Sunday, December 21, 2014

Food for the Trails: How to Make Suman

An ever-present food during the time of Undas/Undras, suman proves to be an integral part of the Filipino appetite. But this food can still be found being peddled in many places here in Laguna. So how do we make this delicious snack? Here’s how.

But note that these will only just be a general guide. With regards to the exact measurements of the needed ingredients one has to consult the elders who can aide you in the perfection of your own suman delicacy!

Suman is basically a rice delicacy. We often use what we call malagkit for its preparation. Now your approach can be in two parts: 1) wrapper (pambalot) preparation and 2) suman preparation. 

Wrapper Preparation

You have to obtain as much banana leaves as possible. 

Then you have to run them over a flame (in Filipino it is termed as ‘laib’ or ‘i-laib’) to essentially ‘cook’ the leaves. 

Then you have to cut the leaves according to your intended sizes for the suman. Set them aside.

Suman Preparation 

Wash your malagkit much like your usual rice. Set aside.

Pour coconut milk (kakang gata or the first milk you get once you have squeezed the coconut meat) on a big pan then heat. Pour in now you malagkit onto the pan.

Mix constantly to avoid the malagkit sticking onto the pan. Once cooked, or half cooked depending on your preference, you can now place them in the wrappers. You can use tablespoon as your reference. Once wrapped, you have to seal them using parts of the banana leaves as well. 

You may now put altogether in a big container. Pour water into it, just enough so that it will further cook the suman inside. To save fuel, you may use the old-school stove (using firewood or coal). 

To check whether the suman is already cooked, you stick a fork onto one of them or you can taste one yourself. Whether they are already cooked or not would depend on your preference. 

The first time I tried doing it from preparation to cooking, it took me a whole day. Night has settled already when the last embers in the stove were finally put out. And so to treat myself, I combined suman with sinukmani and coffee. Comments (especially for improvements) are welcome!

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