Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Cook Puto Bumbong

It’s Christmas again, I can see many Christmas lights decorated everywhere and of course those wonderful Christmas carols and Parol.  Pinoys spend the spirit of Christmas as early as September, when “ber” starts Christmas songs were played on air and pinoys start to unpack Christmas trees and decorate them with the traditional Christmas design and its accessories.

As majority of pinoys are Catholics, Simbang Gabi will start in December 16, It’s a tradition mostly of Pinoys during simbang gabi to buy sweet delicacies after the mass, you can see many sweet delicacies where local vendors are selling on streets for church goers.  After simbang gabi you could buy many of these different foods from rice cakes, bibingka, and the most known one is the Puto Bumbong which is mostly available during Christmas seasons.

Puto Bumbong (Sources: kerlynb/philippinetravelouge)

What is a Puto Bumbong?
Puto means steamed glutinous rice and Bumbong means cooked in Bamboo, so Puto Bumbong is a steamed glutinous rice cooked in Bamboo. Why is it the color of this food is purple? Well, because the purple color comes from the mixture of sweet rice and black rice (pirurutong), but I’ve seen recipes that call for purple food coloring, which is obviously cheating! Puto bumbong is served with butter, sugar and freshly grated coconut meat on top.

How To Cook Puto Bumbong
As Puto bumbong recipe and preparation need expertise and right equipment such as lansungan (same equipment used by vendors), Thus, I prefer to have this recipe simple and use some equipments that are easily available in the kitchen. What I will write here is just the easy procedure that anybody can cook even those living abroad.

Ingredients for Puto Bumbong
Grated coconut meat
1 tbl spoon - margarine or butter
2 tbl spoon - muscovado sugar or panutsa (sugar cane sweet)
1 stalk - pandan leaves
½ cup - pirurutong or purple-brown aromatic sticky rice
1 cup - white sticky rice
4 cups - water
banana leaves (optional)

Notes: If pirurutong is not available, change the amount of white sticky rice to 2 cups, and use 2 teaspoons of purple food color.  If you have blue and red food color, just combine them together (80% blue and 20% red) to create a purple food color.

What do we need for Making Puto Bumbong
- aluminum foil for covering heavy-duty paper
- heavy-duty paper cut into circles and with a circular opening in the middle (opening should be big enough for a small-sized strainer to fit inside)
- large-sized mixing bowl
- medium-sized strainer
- muslin or cheese cloth
- pot large enough to hold water
- small-sized strainer

Preparations for Puto Bumbong
1) Wash the white sticky rice and pirurutong with water then drain.
2) When the white sticky rice and pirurutong are already cleaned, place them in a pot.
3) Fill the pot with water up to about one inch from the top surface of the rice.
4) Soak the rice overnight or for at least eight hours.
5) Place the soaked rice in a blender and blend until grainy.
6) Place the grainy rice in a muslin or cheese cloth.
7) Tie the cloth and place it on a medium-sized strainer.
8) Wait until most of the liquid from the rice in the cloth is drained. This should take at least four hours.

How to cook Puto Bumbong
1) Get the moist rice mixture from the muslin or cheese cloth and place it in a large-sized mixing bowl.
2) Crush the rice mixture by hand until its texture becomes consistent.
3) Put pandan leaves into a pot.
4) Pour water into the pot.
5) Place the heavy-duty paper covered with aluminum foil on the lid of the pot.
6) Apply butter or margarine on the small-sized strainer.
7) Fill the small-sized strainer with the rice mixture.
8) Fit the small-sized strainer into the hole at the middle of the heavy-duty paper.
9) Cover the pot and let the mixture steam for 60 seconds or up to two minutes.
10) Scoop out the steamed rice cake and place on banana leaves.
11) Flavor the rice cake with muscovado sugar or panutsa, butter or margarine, and grated meat of fresh coconuts.

Enjoy with your family loved ones during this Christmas Season anywhere you are.


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