Making Suman sa Lihiya is actually easier than you think. The hardest part is perhaps deciding which topping to enjoy it with. Get the recipe here now!
Suman sa Lihiya or Suman Bulagta is a Filipino delicacy of glutinous rice mixed with a bit of lye water, wrap in banana leaves and then boiled in water. I grew up eating it either for breakfast or afternoon snack. In Pampanga, and mostly the northern part of the Philippines, we usually top it with a mix of 'Latik', freshly grated coconut and sugar. Latik is actually the byproduct of making coconut oil. It is the solids that form when coconut milk is cooked on low heat for some time. In other places, especially in the Visayan region, they have a different kind of Latik, which is syrupy caramelized coconut cream.
Since I cannot make up my mind which topping to present my Suman sa Lihiya with, I thought I will just make both. I liked them both ways, but, to be honest, my favorite is still the one I grew up eating. Armin, on the other hand, liked the Latik sauce or coconut caramel sauce better. Well, to each their own, I would say!
By the way, for those who cannot get hold of freshly grated coconut, you can easily use desiccated coconut as an alternative. Read and learn more about it from my Pichi Pichi Recipe.
Suman sa Lihiya
- 2 cups glutinous rice
- 2 cups water - for soaking
- 1 teaspoon lye water (lihiya)
- banana leaves - for wrapping
FOR THE LATIK TOPPING:
- ½ can coconut milk (cream)
- 1 cup grated coconut - for topping
- 3 tablespoons white sugar - for topping, adjust as desired
FOR THE LATIK SAUCE:
- ½ can coconut milk
- ½ cup brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- Wash the glutinous rice and drain the water. Repeat several times until water turns almost clear.
- Transfer the washed rice into a bowl and add 2 cups of water. Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight.
- Place the rice in a strainer to remove excess water. Let it drain until it no longer drips.
- Transfer rice in a glass or plastic bowl. Add the lye water and mix thoroughly. The rice will turn yellow in color but that is normal. Let it sit for an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the banana leaves. Cut the banana leaves at least 12 inches long each. Cut off the central ribs of the leaves. Wash them with water and pat dry. Heat each leaf by running it real quick on top of your stove with the heat/fire on. This will make the banana leaves more pliable.
- Scoop about 2 spoonfuls of the rice and place it on top of the leaf at the center, Fold the leaf in half. From the end where the rice is, fold it again this time only about 2 inches thick towards the center and then one more to close. Now, fold about ¼ of one of the end openings towards the middle. With the closed end facing down, tap it a few times to pack in the rice. Add more rice thru the top opening if needed but remember to leave some space as the rice will still expand while cooking. Now, fold the top end towards the center to completely close it.
- Make another of the same size. Pair them together with the folded openings facing each other. Bind them together at both ends with a cotton string.
- Place the assembled pairs in a big pot and add enough water to cover them. Cover the pot and bring to boil at high heat. Once it starts to boil, lower heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold with latik sauce or a combination of latik and white sugar.
- TO MAKE LATIK: In a saucepan, add the coconut milk/cream and bring to a simmer uncovered over medium heat. Let it cook, stirring from time to time, until it is reduced to a thick cream. Lower heat to low and continue cooking while constantly stirring until the cream separates into coconut oil and latik. Remove from heat as soon as the crumbs turn a deep caramel brown color. Separate the oil from the latik. You can use the coconut oil for other purposes.
- TO MAKE LATIK SAUCE: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and continue cooking while stirring frequently until a thick caramel is formed.
I hope you did the video on how to wrap the suman in banana leaves.
I just don’t get it..
We do have a video of it. I Will upload it soon but you can also find it on our Youtube channel.
Does the rice take on a banana flavor?
Do you mean from the banana leaves? Yes, it will leave a subtle flavor to it.
Aileen Röckelein says
Sarap! I thought the suman was difficult to make. Thanks, Bebs for making it easy.
You are very much welcome, Aileen.
Easy to make
Thank you 🙏 for sharing your delicious recipes.
You're welcome, Ianne.
Leticia J Ramos says
I love the Green- colored Suman Sa Lihiya like what LOLA used to make. DELISH!!!!
I agree, totally!
I tried your recipe last 4th of July using the caramel sauce, it came out pefect! Everyone who tasted it just loved it and requested for more, so I have to cook for them again.
That is great, Anne! Happy you all liked it.
Hi po..ask ko lng po paano ma achieve yung kulay nya na green po? Gumawa po kc ako pero hindi xa green.sa dahon po ba yun? Thanks
YUp, it is from the banana leaves (and the lye water, I think).
Hi Bebs, I am so glad I found your website. I really miss Pampanga and it's cuisine. I will try the Suman Bulagta and wish me luck!
You can do it Annie!😉
Adriane Alcid says
Hi, I would like to ask how do you store the latik sauce. Because I tried it in the chiller and after a day there was water on top of sauce even though I cooled it down before placing in the chiller. Is it okay to store at room temp? Thanks!
Hi Adriane, did you cover it?
Hi, have you tried using the lye water substitute for this?If yes,how much baking soda solution will I need? Another question,what does lye water do in the kakanin that calls for it in the ingredients? Thanks so much
Hi Trish, I did try but the outcome was too soft for kutsinta (in my book at least). So I used lye water instead.
Thank you for your recipes. I am so glad I found your site. As a fellow capampangan I can relate so well to missing these types of food from home!! So easy to follow and taste so good.
Thanks Mary and we are glad you like the recipes.
Imee Jackson. says
Love your recipes.
Easy to follow and well explained.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks Imee! Happy cooking to you too!