16 Feb2009


In some parts of the country, steamed rice with coconut and sugar isn’t referred to as suman, but rather puto or malagkit. I have featured two such concoctions before, one from an office merienda in Cebu, another made by one of crew, Leny, the expert in simple provincial kakanins and the resident floral manager. Click on the links to previous posts for more background if you are curious. I also recalled a purple biko made with kalamansi rind and I was toying with potential variations that might make sense. So out came some wonderful purple pirurtong sticky rice that I found a the weekend markets, some freshly squeezed coconut milk, some fresh ginger, crystalized ginger and granulated sugar. The resulting puto pirurutong was EXCELLENT.


First we started with 1 kilo of pirurutong or purple sticky rice. We soaked this for 2-3 hours until the grains had absorbed some of the water. Purple rice can be incredibly hard, and takes much longer to cook than white sticky rice, so the soaking process is essential, in my opinion.


I had a beautiful whole piece of crystalized ginger from a recent trip to Vietnam, so I took about 3 inches worth of it and blitzed it with some sugar until it was a fine ginger/sugar. Add some finely chopped pieces for some texture and bite. This addition to the puto pirurutong was inspired, and ultimately, delicious.


Okay, to make. Take the soaked rice and drain, then put in a steamer with lots of water in the lower pot and add several large slices of fresh ginger to the water so that the rice receives a fragrant ginger steam bath and the flavor of ginger infuses the rice for some 25-30 minutes until partially cooked. The pirurutong will still be a little firm at this point.


Meanwhile squeeze out some 3 and 1/2 cups of coconut cream and reduce this over medium heat for say 10 minutes until slightly thickened, then add 3/4 cup white sugar and stir until dissolved and add 1 teaspoon of kosher or other rock salt (not iodized table salt). Then in a large bowl, mix the rice that has been steamed for 30 minutes with the coconut milk mixture. The hot rice will absorb the coconut milk and it should look a bit like a purple risotto.


Mix in the crystalized giner and sugar and return to the steamer and cook for another 50-65 minutes. The variation in time is dependent on the size of your steamer, the holes in the steamer, and the strength of the flame. Take it off when it is firm but clearly cooked through; taste it before removing from the heat. You need to move the rice around a bit, or poke holes in the mass of rice to ensure that the steam is making it through… In simple provincial style, this is apportioned to squares of banana leaves and wrapped up in a conical shape. Serve warm or after it has cooled.


A little goes a long way. The rice is fragrant and substantial on its own, but paired with rich coconut cream and the sweetness combined with flavor and slight heat of ginger, this was a definite winner. I can only have a few spoons full of this heavenly concoction at a time, but whether on its own, or with a beautiful slice of ripe mango, this was incredibly satisfying comfort food. To jazz it up a bit, serve with some crystalized ginger sugar sprinkled on top.


It looks good, has a nice fragrance and tastes great. Couldn’t have hoped for much more. :)



  1. jade186 says:

    Goes great with a steaming salabat cuppa! And with grated fresh coconut topping :)

    Feb 16, 2009 | 5:34 am


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  3. bluegirl says:

    Gosh, that looks so appetizing! I could imagine the conical malagkit served ripe mangoes and a light sprinkling of sugar.

    I saw some Korean black rice in our local grocery. Could that be the same as pirurutong rice?

    Feb 16, 2009 | 6:37 am

  4. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    AH, LAMI-A OY!!!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 6:52 am

  5. solraya says:

    I am able to taste and smell it as I read! It should go great with nonfat coco milk. Have you had that? Like creamy buko juice with a slight gata flavor. I take it 3x a day :)

    Feb 16, 2009 | 7:00 am

  6. Mouseman says:

    Note to self: buy pirurutong rice the next time you’re in Manila! Btw, MM (and MM fans), the Philippine episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations airs tomorrow here in the US at 8pm PST. =-P

    Feb 16, 2009 | 8:23 am

  7. Mouseman says:

    Oops…correction: NO RESERVATIONS: PHILIPPINES will air on the Travel Channel at 7pm PST/ 10pm EST.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 8:32 am

  8. Doddie from Korea says:


    Yes, I would like to know if the black rice I regularly find here in Korea is pirurutong. Please confirm, coz if it is so, I would like to make this kakanin this weekend.



