First of, I absolutely love tropical fruits, they were in abundance in Vietnam- longan, rambutan, jack fruits, star apple, and other fruits I can’t even translate into English. They are definitely starting to gain popularity in mainstream markets in the US but for a steep price tag. So whenever I go somewhere warm, I always try to take advantage of this opportunity to eat my heart out. My friends and I rented a car (highly recommended) and took each day to explore different the different coasts. During our drive to the North Shore, home of the surfing competitions for its gigantic waves, we stopped by a fruit stand on the side of the road. Walking pass rows of fresh coconuts and mangos, we found these ladies frying what looked like egg rolls, but instead they were filled with bananas. 5 for 5$? Sold! OMG, one of the best 5$ ever spent. Vietnamese make fried bananas fritters using a rice flour batter, I want to say these are probably from the Philippines with maybe a Hawaiian twist. We did not eat them piping hot, but they still had that nice crunch to it, drizzled with a sugar glaze and soft banana center. Ugh, it was perfect, and when there was only one left, you can imagine we weren’t trying that hard to be polite and give it up.
Makes 24 lumpias
To make the fried bananas-
6 medium-large ripe bananas
1 packet of egg roll/spring roll wrappers (get the Asian brand thats usually frozen, they thaw out pretty quick)
1 egg, cracked and beaten in a small bowl
oil for frying
To make the coconut caramel sauce-
1 cup of canned coconut milk
1/4 cup of coconut palm syrup (you can also use brown sugar)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
We’re going to start with the caramel sauce first since this takes the longest. Heat up the coconut milk under low heat. Once it starts bubbling, add the coconut palm syrup or brown sugar, stir well and keep a close eye on it as coconut milk tends to boil over in a blink of an eye. Keep on stirring every now and then, the caramel sauce should reduce to a syrup consistency after 20-30 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the salt.
Cut bananas into 4 pieces about 3-4″ long each. Place 1 piece of banana towards the end of the egg roll wrapper, roll to almost half way, fold the two sides and finish rolling, sealing with the beaten egg. Heat up the oil to medium heat, test the temperature by seeing if the wrapped bananas sizzle when you dip of the ends in, if yes, then it is ready. Fry until golden brown (about 4 minutes).
You can serve this with vanilla ice-cream drizzled with the caramel sauce and topped with peanuts, or dip the lumpias in the coconut sauce and peanuts, or eat it by its sweet self.