Finally, I’ve made it! It was a week ago when my son asked me to cook suman (he actually remembered the one that Lola Juling used to gave him the last time we’re home). I was begging him to eat biko instead but he wants the unsweetened version of suman wrapped in banana leaves. In as much as I wanted to cook it right away I waited for Friday (our market day) to look for those precious leaves. I was lucky enough to have found the last bunch of almost wilted banana leaves in the supermarket (a rare find I must say) and the next day I got to work on it before it gets really dry.
Suman is actually an inexpensive and a very easy rice rolls recipe to make, most of the flavor comes from the banana leaf wrapping thus, no artificial flavoring is needed. When I think of this delicacy I would miss my grandma. I grew up seeing here making varieties of banana leaf wrapped suman and sell it for a living, just like “lidgid” or the grated cassava or (camote)sweet potatoes, suman sa lihiya and suman moron but the most memorable way she used it for were these sticky (glutinous) rice of which is my favorite. Also on special occasions like New Year, Christmas and fiestas during my childhood, these delicacies were always present and many would say that my grandma was one of the best suman maker in town.
So here’s my take on making Suman for the first time and am glad I finally did it! By the way suman is best serve with sugar, latik, sweetened grated coconut (bukayo) or ripe mango, you can choose whatever suits you good from those but personally I prefer ripe mango if available.
- 2 cups glutinous rice, soaked in water for 2 to 3 hrs.
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 cups fresh or canned coconut milk
- banana leaves for wrapping
- water for boiling
- Remove the water from the rice by straining, then place it in a pot with the coconut milk and salt. Bring to a boil, stir and immediately lower the heat to the lowest setting and stir occasionally to minimize rice from sticking on the pot. Let is simmer for 20 minutes then turn the heat off. Don’t open the pot, leave it for another 15 to 30 minutes to finish cooking and to cool down.
- For the wrapping, pass the banana leaves over an open flame very quickly. This process will release the aroma of the leaves and will make them soft and flexible. Cut the leaves by making equal number of small pieces or depending on what size of roll you want your suman.
- Wrap the rice as tight as possible and fold the sides. Tie two pcs. of suman with folded sides inward (as shown on the picture) or you may wrap 6 pieces or more again with a larger piece if you still have extra leaves to serve as double protection.
- In a steamer, stack the suman and steam for around 30 minutes to one hour over boiling water. Make sure they are tender before removing them from the steamer.
- Allow it to cool before unwrapping so that it will firm up.
- Serve with sugar, sweetened grated coconut, latik or ripe mango. Share & enjoy!