Suman is a traditional Filipino rice cake that is usually made from glutinous rice (locally referred to as “malagkit”). Aside from using glutinous rice, some variations also use root crops such as cassava.
Suman sa Lihiya is the most basic variation. Glutinous rice is soaked in water for several hours before putting-in a portion of lye water and wrapping each serving in soft banana leaves. The wrapped mixture is then boiled until the glutinous rice is done. This is best eaten either with sugar or latik (this is the residue when coconut milk is simmered). Glutinous rice comes in different varieties; each has a different name, but all seem to possess the same texture.
When shopping for glutinous rice, do not look for the “glutinous rice” label alone. This sticky rice has many names and varieties. Feel free to choose among the following: sticky rice, waxy rice, botan rice, biroin chal, sweet rice, mochi rice, pearl rice, and malagkit. If you are in the Philippines or any tropical place, getting fresh young banana leaves will not be a problem. If in case your situation is like mine wherein banana leaves comes fresh frozen from Asian stores, try not to run the leaves over fire to make it more flexible – it will most likely crack. Instead, gently wash it with warm water.
Some people like brushing cooking oil on the banana leaves before placing-in the glutinous rice mixture. You can do that too, if you desire.
I like having suman for breakfast and I always pair it with hot chocolate. How about you? Do you also eat suman for breakfast? What do you pair this with?
Suman sa Lihiya
- 2 1/4 cups glutinous rice
- 1 teaspoon lye water
- 2 cups water
- 1 whole banana leaf, cleaned
Watch the cooking video.
- Place the glutinous rice in a mixing bowl then pour-in water. Stir and soak for 2 to 3 hours.
- Drain excess water from the mixing bowl then add lye water and stir thoroughly. The mixture will turn yellowish. Let stand for 30 minutes. Note: do not go beyond the recommended measurement for lye water.
- Prepare the banana leaves. Here are some tips:
a.Fresh banana leaves can be heated directly in fire for a very short time. This releases the natural aroma of the leaf and makes it more flexible.
b. If you are using fresh frozen banana leaves, it is better to just wash it in warm water.
c. You’ll need a pair of leaves per serving. The bigger leaf should measure about 12 by 10 inches while the smaller is 4 by 5 inches.
- Arrange the banana leaves by placing the larger leaf first in a flat surface then put the smaller leaf in the center of the larger leaf.
- Scoop about 1/4 cup of the rice mixture and place it over the smaller leaf.
- Fold the leaf to secure the rice mixture (see video for procedure) and tie with a kitchen twine.
- Arrange the folded banana leaves with rice mixture in a cooking pot then pour-in enough water.
- Turn-on heat then let boil. Simmer for 80 minutes.
- Turn-off heat and transfer the banana leaf covered rice cake on a serving dish.
- Serve with white sugar, brown sugar, or latik.
- Share and enjoy!
Number of servings (yield): 3