    Feb 16, 2009 | 8:39 am

  9. Marketman says:

    Doddie and bluegirl, I have never seen Korean black rice so I wouldn’t know if it is pirurutong. Why not click on the link above to pirurutong to get a closer view of the rice… But at the worst, why not try with half a kilo, that can’t be too bad of a disaster if it doesn’t work… no?

    Feb 16, 2009 | 8:43 am

  10. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Wow!! Looks so good. MM I have not come across crytallized ginger here. If there’s none,will the ginger bits suffice? Or do we make concentrated salabat and sub that? Looks good. I know the pirurutong vendor at the market and was wondering what else to do with it aside from puto bumbong. The price was P70 per kilo. Your recipe looks good and looks fairly easy to do.Thinking of trying it but for the crytallized ginger. Help?

    Feb 16, 2009 | 8:44 am

  11. Diwata08 says:

    How about a pandan leaf for added fragrance? Hmmm… can smell it already!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 8:46 am

  12. Marketman says:

    marissewalangkaparis, they have crystalized ginger or candied ginger at Aji Ichiban outlets at malls… It looks more commercial than the one I used, but it might work okay…

    Feb 16, 2009 | 8:53 am

  13. betty q. says:

    Ms. Walangkaparis: You are in the Land of Ginger! So, if I were you…to the kitchen! It is nothing but MINATAMIS na Luya!!! The ordinary ginger is a bit fibrous. So, the ginger of choice to use is the young ones…scrape with a spoon para you just scrape off the thin layer of ginger peel. Then slice them to desired thickness. Simmer in a bit of water until tender but not MUSHY TENDER!…SIMMER NOT BOIL! then make a syrup, …just sugar and water …Combine the ginger slices and the syrup and bring to a boil just like you would in making matamis na kamote!….about soft crack stage or 225 degrees on candy thermometer. When it is coated, drain thorough and dry on a rack . Then you can coat it with sugar. DO NOT DISCARD THE GINGER SYRUP! Use the ginger syrup wwhen making tea with APPLE SLICES or lemonade or add COLD sparkling water with bruised lemongrss AND APPLE SLICES, too for a refreshing summer drink. Works really well if yoou have a sore throat…ginger syrup add to tea!…OR use GINGER SYRUP as sweetening agent for TAHO!!!!

    See how simple and easy it is?

    Feb 16, 2009 | 9:15 am

  14. Marketman says:

    bettyq and marissa, if you want to make them like marrons glace or sugared chestnuts, just peel whole ginger root and submerge in sugared water/simple syrup and simmer until cooked. Then LEAVE soaking in the syrup overnight or even longer. Then dry the whole root and chop off bits as you need it.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 9:27 am

  15. Quillene says:

    Thanks MM and Betttyq!

    Have been thinking that crystalized ginger is non existent here. Now I can make my own and sip with tea this coming summer!

    Thank you, Thank you!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 9:37 am

  16. chris says:

    hahaha, i used to think the malagkit was purple because of food color, and the puto bumbong was purple because it has ube in it.but learned from my s-i-l that there’s a malagkit na purple. she makes it into a suman twisted with the white colored malagkit. so her suman is duo-color, purple and cream twisted like rope and wrapped in banana leaf. di ko lang alam kung ano ang tawag sa suman na yun. but its a specialty sa southern leyte where she came from.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 10:05 am

  17. Marketman says:

    chris, several puto bumbong vendors DO in fact use artificial coloring because real pirurutong is too expensive… but real pirurutong is fragrant and delicious…

    Feb 16, 2009 | 10:07 am

  18. betty q. says:

