Because everyone is feeling the holiday spirit (I hope you are!), I’m featuring something classic and quintessential where I came from. Filipino Christmas won’t be the same without Putobumbong, a sweet black rice cake coated in grated coconut, slathered with butter, served with muscovado sugar and brown sugar.
Usually, Filipinos enjoy Putobumbong after “midnight mass” (which doesn’t really happen during midnight but during twilight hours). But it’s not just the time of the year that makes this dish special. Aside from tradition, Filipinos love Putobumbong because of its sweet, nutty flavor and chewy texture. On top of that, the aroma coming from the steaming rice and grated coconut create a melodious, warming sensation perfect for the holiday season. But you don’t have to be Filipino or someone who has tried it before to appreciate what it has to offer you.
Believe it or not, Putobumbong is a Christmas street food. Over time, Filipino households have adopted ways to make it at home. For example, Filipinos would use regular steamer instead of the classic lansugan steamer with cylinder bamboo tubes. As for me, I prefer to use something in between, which is a bamboo steamer. I also prefer a vegan version so I would use vegan butter instead of regular butter. Alternatively, you’re more than welcome to use regular coconut oil.
As you may have noticed, I’ve already posted a Putobumbong recipe in the past. If you look closely at this new one, the recipe simplifies the process even further. As common practice, I constantly strive to make my recipes better in taste as well as in usability. And as much as possible, I would like to make my recipes the most user-friendly they could be. In this newly improved version, I’ve found a way to simplify making the rice dough. Just soak the rice for at least overnight, blend with a bit of water, and mix with sweet rice flour or mochiko.
To see what people think of the new version, I’ve tried this version for a holiday potluck and I was so glad that people enjoyed the result. Thankfully, those who were familiar with Putobumbong said it brought them back when they had Putobumbong in the Philippines (success!). And those who never had it before started asking me more about the ingredients. With their positive feedback, they compelled me to share this newer, better version with you. I hope you enjoy!
- 1 cup sweet black rice
- 1 cup sweet white rice
- Water for soaking
- ½ - 1 cup sweet rice flour, plus more
- Few pinches sea salt
- 1 pack fresh grated mature coconut (approximately 14 ounces)
- ¼ cup vegan butter or coconut oil
- Muscovado sugar as condiment
- Organic brown sugar as condiment
- Blender or food processor
- Bamboo steamer (regular steamer is okay)
- Soak both rice in water for 12 hours (I usually soak overnight and make it the next day in the afternoon).
- Transfer rice to a food processor or high-speed blender and pour with just enough amount of water to cover the rice. Drain excess water. If using a small equipment, you may do this part in batches.
- Blend rice until rice has been powdered and texture is like soft wet dough.
- Transfer rice dough to a mixing bowl and add sweet rice flour and salt.
- Using your hands or spatula, mix well to fully incorporate the flour. You should have a dough that could be formed into logs. If dough is still too wet and soft, add more sweet rice flour.
- Using your hands, form dough into small logs. The shape and size don't have to be precise.
- Steam for 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, instead of steaming, you can drop the rice logs in boiling pot of water. When they float, they're done.
- Place rice cake on a bed of fresh grated mature coconut and coat all sides.
- Brush with vegan butter. You may also use coconut oil as an alternative.
- Serve with muscovado and organic brown sugar on top and on the side.
Alternatively, if you couldn’t find sweet black rice and sweet white rice, you could use purple yam powder and sweet rice flour. They could also be found at Asian grocery stores, or online.
You could find fresh grated mature coconut at the frozen section of Asian grocery stores. You may use dried coconut flakes as an alternative.
In the US, brown sugar is not vegan but organic brown sugar is.
And there you have it, Putobumbong, the classic Christmas delicacy of the Philippines. Mainly, it has sweet black rice, grated coconut, and muscovado and brown sugar. Most often than not, Filipino enjoy it as a street food snack. Over time, Filipino households have found a way to make it at home using a regular steamer. For me, I prefer a bamboo steamer. Also, I prefer my Putobumbong vegan so I use vegan butter (which is the only part I had to veganize). Also, did I mention it’s naturally gluten-free too?
If you’ve been following this blog, then you may have noticed that I’ve already released a Putobumgong recipe before. This time around, I’m featuring a newly improved version, which simplified the process of making the rice dough. With the newer, simpler version, I really hope you could try it at home for the holidays, or any time of the year.
And with that, I wish you happy holidays to you and your loved ones!
Kain na, let’s eat!
SHOP THE RECIPE:
- Sweet Black Rice
- Sweet White Rice
- Sweet Rice Flour
- Muscovado Sugar
- Organic Brown Sugar
- Bamboo Steamer
- Purple Yam Powder