🍙 WEEK 5: STEAMING - SUMAN
This month we’ll be exploring the key techniques behind Filipino cooking, many of which evolved as a way of making full use of the ingredients found in the rich, fertile landscape of the Philippines with as minimal interference to their natural flavour as possible. There is a strong heritage built around rice in the Philippines linked closely with indigenous traditions so starting off this module, you’ll have a go at steaming rice in banana leaves creating an aromatic sweet treat called Suman.
📺 Watch and Learn - Rassa Stories
Explore the context behind two big farming staples of the Philippines - coconut and rice! Rice has strong links with the indigenous farming communities as well as the family bond (the stickier the rice the stronger the relationship). See one of the techniques behind wrapping suman which you can learn to do yourself at home or you can have a go at developing your own wrapping style. Chef Gene will also take you around a coconut farm in Quezon showing you the harvesting and how the whole coconut is used sustainably.
Life on the Coconut Farm
Learn about the coconut harvesting process and discover the different coconut variations at various stages of maturity.
Suman is wrapped in banana leaves for both flavour and preservation. Watch the ancient wrapping techniques which are a part of the vibrant food culture of the Philippines.
📕 Lessons For The Week
Recipe Development - Suman
When thinking about your own version of suman, you can play around with different toppings and fillings or even with your banana leaf folding technique. Rex gives you some ideas to get the creative juices flowing!
Ingredients Introduction - Suman
The banana leaves and rice this week are two key ingredients which really show off Filipino farming. Learn about their role in Filipino food culture and have a look at the ingredients list for this week so you can start preparing ahead of making this week’s dish.
Time to get cooking! - Suman
This week you'll be mastering steaming with the steamed rice cake dish known as suman. It has a comforting sticky texture and takes on the aromatics from the banana leaves during the steaming process. We won’t blame you if you don’t want to share!
Share with the community
If you’re looking for some inspiration on how you can customise your suman or are after ways to use up leftover banana leaves, ask away in the Rassa community. Your fellow participants and chef instructors are on hand to help - click the button below to see what others are up to in the community and share your own creations.
💭 Creative Inspiration
Banana Que with Gene Gonzalez
A dish of Gene's childhood and a typical street food classic, Banana cue can be found in the markets across the Philippines. It is traditionally made with a hard Filipino cooking banana or plantain and is fried on skewers with brown sugar. It’s typically eaten as a mid-afternoon snack or dessert and best enjoyed with a refreshing drink to wash it down with.
📖 Further Reading
Learn more about these delicious rice cakes, the traditions and superstitions which surround them, the art of wrapping and regional varieties you can find around the Philippines.