Suman is a very traditional rice-based snack/dessert from the Philippines. It is made from steamed sweet sticky rice and cooked with coconut milk and a little bit of salt. It is a great group activity if you are ever stuck indoors with many friends and family.
- Wash the rice until the water runs clear and then cover the rice grains with water and leave in the refrigerator overnight. Drain the water and then mix the sticky rice, coconut milk, and salt in a bowl. Set aside while you prep the banana leaves.
- Cut the leaves into 6-by-6-inch squares. Turn on your stove, and using tongs, quickly pass the leaves over the open flame 3 times on each side. Wipe both sides with a kitchen towel and repeat for all the leaves.
- Place one banana leaf square on a plate and spoon 3 teaspoons of the rice mixture in the middle. Fold the banana leaves over the rice and secure with cooking twine. Repeat until all the rice and leaves have been used. If you wanted to be precise, I like to lay out all the leaves on the table and equally spoon the rice on each leaf, then wrap it.
- To cook, put all the suman on top of each other in a large stockpot and cover with water. Boil/steam on medium heat for an hour until the suman looks nice and plump.
- While the suman is cooking, make the latik. In a large fry pan, pour in the coconut milk and cook over medium heat. Once the fat starts to separate from the oil, turn down the heat to low. Keep cooking and stirring until the fat solids start to turn brown and crispy. Scoop out the latik and drain on a paper towel and pour the coconut oil in a jar.
- To serve, open the banana leaves; you can eat it with more coconut milk, a sprinkling of latik, and a side of sliced fresh mango.
California based photographer, food stylist, and recipe developer Rezel Kealoha focuses her cooking on seasonal California produce. Her recipes are inspired by her time living in the Philippines, Japan, Australia, and Singapore. RezelKealoha.com