To say that the English translation for suman is rice cake is a bit confusing since the term “rice cake” encompasses more than suman. When cooked in a tray or dish, rice cake is called bibingka, kakanin or kalamay. If cooked to achieve a bread-like texture, it is called puto. But, the thing is, a traditional Christmas fare, a pancake-like rice delicacy topped with slices of salted eggs and white cheese, is also known as bibingka. And while it is almost exactly accurate to say that suman, in its most common meaning, is rice cake in tube form, another traditional Christmas fare known as puto-bumbong is also a rice cake in tube form but not really categorized as suman.
Variations: 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? Share us your thoughts. Email us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Have fun with your cooking and explore the helpful tips and recipes at Casa Veneration.