The advent of the turon in the Philippines is often linked with the influence of the Chinese. Dishes such as Chinese spring rolls and noodles (pancit) were adapted into traditional Filipino dishes.
Turon (not to be mistaken for Turron, a Spanish nougat-like dessert) is a stunner of an appetizer and a blessing for those with a sweet tooth, and it is further made a treat to crave by serving it alongside banana fritter, or Maruya and banana cue. Here is everything you need to know about Turon’s gluten status.
What is Turon?
Turon is a unique characteristic element of the Filipino tradition; most Filipinos grew up enjoying turon as a treat or snack after a tiring day at school. Turon isn’t loved by only kids; adults also itch to step out of their workplace just to lay their hands on Turon during their lunch breaks.
Turon is also referred to as lumpiang saging (a Filipino word for banana lumpia). Turon is made with thinly sliced banana and jackfruit wrapped in spring roll wrappers dusted in sugar and deep-fried before being coated in caramel (a more lovely way to enjoy this snack is to boil some bananas and roll them into thin wrappers, then bake or deep-fry them and use them as wrappers for the turon).
This delicious appetizer can be found in both the urban and rural areas of the Philippines. Turon should not be mistaken for lumpia, which consists of vegetables and proteins wrapped in an egg roll wrapper.
What does Turon taste like?
Turon is inspired by the Chinese egg roll and the love of bananas in the Philippines. It has a crispy exterior, while the inside is sweet and soft, with the flavorful jackfruit creating an impression on your taste buds.
Is Turon gluten-free?
Turon is traditionally made using spring roll wrappers, which are typically made from a mixture of wheat flour, water, salt, and sometimes oil. Therefore, since turon is made with traditional spring roll wrappers it is not gluten-free.
If you want to enjoy gluten-free turon, you may have to use rice wrappers or boil bananas and roll them, then deep-fry and use as an alternative wrapper. However, this variation may be slightly sweeter.
Beyond the wrappers, just like with chicken shawarmas, cross-contamination is a common concern when purchasing street foods, as the same oil and utensils will be used for everything. The best option is always to make your turon yourself.
Is Turon Healthy?
Bananas, regardless of the type, are a great source of resistant fiber, which the bacteria in your gut ferment to form butyrate (a fatty acid) that is beneficial to gut health. It also has vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various phytonutrients and antioxidants that are generally beneficial to the body.
Jackfruit is also a great source of antioxidants, which are necessary to protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals, vitamin A, B vitamins, and vitamin C. It also contains folate, riboflavin, potassium, niacin, and magnesium.
The jackfruits and bananas in Turon are very nutritious, with similar health benefits. However, turon’s wrappers soak up oil when it is deep-fried, and it is dusted with sugar and also coated with caramel, making it a sugary, high-fat, and calorie-dense snack that may not be good for you.
Gluten-free Substitutes for Turon Wrappers
- Blue Dragon Spring Roll Wrappers: This is one of my favorite wrappers, it is not only gluten-free, but it is also vegan. It is made with rice flour, salt, tapioca flour starch, and water. It has a mild taste that doesn’t interfere with the filling of the turon and it comes out crunchy as well.
- TANISA Rice Paper Wrappers for Spring Rolls: Here i another great alternative to regular wheat-containing spring roll wrappers. My major problem is that they always sell out fast and are out of stock most of the time, but you’re guaranteed a great experience with this one. It is made with organic rice flour, salt, and organic tapioca starch.
- King Soba Organic Brown Rice Paper: This list cannot be complete without having King Soba on it. It is made with 100% organic ingredients, and it has a mild flavor as the rest, and doest interfere with your banana and jackfruit bliss.
Gluten-free turon wrapper recipe
Here is a gluten-free recipe I use in making wrappers for my turon:
- 1 cup gluten-free rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cooking oil (for greasing the pan)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the gluten-free rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and water. Whisk the ingredients together until you achieve a smooth and lump-free batter.
- Allow the batter to rest for about 30 minutes. This resting period helps the flour absorb the water and improves the texture of the wrapper.
- After resting, check the consistency of the batter. It should be thin enough to spread easily on the pan but not too watery. If needed, add a little more water to achieve the desired consistency.
- Place a non-stick pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan with cooking oil.
- Pour a small amount of the batter onto the pan, swirling it quickly to create a thin and even layer. Work swiftly to cover the pan before the batter sets.
- Cook the wrapper for about 1–2 minutes, or until the edges start to lift. Use a spatula to carefully flip the wrapper and cook the other side for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Once cooked, transfer the gluten-free wrapper to a plate. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Turon is made from wheat-containing spring roll wrappers, making it not gluten-free. However, that shouldn’t spoil the fun, as you could still use rice wrappers, banana wrappers, or other gluten-free wrappers to enjoy turon without worrying about the celiac or nonceliac gluten sensitivity symptoms.