    MM: want to upgrade this candied ginger? Cut the ginger into batons then after giving it the syrup treatment, drying them and coating them with sugar, dip one end in chocolate! or better yet slice them into coins!!!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 10:22 am

  19. jun says:

    I feel like going home and cook this immediately….hay day dreaming again….wake up!!!!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 10:29 am

  20. Mila says:

    I was walking around Marketmarket a few days ago, the rice vendors now sell multi-colored rice from Thailand. There’s a tumeric rice (yellow), a red rice (mixed with roselle – the dried hibiscus flower), and two kinds of green rice (one had pandan, and the other I think was mixed with lemongrass, but I can’t be totally sure of that). Since the products are 4x the cost of regular rice, I don’t know how saleable it will be, but it’s very colorful.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 10:45 am

  21. smiles4angels says:

    i miss this. i think i’m going out to look for one.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 10:46 am

  22. roelm says:

    “In some parts of the country, steamed rice with coconut and sugar isn’t referred to as suman, but rather puto or malagkit.”

    Hi Marketman,
    In my parents’province, Nueva Ecija, there is a pistang puto; puto in this usage also including suman.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 11:05 am

  23. betty q. says:

    Quillene, Marisse: an aha! moment just now…Generally the tindera here does not like people breaking the ginger to get the choice parts. So if the luya tindera there is relatd to the tindera here, then buy the whole root…now, break the irregular size knobs, peel those and do MM’s luya ala marron glace!… and use those for your baking and cooking!

    Then for the chunky knobs, slice them into coins or cut into batons and give it the same sugar treatment…then to make it a glorified crystallized ginger you can give away, dip one end in chocolate after you have coated it in sugar and air dried!

    This way, you have utilized the whole ginger root!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 11:21 am

  24. toping says:

    chris: the “striped” budbud you were referring to is called “nilambiran.” The one with three stripes (the third being millet or “dawa”) is “tres marias.”

    Feb 16, 2009 | 11:28 am

  25. toping says:

    MM, in Leyte we call this “biko.”

    Feb 16, 2009 | 11:36 am

  26. Angela says:

    Wow! That looks GOOD!!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 12:41 pm

  27. myra_p says:

    Toping, ‘tres marias’ sounds like the perfect suman… Any chance this is sold by someone in Manila? Chocolate striped budbud from dumaguete is another suman I want, rightnow.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 12:47 pm

  28. Quillene says:


    any storage tips for the crystalized ginger? ref or freezer? what about the shelflife?

    Thanks as always!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 12:54 pm

  29. Marketman says:

    quillene, I keep it in the pantry in a bottle. It should last many months.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 1:13 pm

  30. toping says:

    myra_p, trade fairs are the best places to get regional delicacies. Will update you when the Leyte contingent next hits Manila…

    Feb 16, 2009 | 1:18 pm

  31. Quillene says:

    thanks mm!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 2:46 pm

  32. iyoy says:

    in southern leyete, we order tinambiran and tres marias for pasalubong the night before. they are delivered in the morning. we take the afternoon flight in tacloban. on arrival in the city, we dump everything into the freezer. steam whenever the craving strikes. i suspect they will stay good for months when frozen. have no first hand experience as stock never lasts more than a couple of weeks.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 3:34 pm

  33. toping says:

    iyoy: I did a double take there – I’ve never heard anyone from Southern Leyte call the two-striped suman “tinambiran.” I kept imagining someone in bed, hugging (nagtambid) a giant budbud, hehe…

    Feb 16, 2009 | 4:24 pm

  34. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Thanks MM and bettyq,let me try that. While I was making lakwatsa today,I was on the lookout for crystallized ginger and didn’t find any. I was also thinking of how to do it.Let me do that. It looks fairly easy. Then I can make this pirurutong biko,gheez…it looks so good. It’s been on my mind’s eye the whole day!!To the kitchen to do the crytallized ginger first.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 5:38 pm

  35. millet says:

    i loooove!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 6:59 pm

  36. bijin says:

    looks super yummy!

