Well, my friends, I have one more Filipino dish to share with you that didn’t make it into Filipino Food Month. It’s your bonus recipe– totally free! This is one of my very favorite things to eat. This is a dessert version of lumpia, and it is seriously tasty. I remember rushing to the student store at my school at lunch or merienda whenever these were fresh and buying them for 5 pesos (about $0.12) each.
In the Philippines, banana lumpia is made with a cooking banana, called saba. I have never seen saba here in Minnesota, so I struggled for a while to figure out what to make these with. Saba bananas are short and squat, and are starchier than regular bananas, but not as starchy as plantains.
I had tried making these with plantains before, and the plantains were too firm and stayed very separate from the rest of it. Then I tried regular bananas, but they just got mushy with the frying. I decided to try one more thing, and it worked quite well!
I went back to plantains, but this time I let them get really, really, really ripe. As you can see, the outside is entirely black (except for the spot that had the sticker.) It looks kind of grody from the outside, but inside it’s still moderately firm and not at all rotting. You don’t have to let it get quite this black, but the riper the better.
I peeled and halved the plantain, then sliced each half thinly lengthwise into about 1/4 inch slices.
Then I rolled the slices in a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. For one plantain, I used about 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 or 2 tsp. cinnamon. Exact measurements aren’t really necessary here, but that’s a guideline.
Once the plantains are covered with the cinnamon/sugar mixture, place 2 slices across the middle of a lumpia/springroll wrapper. These I wrap differently than regular lumpia, because that’s how they served them at my school in the Philippines and I like how they fry this way best.
Fold the top of the wrapper down over the plantains first, then roll the plantain portion down tightly until you reach the end.
Once you’ve rolled it, dip your finger in a little water and wet the edge of the wrapper and seal it.
Heat 1.5-2″ of vegetable oil in a pan until it’s about 350˚ or so. Place a few lumpia in the pan, but don’t overcrowd them. I fit 3 in my 12″ skillet fine. I got a total of 5 lumpia out of one plantain.
Cook, turning over once, until both sides are golden brown. When you remove them from the oil, hold them upright to drain as much oil as possible, then finish draining on paper towels. Don’t leave them on the paper towels too long, though, or they’ll stick.
Serve as soon as they’re cool enough to handle.
Oh. My. Stars. These are so fantastic. Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside… And easy to make, I might add. I could eat these every day. Y’know, if I didn’t mind gaining a hundred pounds or two. It might be worth the trade-off.
1 plantain, very ripe
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
5 lumpia (or springroll) wrappers
oil for frying
Halve the plantain lengthwise, then slice widthwise into 1/4″ slices. Mix brown sugar & cinnamon together on a plate. Roll plantain slices in the sugar mixture. Separate one lumpia wrapper at a time. Place 2 sugared plantain slices in the center of one wrapper, ends touching. Fold the top of the wrapper down over the plantains, then roll the plantains down tightly until you reach the end. Wet the edge of the wrapper lightly and seal the edge.
Heat 2″ of vegetable oil in a pan until it reaches 350˚. Place 2-3 lumpia in the pan at a time, making sure not to overcrowd them. Cook, turning once until both sides are golden brown. Hold them upright with tongs and drain out as much oil as possible, then place on paper towels briefly before transferring to a plate. Serve hot.