba banana, standard bananas can be used in its place.
Saba bananas start off lime green in color. At this point, they’re rock hard. They will turn yellow as they ripen and gradually soften. They are ready once the peel is deep yellow with heavy spotting. Saba bananas can be eaten raw, but in my opinion, they taste much better cooked.
How to assemble and roll turon:
Gather all your ingredients and have them ready. Place square lumpia wrapper on a work surface with one point of the square facing you. Coat sliced saba banana with brown sugar and place horizontal on lower 1/3 of lumpia wrapper. Add a couple strips of jackfruit, if using.
Fold the bottom tip of the square wrapper up to cover the banana and jackfruit. Fold the right and left edges in to create an envelope.
Use both hands to roll the banana into a log. Moisten the top edge of the wrapper with water and continue to roll the wrapper up to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Turon can be fried immediately or frozen and saved for later frying.
I cannot stress enough the importance of using a candy thermometer when frying. This is the only way to accurately monitor the oil temperature. The oil temperature will fluctuate during frying, you will have to turn your heat up and down accordingly to keep it at an even 350°F.
After frying, you are welcome to enjoy the turon at this point. Dip it in chocolate sauce. Perhaps eat it with a scoop of ice cream. However, I require the extra step of tossing it in caramel. This part is quick and easy. Simply melt sugar in a skillet. Once the sugar has liquified and caramelized into a rich amber puddle, toss in the fried turon and coat it will that sugary goodness. Now, it’s truly ready to eat!
Turon (Filipino Fried Banana Rolls)
Yield: 10 fried rolls
- 10 8-inch square lumpia wrappers, or spring roll wrappers
- 5 Ripe saba bananas, split lengthwise*
- 1/3 cup sliced jackfruit, fresh or canned
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- water, for sealing wrappers
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/3- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
Place square lumpia wrapper on work surface with one point of the square facing you. Coat saba banana with brown sugar and place horizontal on lower 1/3 of lumpia wrapper. Add a couple strips of jackfruit.
Fold the tip of the square wrapper up to cover the banana and jackfruit. Fold the tip of the right side and left side in to create an envelope.
Use both hands to roll the wrapper into a log. Moisten the top tip of the wrapper with water and continue to roll the wrapper up to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Add about 1/2-inch to 1-inch of vegetable oil to heavy bottomed frying pan (such as cast iron pan or dutch oven). Set over medium heat and bring oil to a temperature of 350°F (175°C). It is best to use a candy thermometer to monitor oil temperature. This will result in even cooking.
Once oil is at the proper temperature, carefully place banana rolls seam side down into pot. Work in batches and do not overcrowd the pot. Cook on each side for 90 seconds to 2 minutes until golden in color. Place on a wire rack set over a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining turon.
To make caramel coating: In a heavy bottomed sauce pan set over medium heat, melt sugar. The sugar melted sugar will start to caramelized and brown. Once the caramel is a golden amber color, remove from heat. Toss in turon and fully coat in caramel. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
- Saba Banana: Philippine saba bananas can be found at Asian supermarkets. Saba bananas are chubbier, thicker, and more angular in shape than standard bananas. Ripe saba bananas will be soft and the peel will turn yellow with black spots or bruising. Saba is also called cardaba, sweet plantain, or papaya bananas. If you cannot find saba banana, regular banana can be used in its place.
- Jackfruit: While fresh jackfruit is best, it may be difficult to source. Canned jackfruit can be used in its place. Canned jackfruit will be sweeter since it it soaked in a simple syrup mixture. Drain canned jackfruit before using and slice into a small strips. If desired, omit jackfruit entirely.
- Lumpia Wrappers (or Spring Roll Wrappers): These can purchased frozen or refrigerated. Get the one that can be eaten fresh or fried. The ingredients list should no include eggs. It should be primarily flour, water, and salt. It is sometimes listed as "all-purpose" lumpia wrappers.
- See this post by David Lebovitz on how to make the perfect caramel for tips