Have you ever been stranded at the airport? Well, long story short, my brother en route to Argentina for his college business program got stranded at the (furthest possible) airport last month. I received this phone call at 12 am, amidst torrential rains and flash flood warnings, right as I’m about to go to bed.
Hans: Hey, uh, Achie (big sister) my friend and I are stranded at the airport, and there’s no hotel vouchers… so you have the great joy of staying up late and driving to get us. Thanks.
I had not seen my brother since Christmas (he had fallen asleep and missed his bus, and thus, the only family reunion earlier this year), so I was not expecting to see him for another several months. It was a nice to meet up, although circumstances were less than ideal.
Chef Uy: *grumbling/driving through the floods at 1 am* You’re damn lucky you’re my favorite brother!
Since I was not prepared for guests, I literally had no food. My +6 ft teenage brother was rather dismayed when he opened the fridge at 2 am, starving.
Hans: Oh my God, I knew it! This is EXACTLY what I expected in Achie’s fridge. There’s no real food – just some rotting bananas, fat free Greek yogurt, and, ugh, vegetables!
It didn’t help my cause, when after hearing I had cereal, he reached for a chocolate cereal box (“this looks promising”) and I said, “Ah, that’s my roommate’s. Here’s mine,” and I whip out my fiber bran flakes. His withering facial expression was priceless.
Those “rotting bananas” were actually my lovingly ripened plantains. I had wanted to make turon/banana lumpia, a popular Filipino snack. The problem was that I didn’t have anyone to feed them too, so I couldn’t make them. But with two lost college boys to feed now, I had the perfect opportunity. I rolled the plantains in lumpia wrappers, and Hans fried them nicely. We enjoyed a hearty Filipino breakfast with longanisa (Filipino sausage), eggs, rice, and turon.
Although, it was only a day, it was great to catch up, as Filipino culture is all about family. That’s what Achies/big sisters are for – rescuing little brothers during airflight fiascos!
Filipino Turon (Fried Banana Lumpia)
spring roll wrappers
2-3 ripe plantains or cooking bananas (saba)
strips of jackfruit (optional)
1/2 cup brown sugar
Cooking oil, for frying
Separate the spring roll wrappers, and cut the bananas lengthwise into 2-3 inch pieces. Lay the wrapper on a plate, dip the banana (and jackfruit) in sugar and layer along diagonally. Fold starting at the end of the wrapper with the filling, fold the 2 sides in, then roll up to the end. Seal the end with water.
Heat up the oil in medium heat and fry the turon with the sealed end side down first (to keep it sealed). Cook until golden brown, then flip to fry the other side, and once slightly browned, sprinkle sugar onto the oil to caramelize. Serve warm and eat fresh.
Another option is to bake them in the oven at 375F until golden brown, about 20-30 min. Serve fresh (baked turon seems to lose crispiness faster). I’ve tried both ways, and I have to say I prefer the fried version, but both are delicious!
Turon rolling tips: Cut the bananas/plantains lengthwise for easier rolling. The size of saba (small plantains) are nicely suited for small spring roll wrappers. Also don’t be afraid of adding sugar, as plantains are NOT nearly as sweet as bananas (make sure they are almost black for full ripeness).
PS. Don’t eat plantains raw no matter how good they seem. They taste terrible unless cooked.