What’s Suman?

Print anything with Printful

Suman is a Filipino rice cake made from sticky rice and coconut milk, often wrapped in palm or banana leaves. It has a long history in Filipino cuisine and can be eaten as a breakfast, snack, or during celebrations. Different regions have their own versions, but the basic recipe involves cooking sticky rice in coconut milk and wrapping it in banana leaves. It can be eaten with various toppings, such as shredded coconut or brown sugar.

Suman is a Filipino delicacy primarily made from sticky rice and coconut milk, and is typically referred to as “rice cake” in English. It is usually seen as the equivalent of the Mexican tamale, although the latter is often made with “masa,” a type of flour, and has some fillings, which suman does not. Rice cake usually has a long, cylindrical or rectangular appearance, although it sometimes takes the shape of a pyramid. It is often wrapped in palm or banana leaves, both of which impart an aroma to the rice when you open the package. Suman is an established part of Filipino cuisine and can be eaten as a breakfast, snack, or even during Christmas parties and celebrations.

It is unclear how suman was invented, but it is not surprising that such a food is created, given that rice is one of the most important foods and crops in the Philippines. It is said that the rice cakes can be traced back to the pagan era of the Filipinos, before the Spanish and American colonization and their Christian influences. During the harvest time, people used the harvested rice and made it into rice dishes called “kakanin”, which includes rice cakes. Cakes would also often be a part of the food offering presented to the spirits and gods, and possibly their deceased loved ones as well.

Different regions and provinces in the Philippines usually have their own versions of suman, but the simplest method of cooking is by cooking or soaking the sticky rice in water first before cooking it in coconut milk. It’s important that the rice be the sticky or glutinous variety because it contains more starch, making the rice sweeter and the grains stick together more easily. Some recipes suggest mixing a little coconut milk into the water for a creamier texture. When the rice is cooked, it is stirred up, this time in coconut milk, sometimes with a little salt and sugar. Some versions of suman mix other ingredients into the rice, such as shredded coconut or cassava, creating a grainy texture.

When the coconut milk infused rice has finished cooking, a few tablespoons of it are placed on a small piece of banana leaf and wrapped into the desired shape. Banana leaves are usually “cooked” first over an open fire to make them softer and more pliable. When the leaves turn a more vibrant green, they can be used as wrappers. Suman is also eaten with a variety of toppings, such as shredded coconut, coconut jam, or a simple dusting of brown sugar. It can also be dipped in some chocolate sauce or even eaten alongside ripe mango slices.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content