Suman sa Lihiya in Black Rice

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!

I got inspired to make “Black/Violet Suman” from fellow foodie bloggers on Burnt Lumpia, and Bread Without Butter. Most of all, I got inspired after hearing a touching story from my boyfriend, Chris.

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!

I adapted the recipe from the site, Panlasang Pinoy.



*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


  1. Soak the rice in water for about 3 hours
  2. Drain and add lye water. Mix well. Leave it for another 20-30 minutes.
  3. Clean the banana leaves by washing them with water.
  4. Cut the leaves into small and medium rectangles
  5. Place one medium leaf on a plate
  6. Place the small leaf diagonally on the center of the medium leaf
  7. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of rice on the center of the small leaf
  8. Fold starting lengthwise, then fold the other short two sides
  9. Secure the fold with a string or rope (I had to be resourceful and used strips of plastic straw from a plastic bag)
  10. In a pot, boil some water and add the Suman wraps. Simmer for 60-80 minutes.
  11. Remove from pot and serve with sugar or jam.

After 60-80 minutes of simmering in a pot…


The rice wasn't too sticky on this photo. I preferred it that way. I simmered the rest for another 30 minutes for my family & friends. They seemed to love the taste and texture. Enjoy!


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,


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8 thoughts on “Suman sa Lihiya in Black Rice

  1. What a moving story. The suman look absolutely perfect! My black rice version wasn’t all that sticky, either, but yours still look like they held together much better. :) Thanks also for the information about Eighth Wonder. It’s always nice to hear about kind, caring business practices.

    • Thanks. Yeah, seems like the black rice cooks longer than the usual white sticky rice. My parents told me that black/purple rice is also used for kalamay…all this time, i thought it was purple food coloring! good to know it’s all natural. hehe And yeah, Eighth Wonder rocks! They sent me some literature too of their progress with helping the farmers.

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