Suman sa Lihiya with Latik (Wrapped Rice Cake with Coco-Butter Syrup)


For the Rice Cake
2 cups glutinous rice (malagkit)
2 cup whole grain rice
water for soaking rice
4 cups water
1 Tbsp Lihiya or Lye (food grade)
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup brown sugar (segunda in Filipino or the partially refined sugar)

For the Coco- Butter Syrup
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup muscovado
1/4 cup salted butter
1Tbsp glutinuos rice flour

fresh banana leaves, cut into about 6"x10", about 16 pieces, have extra just in case one or two tears apart
16 pieces cotton strings cut about 14 inches in length.
grated coconut meat (optional)

Prepare the Rice
1.  Combine the two types of rice, rinse twice. Put enough water juts to cover rice and soak for at least an hour.

TRIVIA: Soaking rice before cooking is a tradional way of preparing this grain.  Rice grains absorbs water that makes cooking time shorter and gives a good texture to it as well.

2.  After an hour, drain rice and add 4 cups of fresh water.  Add the Lihiya (lye) and mix well.  water eill turn pale yellow.

3.  Cook rice about 30 to 35 minutes.  If using rice cooker, let the equipment time itself  *wink*

Prepare the leaves
In an open flame, run over your banana leaves one at a time to wilt and steam it a bit.  We do this so leaves will not break when we wrap the rice later. Set aside.

1.  In a sauce pan, combine all ingredients except for the butter.  Mix well until lumps from glutinuos rice flour are gone.

2.  Under low flame, simmer mixture until thick, about 5 minutes. Careful not to boil.  Why? We do not want the coco milk to coagulate, do we?  we are looking for a syrupy texture just like that of a maple syrup *wink*

3.  Before your 5 minutes ends, add the butter and mix well.  Set aside.

Let's go back to the rice.

1.  Once rice is cooked, remove from heat and add coco cream and sugar.  Mix well until well blended.  careful not to burn yourself.

2.   Measure 1/2 cup of prepared rice and place them on the lighter green side of the banana leaf.  Wrap it up like you would your sandwich.  Do this to the remaining rice.

3.  When you are done wrapping everything, let's tie them up together.  Why? So they will not burst and keep their shape.  Get two pieces and place them together where the flaps of the leaves are in between the two suman.

4.  Using the cotton string, tie one end and then the other.  There is no exact science here, just tie it up however you want, although it's suggested you use a knot where it can be pulled off easily later on.

5.  Do this to the rest of the suman.

Let's finish this up!

Using a steamer or a make shift one, it does not matter as long as you can steam these babies, steam the suman for 10 minutes.  Make sure to give room for the suman to expand, for it will. Just a few centimeters apart.

After 10 minutes, you now have a homemade suman for the whole family and friends to enjoy!  Makes about 8 pairs or 16 peices of suman by the way *wink*