A traditional table offering for All Saints’ Day, this sticky rice snack is very popular down south where I’m from. I remember buying suman from manangs with baskets who used to make the rounds of offices come merienda time. Ilonggo suman is different from Manila suman in that our version is sweetened by what else—that ingredient which is plentiful in Negros—sugar.
The recipe here is culled from our household’s Nana (my son’s yaya), who actually borrowed an old kalaha (locally made frying pan) from our neighbor just so she could make it as authentic as possible. I guess the wok just won’t do, huh?
Suman With Latik (Sticky Rice with Sweetened Coconut Cream)
3 cups sticky rice
1 whole coconut, grated and pressed to yield 1 1/2 cups coconut cream
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
water (for cooking rice)
2 calamansi leaves (optional)
Cook sticky rice in the rice cooker as you would regular rice (steamed with about an inch of water covering the rice). When done, keep the rice in the cooker until ready to use.
Pour the coconut cream into a thick bottomed frying pan set over high heat. Keep heat on high until the cream starts to boil. Stir the coconut cream, allowing it to curdle, reduce, and render oil. The coconut cream will eventually turn golden brown. Once the coconut cream is brown, lower heat to medium. Add in the rice and mix well to coat with the coconut cream. Add in the brown sugar. Mix thoroughly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and put in two calamansi leaves for fragrance. Let the suman sit for a few minutes.
To serve, remove the calamansi leaves. With a spoon, scoop out some suman into a cup about 1/3 of the way, to form into thick rounds. Invert the cup onto a plate or a piece of banana leaf. This recipe makes about 12 suman.