Make the syrup: Combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water and cinnamon in a small saucepan and boil for several minutes. The syrup is the right consistency when, as you carefully dip the tip of your index finger into the syrup (don't burn yourself!), touch it to your thumb, and gently pull them apart, a thread is formed between the finger and thumb. Remove the cinnamon stick. Prepare the syrup and keep it warm.
Heat the oil or melt the ghee in a wok-type deep frying pan. Drop a tiny bit of batter in; if the batter sizzles and rises to the top, the oil is hot enough. Pour the batter into the plastic bottle. Squeeze the batter into the oil in circles, 4-5 inches in diameter, several at a time. Try to keep them from touching when you pour them. When the rings are golden, move them from the oil into the syrup with a slotted spoon. Let them soak in the syrup for 2 or 3 minutes, then remove and stack them in a pyramid or arrange them on a plate.
Reprinted with permission from Peace Meals: Candy-Wrapped Kalashnikovs and Other War Stories By Anna Badkhen. 2010 by Free Press
When Marvin Gapultos had a craving for adobo but didn’t know how to make it, he decided to learn his family’s recipes. Since then, he has shared the flavors of Filipino food through his Los Angeles-based food truck The Manila Machine, on his blog Burnt Lumpia, and in The Adobo Road Cookbook.