Suman is a piece of heaven in every bite…actually, it’s a piece of the Philippines in every bite.
To completely enjoy eating Suman, it has to be dipped and eaten with coconut sugar, or brown or white cane sugar, or coconut jam. It’s also best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee. There are many variations of Suman but the one I made most recently is “Suman Sa Lihiya” or Suman in Lye.
I believe “Suman Sa Lihiya” is one of the healthiest kind because it’s unsweetened until dipped to sugar or jam. I used “Mountain Violet” Sticky rice, a healthier alternative that came from the world renowned Philippine Banaue rice terraces!
Chris said that growing up, he and his family used to buy Black/Violet Suman from an old Filipina lady who sell them in her house. People would flock to her doorsteps just to buy some of her Suman wraps. Then one day, she got reported that she’s selling without a license. An officer came in and shut down her business. Many people were saddened including the old lady herself. Months after, the old lady passed away. I know, I know, it’s a tragic story. Chris was also saddened by the news. I’m about to surprise him with the Suman I made, I hope he’s not reading this before the big surprise!
*2 cups Mountain Violet Sticky Rice
It’s usually available at Asian Grocery stores and health stores like Whole Foods. I used the brand, “Eighth Wonder” which exports rice from the Banaue rice terraces-once considered one of the 8 wonders of the world.
*3/4 teaspoon lye water (Available at Filipino grocery stores)
it’s important to use only a tad, nothing more.
*Banana leaves (available at most Asian stores)
*Organic Coconut sugar (or other sweeteners)
I got mine from the brand “Edible Haven”.
*string or rope for wrapping
- Soak the rice in water for about 3 hours
- Drain and add lye water. Mix well. Leave it for another 20-30 minutes.
- Clean the banana leaves by washing them with water.
- Cut the leaves into small and medium rectangles
- Place one medium leaf on a plate
- Place the small leaf diagonally on the center of the medium leaf
- Add about 2-3 tablespoons of rice on the center of the small leaf
- Fold starting lengthwise, then fold the other short two sides
- Secure the fold with a string or rope (I had to be resourceful and used strips of plastic straw from a plastic bag)
- In a pot, boil some water and add the Suman wraps. Simmer for 60-80 minutes.
- Remove from pot and serve with sugar or jam.
After 60-80 minutes of simmering in a pot…
I’m proud to say that the rice I used came from a company that practices sustainable farming and fair trade. No, they didn’t sponsor me to promote them (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I simply applaud “Eighth Wonder” and its relationship with our Philippine farmers. To learn more about the company and its products, check our their site, Heirloomrice.com