    Feb 16, 2009 | 9:26 pm

  37. betty q. says:

    Toping….could it be nilambiran?

    Feb 16, 2009 | 11:09 pm

  38. toping says:

    betty q: Yeah, that’s what we call it. “Tinambiran” struck me as weird – a typo, maybe?

    Feb 17, 2009 | 1:08 am

  39. betty q. says:

    Marisse: If you have any leftover when you make this…set aside about 4 cups of the finished kakanin. Shape them into ovals like the pinipig pichi pichi you made coat with freshly grated niyog…I think I liked this better than the cassava pichi pichi! You will NOT go back to the cassava pichi pichi!!! or shape them into tiny balls like walnut size and roll into freshly grated niyog…I found this way easier to eat BUT you can get carried away! Before you know it…oh, no! naubos mo na pala lahat!!!

    But wait till it’s really cold before you shape them!

    Feb 17, 2009 | 2:27 am

  40. betty q. says:

    Marisse: If you have any leftover when you make this…set aside about 4 cups of the finished kakanin. Shape them into ovals like the pinipig pichi pichi you made coat with freshly grated niyog…I think I liked this better than the cassava pichi pichi! You will NOT go back to the cassava pichi pichi!!! or shape them into tiny balls like walnut size and roll into freshly grated niyog…I found this way easier to eat BUT you can get carried away! Before you know it…oh, no! naubos mo na pala lahat!!!

    But wait till it’s really cold before you shape them!

    Feb 17, 2009 | 2:27 am

  41. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Hahaha,yes bettyq will do that.I got to taste the pinipig pichi-pichi that you mentioned and it was so good. The cassava pichipichi is also good as long as its soft and gooey. I do it in three flavors,pandan,ube and the natural one. The pandan is the most popular,methinks,by the requests.
    I still have to get some pirurutong though. But for now,have to work!! To the office I go—after going thru the No Reservations site..MM–you’re there!! I think doing the kinilaw??

    Feb 17, 2009 | 8:18 am

  42. Quillene says:


    Did Mr. Bourdain get to sample pirurutong pala? :)

    Feb 17, 2009 | 8:47 am

  43. chris says:

    hi marisse! hope you had a very happy memorable birthday celebration. btw po, may i ask for your pihi-pichi recipe? will it be ok if you post it here para na rin makita ng iba… thanks.

    Feb 17, 2009 | 1:28 pm

  44. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: Good Morning and Happy Tuesday. Do you have a pinipig pichi pichi recipe you can share with us? Thanks in advance.

    Feb 18, 2009 | 2:43 am

  45. Dessa Godwin says:

    Oh my!!! It made miss my mom’s biko…

    Feb 18, 2009 | 11:43 am

  46. betty q. says:

    Oh, yes Maria Clara! It hs beeen ages since I last made it so I am just relying on my memory before the senior moments sets in as Connie C. would say! So, I made it last night and it tasted EXACTLY as I remembered. I used the regular pinipig though I think using the green ones would be more fragrant? Anyway, for 1 pack of piniping (227 gm. pkg), I put in the rice cooker with 3/4 can of coconut milk (can you get Savoy brand there?) and a pinch of salt. When the liquid has been absorbed..set it aside. In a skillet , pour about 1/2 can coconut cream (you can add more later if too dry)and 1/2 cup demerara sugar, pinch of salt. Cook that until slightly thickened and then add the pinipig and 1/2 can of drained langka, pureed. Stir that and keep on stirring unitl makunat! Then cool thoroughly. I did it overnight so it is really makunat now. What I had back home was shaped like ovals. But I shaped them into tiny balls. coated in freshly grated niyog and placed them in really tiny muffin liners….and I mean tiny! …or maybe you can omit the langka and add anise if you like anise flavoured!! But the langka tasted good, really good!!!

    Feb 19, 2009 | 12:46 am

  47. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: Thanks again, it took me back to memory lane like my Grandma used to make it before the rice cooker came in town. She steamed them. Thank you thank you.

    Feb 19, 2009 | 2:31 am


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