18 September 2012

Banana Spring Rolls (Turon)


Now that both kids are in school, I am often asked what I do in the mornings.  "Which mornings?",  I often reply.   School only started last Thursday and they are still on shortened schedules until the end of the month.   If these mornings signify the freed one hour and a half these past days, then I must admit that I almost don't feel it.  After fixing the beds, collecting the clothes and toys, cleaning up, emptying the dishwasher and washing machine, hanging the clothes, the whole morning is lost.  I wish I had THAT free morning that everyone seems to impose on me like a luxury that I never had.  Sometimes, stay-at-home moms are thought of as the freest people on earth.  We are not. 


There are no sick leaves, no vacation leaves, no working schedule, no colleagues to rely on and absolutely no pay.  We barely even have time for ourselves.   Have you ever seen a stay-at-home mom who looks well-rested and looks like she just came from a beauty farm?  I think we are the worst-looking lot if I may say so. 


Oh well.  A part of our job to make a household run smoothly is to cook for the family.  I do it twice a day, sometimes even three if I feel like it, every single day.  One of the snacks or desserts I loved when I was growing up was turon or banana spring rolls.  They are fried spring rolls stuffed with bananas and strips of jackfruit.  They can be heavy at times because they are fried but this is one way of enjoying cooked bananas.


When I find plantain bananas, I often do these spring rolls at home.  Sometimes coated with sugar, sometimes without.  Either way, they're good.   Saba or cardaba bananas are still the best cooking bananas in my opinion because they are much sweeter and much more delicious. If you are lucky enough to find yourself choosing between the two in a fruit market, get the saba bananas.  In the Philippines, saba bananas are the only ones we had whereas here in Italy, I can only get the plantains.   I wait for them to ripen to yellow before I use them for cooking.  If they are still green, they come out dry, hard and insipid.


Philippine cuisine is one of the least known cuisines and outside the country, it's pretty hard to find a restaurant specializing in Philippine cooking.  So when someone told me about SARAP, a new fast-food type Filipino restaurant that recently opened in Rome, I immediately herded my family to try it out.  The place only has a few tables and some bar stools on one side of the restaurant.  I noticed that there is no kitchen so the food is already pre-cooked and reheated there. For this reason the menu is quite limited.  There is a section for halo-halo, a dessert of mixed sweetened beans and fruits with crushed ice and milk (lower right portion of the photo above).  The food is wonderful, the owners are genial and the place is pristine.  It's the place to come to for a little meal from the country I used to call home.  Sarap.  It means delicious.

Have a good week everyone!



Banana Spring Rolls (Turon)

Ingredients:
Makes 8 rolls
  • 2 ripe plantain bananas or 4 saba or cardaba bananas (Plantain bananas are usually bigger than saba bananas.  So I am gauging 1/2 plantain is equivalent to 1 saba.)
  • 8 spring roll wrappers
  • muscovado sugar or regular brown sugar
  • 8 slivers of jackfruit (fresh or preserved in syrup)
  • oil for frying
  • chopped pistachios (optional)
Directions:
  1. Peel & cut away about two centimeters from both ends of the bananas and where there are discolorations.  Slice bananas lengthwise.  If using plantain, cut in half horizontally then half again vertically.  If using saba, cut in half lengthwise.  
  2. Lay down spring roll wrapper on a a plate or a working board.  Put a slice of banana on it, closer to one end.  Put a sliver of jackfruit and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Fold the side closest to the banana to cover it then fold both ends.  Roll until the end.  Pat the end of the wrapper with a little bit of water to make it stick.  Do the other rolls.
  4. Heat a lot of oil in a saucepan for frying.  To check if the oil is ready, dip a wooden skewer in the oil and if bubble appear around it, then the oil is hot enough.  Fry the spring rolls until golden brown & crunchy.
  5. If you want the caramel to coat the bananas well, warm up some oil in another saucepan (Or the same saucepan. Just lessen the oil from the saucepan.) then add about 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  When the sugar melts and the oil is hot, roll the spring rolls on the caramel until they are all well coated.  
  6. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios before serving (if using). 




20 comments:

  1. Yum, can I dip these in Nutella? ;)

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    1. I never tried it myself but you sure can Laura! It seems like a wonderful idea!

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  2. I've had these before and they were coated with sugar (caramel). They were so delicious that I think I had four in one sitting! I can't believe I have encountered them again. This time, I will have to make them too. Thanks for sharing! Regards,Ron

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    1. I'm glad you "met" again. I hope you enjoy them the second time around Ron!

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  3. I would never have thought of using spring roll wrappers for dessert, but why not. It might be nice to caramelise the banana in brown sugar and butter first, perhaps with some walnuts chopped up. All sorts of possibilities are popping into my head now.

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    1. Adding chopped walnuts is a marvelous ides Suzanne!

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  4. I agree with you we mothers meaning stay at home moms don't have a break even when all the kids are in school.
    Anyhow these banana spring rolls look incredible. What a great snack for after school. Will try it soon!!!!

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    1. My husband actually overheard 3 mothers from my daughter's class speaking about how fast time flies for them too. One minute they just dropped off the kids to school, then after chore or two, the next minute, they are rushing back to school to pick up the kids. It is a simple and good snack. I think I would like to try cooking it in the oven next time to take away the fried part.

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  5. I've been a stay at home mom for 24 years, the first time I've had free time is...never. Lol. My kids are 18 and 24, one just moved out and I still feel like I have very little free time. I do have to say I've loved every single minute of it and have zero regrets. It's been amazing.

    These rolls are adorable and I think they'd be perfect for breakfast or a snack. Totally cute and unique.

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    1. My kids are still far from the age of moving out. What I should learn is to enjoy them more especially at these ages. I'm gulping now thinking that I will never have that free time I was hoping for. LOL! Thanks Kim!

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  6. Oh these treats look so very tasty. I can see me eating them smothered with nutella or chocolate syrup.

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    1. So many ideas to modernize this old Philippine classic! And I love all of them!

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  7. We stay-at-home moms certainly do not get the credit that we deserve so thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject. It's a wonder how I am able to get dinner on the table some evenings with a crazy toddler running around! These banana rolls look delicious!

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    1. We learn to use all the parts of our body to do everything at the same time. Hyper toddlers are a nightmare while cooking! LOL! I have one but her older brother keeps her occupied while I am cooking. LOL! Good luck to us!

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  8. How awesome to find a filipino place in Rome! By the second week of my trip I had a serious craving for Asian food. I loved the French and Italian fare we ate everyday but you know how it is--I needed rice!

    I almost made turon before we left three weeks ago but I couldn't fit it into the cooking schedule. Now you've got me craving them again. One of my favorite childhood snacks (but minus the langka). :)

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    1. Once in a while I do need to satisfy my craving for a simple Filipino meal or a snack that tastes familiar. And yes, like you, however I enjoy and love Italian food, there is a spot that it cannot fill. Turon was one of my favorite childhood snacks too.

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  9. Banana and jack fruits? HMM! That sounds so delicious! I have very ripen bananas... I'm so tempted to make spring rolls with them, although it won't be same as yours! I guess I love deep fried stuff so much. This looks so good, my kind of snack. :)

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