Free Range Nurse

Cooking therapy from a former travel nurse

Cross-Cultural Treats and the Bastardization Thereof January 21, 2010

Filed under: dessert — freerangenurse @ 5:06 pm

The first time I had turon was about two years ago, in Denver, during the Dragon Boat Festival.  I fell in love.  Okay, I know, I do that a lot.  The crispy wrapper, the soft banana, the caramelized sugar…<sigh> what’s not to love?  Pair it with cinnamon ice cream and whoa boy!

I asked my friend, Susan (who is Filipino) if she knew how to make them and could she possibly give me the recipe.  Can I take a moment to tell you I love Susan, too?  Not only did she give me the recipe, she went to the Asian grocery and picked up everything I would need and delivered it to me!

Weeks passed and Susan kept asking me if I’d made the turon.  I told her I hadn’t and had already thrown out the plantains, which were beyond ripe and rotting in a landfill somewhere, but that I would buy more and make them next chance I got.  More weeks past, more plantains joined the landfill.  It just seems I could never coordinate my time off with the plantain’s ripeness, or I’d forget (okay, it was always the latter).  Sometimes I would have every intention, but because plantains look horrible when ripe, my husband would throw them out.

I finally made the time and oh my…I should have done it sooner.  They are spectacular alone, with maybe a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or sugar/cinnamon.  Mildly sweet with an awesome texture from the spring roll wrapper.  Paired with homemade (or store bought, for that matter) cinnamon ice cream….oh yeah!  That’s livin’ right!

You might be wondering what I mean by bastardization of a cross-cultural treat and here it is:  Spread a little peanut butter on the spring roll wrapper, top with a banana (regular, not plantain) roll, fry and coat with powdered sugar and you have a treat The King would come back for.  Thank you, thank you very much (she says with lip curled).  I might have to try it with cheesecake next!


  • 1 can jack fruit (optional)
  • 2-3 ripe plantain bananas
  • 1 pkg spring roll wrappers
  • light brown sugar (I mean light brown in color, not calories!!)
  • 1 egg white
  • canola oil

Defrost spring roll wrappers in the refrigerator the day before.  Heat canola oil in a wok or deep fryer to about 1 inch deep.

Peel and cut bananas into 3-4 inch segments, then in half.  Drain jack fruit and cut into pieces.  Place about 1 cup of brown sugar on a plate.  Take a spring roll wrapper and place it on your work surface (keep the remaining wrappers covered with a lightly damp towel).

Coat banana segment with brown sugar on both sides and place diagonally near the center of the wrapper.  Top with jack fruit slices.

Chose a corner and wrap over banana.

Next brush one of the sides with egg white and fold it over the banana.

Fold the banana envelope over one turn and brush the other side flap with egg white.  Fold it over the banana.

Brush the top flap with egg white and roll the package to close.

Immediately fry in hot oil.  You want the oil to be hot because it allows less oil to be absorbed by the wrapper and makes it crispier.  You don’t need a long frying time because it doesn’t take long for the brown sugar to caramelize.

Make sure to turn the turon and brown the other side.

Once golden brown, remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, or powdered sugar and enjoy.

If you really want to make your skirt fly up, serve it with some cinnamon ice cream (ooh!  and warm caramel – I just thought of that!).  Enjoy.


6 Responses to “Cross-Cultural Treats and the Bastardization Thereof”

  1. Diane Says:

    oh, my! I’ve never had these but they sounds fabulous -all my favorite ingredients rolled up and deep fried! I should say (thank you, Mom) that I grew up on bananas, peanut butter and banana sandwiches and toast sprinkled with cinnamon sugar…OK and some odd vegetables here and there like olives and artichokes, but mostly the bananas, bread and cinnamon! I must try them and the cinnamon ice cream sounds like an ideal pairing. Also, I really identified with the plantain pains -while they ripen more slowly and are more forgivable than bananas, I too have a husband that has tossed many a plantain that I’d been waiting to turn black and perfect….

    This all reminds me of the first time my old boyfriend from Ghana brought the first plantains over to my Hyde Park apartment. All we could find at the nearby fresh plus were rock-hard green ones, so Brian put them on my kitchen counter and admonished me NOT to touch them until they turned completely black and slightly soft. He said, “whatever you do DON’t throw them out!” Brian (may he rest in peace) might not always be smiling on my new husband. 😉 I did as he said and called Brian a week or so later when they were completely black. He promptly came over and showed me how to slice them, sprinkle with cayenne and fry to spicy sweet perfection! Since then I’ve enjoyed learning from many African and Caribbean friends the various ways they make plantains (one of my Trinidadian friends cuts them thick -like 1.5″, fry, remove, smash with the back of a wooden spoon, fry again!).

    Thanks to you and Susan for a great new recipe!

  2. Eileen Says:

    Alright Miss D. You are making my A1c go through the roof just reading your blogs. Please come up with something very yummy and low carb. Pretty please

  3. kellyannecat Says:

    Just found your blog from a link from David Lebovitz. I love your writing! This recipe looks great – and the photos are very instructive.

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