One of my favorite snacks which my Mom made many times is a rice cake cooked in coconut milk. It is a Filipino recipe and they just call it suman but that term is too general because back in the Philippines, anything made with sweet rice grain and coconut milk is invariably called that.
Filipino stores sell several kinds of Filipino delicacies but I could not find anything that resembles Mom’s biko so yesterday I was determined to make it. I got invited to a friend’s late Thanksgiving dinner and I volunteered to bring the dessert.
I always have cans of coconut milk in the pantry and I still have a half bag of sweet rice. And I also found a can of condensed milk. In short I had on hand all the ingredients.
It is time consuming and work incentive. It is truly a labor of love to make it as it needs patience as you stay by the pot stirring the cooking coconut milk and sugar to get the right consistency.
I, of course, gets reminded of Mom. I once convinced my Mom to teach me how to make it and I am so glad for that experience. How much I missed her while I stirred the pot, putting me in her shoes, the many hours she spent to cater to the satisfaction of her family. I literally loved everything my Mom produced in the kitchen. Unfortunately I never wrote anything down and I have to rely on rote memory and wing it. So I now must write it down so I won’t be guessing next time.
6 cups of sweet rice
6 cups of water
2 cans of cream of coconut (unsweetened)
6 heaping tablespoon of white sugar or 1.5 cup
1 pinch of salt
2 cans of cream of coconut (same as above)
1 can of condensed milk
1 cup of brown sugar
Wash sweet rice and cook in rice cooker with the equal amount of water. My grandfather taught me to cook rice by measuring the rice with my thumb and marking my finger by putting the tip of my middle finger at the top of the rice and with my fingers from the top of the rice and where my middle finger is should be the same measure of the water. You might want to lessen the water that way it would be cooked al dente.
In another pot, pour the rest of the ingredients. Put it in slow fire and stir in one direction so it won’t curdle until it gets creamy. Add the al dente rice in the pot and mix thoroughly. If the rice is half-cooked let it sit in the fire until it is fully cooked.
You can make the topping a day before.
Pour all ingredients in a pot and let it cook in slow fire and continuously stir in one direction until it caramelizes. When done it should be very thick. If it retains its shape when you pour it out of a spoon then you know it is done.
Let it cool.
Transfer the rice to a 9.5 x 13″ bowl and even it out with a spatula. Then cover with the coconut caramel topping.
Put in the oven at 400 deg. just to brown the top.
Don’t let it stay in the oven too long or you might end up with a soggy suman, remember it is already cooked.