(Steamed Glutinous Rice Cakes with Chocolate Sauce)
Suman is a tube-shaped rice cake made with glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, wrapped in either palm, banana or bamboo leaves, then steamed. It is always a great choice for breakfast as it can be paired with a variety of options: plain sugar, coconut jam, with fruits and, of course, a big favorite—homemade chocolate sauce. This breakfast treat is almost always paired with coffee or hot chocolate.
Serves 8 (16 rice cakes)
2 cups (400 g) sticky or glutinous white rice
1 (13.5-oz [400-ml]) can coconut cream plus enough water to make it to 2½ cups (600 ml)
½ cup (100 g) white sugar
1¼ tsp (8 g) salt, divided
16 (9-inch [27-cm]) softened banana leaves for wrapping
2 cups (480 ml) heavy or double cream
6 tbsp (42 g) cocoa powder
½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
Soak the rice in water overnight or for at least 3 hours. Rinse the rice well. Drain. Place the rice and coconut cream diluted with water in a wok or deep pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has nearly dried up. Add the sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to cook until the sugar is fully dissolved and the rice begins to pull away from the edges of the pan when stirred. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to cool.
Defrost the banana leaves, if frozen. Clean the banana leaves by wiping off the white residue with a damp cloth or paper towel. Pass each leaf through a flame or place it on the stovetop to heat it up until it turns dark green. This will help prevent the banana leaf from tearing as you roll it up.
Scoop about ¼ cup (45 g) of the rice near the edge of the banana leaves. Flatten it to elongate to about 5 inches (15 cm) in length. Roll until you reach the other end. Twist the edges then tie each end with a twine or a thin strip of banana leaf. Repeat until there’s no more rice left.
Place the rice parcels in a steamer tray or basket. Steam the rice parcels over rapidly boiling water for 30 minutes. Make sure that the water doesn’t touch the steamer basket.
To make the sauce, place the heavy cream, cocoa powder, brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Set aside.
When the rice parcels are done, peel the banana leaf cover from each cake then serve the rice cakes warm or at room temperature drizzled with the chocolate sauce. Suman may also be threaded in skewers and dipped in the sauce.