Suman sa Lihiya
Suman trip report
For the uninitiated: Suman (SUE mahn) is a family of rice cakes usually wrapped in some sort of leaf, usually eaten for merienda (as a snack) or as a light breakfast item. When I was growing up my mom would usually just buy this from Goldilocks or equivalent Philippine vendor. That being said, this is my first time trying to make it, and I thought it came out pretty well! Seeing as how suman isn't a specific dish, but a category of them, the subject of this post is Suman sa Lihiya (lih HEE yah), which means suman and lye (I think). Now, I was a little weirded out by adding lye to this dish, I did a little reading and I guess it's safe, people use it in all kinds of other food preps and they're not dead. I guess it contributes to the airy texture of the dish somehow. You can probably get away without using it, but really, it wouldn't be suman sa lihiya anymore. I did this one because it seemed like the easiest one to start with, although it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, so I'm probably going to take a stab at suman moron next time (chocolate suman). Anyway, on to the recipe:
I followed: http://panlasangpinoy.com/2010/12/27/suman-sa-lihiya/ for the most part, except I made half the batch they did.
2 1/4 cups malagkit (glutinous rice)
1 teaspoon lye water
banana leaves, cleaned
Soak malagkit for a few hours, I soaked for 2. Drain. Add lye water, a lot of sites stress to not stray too far from the prescribed amount of lye water, so I'll repeat their warnings. Don't add more than the recipe says to. Stir the lye water into the rice to mix evenly, this will turn the rice a pale yellow color. Let sit for another 30 minutes. Take two banana leaf pieces (~5"x10") and overlap them. Pile ~1/4 of a cup of filling in the middle and arrange into a log shape:
arrange it so that the log runs lengthwise along the fibers of the banana leaf, this will make folding easier. Take one long edge of the leaf and roll tightly like a cigar. Flatten down one side starting from the end and work in toward the center until you feel the filling. When you feel it, fold in the flattened end and secure with the twine and a basic square knot. Lift the whole tube, folded side down, and lightly tap onto your work surface to pack down the rice inside. Fold the opposite end over and secure with twine. Repeat until out of rice. Stack in a pot:
Cover with water and weigh down to keep submerged. I used a granite pestle. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, reducing to a simmer once boil is achieved. Cook for 2 hrs (the panlasangpinoy recipe says 80 min, but I tried one at 80 and it was still a bit under, might be an elevation thing, test one out for yourself). Serve with sugar, brown sugar, or latik. I was lazy and didn't feel like making latik, so I used brown sugar. Latik would be best, and it's really easy to make, you basically reduce and caramelize coconut milk. There's a good picture walkthrough here:
Edit: I just ate some suman from yesterday with brulee'd sugar on top and it was excellent.