Puto Bumbong – Steamed Christmas Rice Cakes
What is Puto Bumbong
Puto Bumbong is one of the most popular Christmas related delicacies in the Philippines. It falls into the ‘kakanin’ or rice cakes variety. The word ‘Puto’ means glutinous and ‘Bumbong’ is Bamboo. This rice cake is steamed in a bamboo tube using a special steamer.
Puto Bumbong is made with a unique heirloom variety of glutinous rice called ‘Pirurutong’. The glutinous rice is soaked overnight first, before adding them to the bamboo tubes and steamed. When they are cooked, it’s taken out of the bamboo tubes by gently shaking it out of the tubes placing them on a banana leaf. It is topped with some margarine, brown sugar and grated coconut. Some might add some cheese too. Puto bumbong is eaten hot!
Puto Bumbong is a street food traditionally served during the Christmas season and seen outside of Churches. As a predominantly Catholic country, Filipinos attend the evening masses ‘simbang gabi’ and after the mass, church goers would feel peckish and snack on some Puto Bumbong or Bibingka which is another Christmas rice cake delicacy.
Let’s talk about ingredients
This has only 2 ingredients but a few more toppings and I’m sure you can probably think of more toppings to add.
- White glutinous rice – I bought my glutinous rice from an asian store in Chinatown. If you have an asian store near you or maybe a larger grocery store, they might sell this.
- Black glutinous rice – I also bought mine from Chinatown as it’s the closest asian supermarket to me. I also saw some black glutinous rice being sold online such as amazon.
- Butter or Margarine? – I used butter because I prefer it but if you can get hold of some margarine you can use that too
- Sugar – I used brown sugar but you can use white or muscovado sugar. It really depends on your preference.
- Grated coconut – because it’s hard to find coconut in London, I bought frozen grated coconut from Chinatown. I defrosted it and squeezed the juices out. I discarded the juice as it’s not a very nice juice (trust me I tasted it).
The measurements are general guidelines for the toppings but it really depends on how much toppings you want.
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Before you cook some Puto Bumbong. In a bowl, soak the both glutinous rice grains overnight, making sure that the grains are submerged completely.
Once they are soaked, drain the water out of both glutinous rice. Put them in a blender and blitz them until you get coarse texture. Depending on your blender, you can both blitz them together or you can do it bit by bit. Combine both white and black glutinous rice grains.
Prepare your steamer, while you wait for the water to boil, cut some aluminum foil into rectangle shape sheets. The size depends on how big or small you want your Puto Bumbong and the size of your steamer too.
Once your foil sheets are prepared, brush some oil on the foil to stop the rice cake to stick on the foil. Put some glutinous rice mixture in the middle of the foil, shape it by pressing the sides leaving the foil open. Tip the foil to the side and poke some holes at the bottom of the foil.
Place the foil filled with glutinous rice mixture into your steamer and steam for 15-20 minutes on medium heat. Once cooked, roll them into a plate, spread some butter, sprinkle some sugar and top with grated coconut. It’s best to eat hot! So serve it as soon as it’s ready.
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