Anna Swann of Ulam, a beloved Dallas-based Filipino pop-up, shares her recipe for deep-fried banana and jackfruit lumpia: turon.
Ulam is one of a handful of pop-ups fueling Dallas’ local Filipino food scene. Anna Swann, who grew up in California’s East Bay, moved to Texas in 2006. A little over a decade later, she launched Ulam to fill the Filipino food void she felt, missing that taste of home. One of those flavors arrive in the form of turon.
Turon, in this Filipino iteration, is sweet lumpia filled with banana or both banana and jackfruit, which it is in this case, and then fried to a golden brown. It’s a perfect treat any time but especially during the festive holiday season, when families are gathering—you can make a lumpia assembly line because these can certainly be a labor of love. Here, in her words, Swann shares her love of turon and her recipe to make some at home. —Rosin Saez
Ever since I was little, turon has been my favorite dessert. With my nickname being “Anna Banana,” I guess it was meant to be. Bonus: It was one of my late lolo’s favorite desserts, too. As he got older and was not supposed to eat them, my grandfather would get the younger great-grandchildren to sneak him some sweets. Try as we might, there was no resisting the temptation of turon. Banana wrapped in a fried crispy wrapper— what’s not to love? Traditionally, turon has the caramelized sugar coating on the outside of it. That was not always my favorite part. When I started making it myself, I chose to omit it. However, in my version, I add a touch of warmth by mixing cinnamon into the filling.
Turon With Chocolate Coconut Sauce
4-6 very ripe plantains (barely any yellow skin showing)
1 pack of lumpia or spring roll wrappers (Wei Chuan is my preferred brand)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 can of jackfruit, sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ cup water
Oil for frying
Chocolate Coconut Sauce
½ cup cocoa powder
2-3 Tbsp. of sugar (can add more to taste)
Pinch of salt
½ cup of water
1 can of full fat coconut milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Yields two cups.
To make the turon: Remove the wrappers from the freezer to thaw. Place the sliced jackfruit, if using, in a container and set aside. In a shallow baking dish or on a large plate, combine the sugars, cinnamon, and set aside.
Cut plantains into quarters. First cut in half lengthwise, then turn and cut those pieces in half (not lengthwise—think banana split!).
In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and set aside. This will be your “glue” to seal the turon.
To wrap your turon: Carefully take one wrapper from the package and place it on a cutting board where it looks like a diamond in front of you. You want one corner facing toward you. Take one piece of the banana and coat in the sugar mixture and place about one-third of the way up from the bottom corner.
If you are using jackfruit, place one or two slices on top of the banana. Next, take the bottom corner of the wrapper and fold it over the banana and jackfruit. Pull it back to tighten it around the banana and secure it.
Then, take the corners on the side and fold them over towards the middle, continue to roll your turon upward. When just the top corner is left (about one to one and a half inches), brush the edges with the water mixture and seal your turon. Set aside and continue rolling the rest of the pack.
Want to fry your turon later? Store in gallon sized bags and freeze them!
Ready to fry? In a medium-large pan, fill with enough vegetable oil (or other neutral oil) until it is about one and a half to two inches high. Heat oil to 350°F.
When the oil is hot enough, carefully lower the turon into the oil. Start with one corner and gently lay it down. Tongs will be your best friend here if hot oil makes you nervous. Depending on how big your pan is, you should be able to fit about three to six at a time. (Any more than that, your oil temperature may drop too quickly.)
Fry for about one minute and then turn over and cook for about another minute or until your turon is a nice golden brown. Remove your turon and place them to drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels, fitted with a wire rack on top. Repeat until all of your turon are cooked.
Serve on a plate or platter with the chocolate sauce in a small bowl for dipping.
Make the chocolate sauce: In a heavy saucepan over low heat, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Add the water and whisk mixture until smooth. Raise heat to medium or medium-high and bring mixture to a boil for about one minute. Then bring heat back down to low and carefully add coconut milk while whisking until everything is combined and smooth.
The sauce will begin to thicken—you can raise the heat to medium-low to help it thicken. If it’s too thick for your liking, add a splash of water. Give it a taste and adjust accordingly. If you’d like more sweetness, add more sugar. For more chocolate flavor, add a bit more cocoa powder and whisk in thoroughly.
Once it’s to your desired flavoring, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Any leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for about five to seven days.