Pirurutong at Tapol / Purple and White Glutinous Rice


I know the Christmas holidays are near when my suki Michael, at the FTI AANI Saturday Market, has new stock of extremely fresh pirurutong (purple upland glutinous rice) and really creamy/milky looking tapol or malagkit, both from Mindoro. At PHP80 a kilo, these are wickedly expensive in comparison to everyday rice, but they are so worth it. They aren’t available most of the year. You can see from the grains themselves that these are incredibly fresh. They look right, they feel young and they possess a color that screams “I just came from my mommy!”… if you know what I mean. We usually mix the two grains and make a beautiful purplish suman or budbud for the holidays. It is beautiful to look at, fragrant and delicious. However, it is a bit tricky as the purple rice usually takes longer to cook than the white rice so you have to be careful when making it. I also once had a delicious biko made with pirurutong flavored with kalamansi. But I bought the two types of rice last Saturday because I have been wanting to experiment with a puto bumbong (I have never made it before) for several years now…


One other striking thing about these photos is that for the first time ever, I have just noticed how incredibly similar tapol or white upland glutionus rice seems when compared to a good arborio or carnaoli or other starchy European short grain rices. I don’t think tapol would do well in a paella at all, but I just thought I would mention my fascination with the way it looks. Pirurutong, however, HAS appeared in all kinds of chi-chi paella recipes in these fancy-schmancy Pinoy restaurants and cookbooks in the States, but I haven’t tasted a version of this dish that I liked yet. Using pirurutong just to get a dark color to one’s paella seems a bit contrived… But go figure. At any rate… I hope you guys have room for a few additional pounds this Christmas season, since a few bibingkas here, a couple of sumans there and a dozen or so putos on top of that is deadly on the figure…

Other previous posts on rice:

Three kinds of rice
Two Varieties of Red Rice


31 Responses

  1. MMMM. puto bumbong made with real pirurutong tastes just heavenly compared to the pale purple(artificially colored) puto bumbong we usually get in the metro

  2. MM, a patient gave me a kilo or two of black rice. I asked how it is cooked. I was told 2 is to 1. My dad experimented 2 weekends ago and it did not turn out all right. The rice came out undercooked. Do you have recipes for black rice? I still have 1/2 of the bounty.

  3. Em Dy, you can make the pirurutong into suman or biko, but cook it longer until it is soft… I haven’t made the puto bumbong yet so I can’t share a recipe for that… Siopao, you are right, I was shocked to find out most commercially made puto bumbong here is artificially colored.

  4. So that’s how it’s called….I used to see a lot of these in Baguio market even tried substituting for regular rice(it cost less than P80)but using the rice cooker, it turned out half cooked as it needed more water to cook, as I found out later. As always, I have never mustered the guts to make kakanins as I presumed it is quite laborious to do so. I just content myself buying from a suki selling all sorts of biko using different colored rice, purple, black, red rice and greed pinipig(love it fresh!)..

  5. I saw some of these purple rice at the grocery earlier toaday, but these look way better! The white glutinous rice in your photo looks like Rice Puff Cereals :)

  6. what is pirurutong… black malagkit rice or black regular rice??? ano naman po ang ginagamit for puto bumbong???

  7. chen, I think it is black malagkit, though the grains look a bit more like normal rice… I read in several recipes that it is this pirurutong that is traitiionally used in puto bumong…

  8. I read on your previous post about biko with latik. This is my all time favorite kakanin. I’ve tried making it but failed many times. I hope you can post a recipe for this. Would be a great treat for Christmas lunch.

  9. Wow!That white malagkit looks so good. Yup. Pirurutong is what puto bumbong is supposed to be made of. Nowadays, I’m just thankful if the ones i buy are pure malagkit, never mind the artificial coloring. Some cheapo sumans mix regular with the malgkit rice and you can really feel the difference. I’m looking forward to the post about the puto bumbong experiment. Sounds like another budbud fiasco (initially). =)

  10. I love the way you spring surprises on your readers, MM! One day, it’s ranting time and the next it’s a rave on a basic item such as rice. But no ordinary rice of course. Your photos do look so enticing, the pirurutong is so exotic-sounding, it makes me even more curious. It does look like a thicker version of the wild rice (which is not really rice). I could definitely try making a Porcini risotto with those heavenly-looking white malagkit. Pls. let me know where I could possibly buy these, while in Manila during the holidays? Thanks.

  11. I failed so many times using the golden grain pirurutong in my kalamay – always ended up grainy. No idea when the telling part is to add my sugar – pinch tests and it’s tender. But once sugar is added, the rice comes back to its grainy stage. Finishing it off at the oven for even distribution of heat is not working either. I used the ratio of two parts coconut milk to one part pirurutong but it did not resolve my problem. I love the color much when it’s cooked – glistening purple. Yes, the old school makers of puto bumbong used pirurutong not food coloring. For that price, I do not blame them if they resort to bottle a purplish agent more profitable on their side!

  12. Maria Clara, the “colored” rices are difficult to gauge when cooking. In fact, with the pirurutong, I leave it to one of my crew who is our kakanin “expert” to deal with…I haven’t cooked it myself! Rowi, you can get these types of rice at good rice dealers in large wet markets. My suki, Michael is at the FTI AANI Taguig Saturday market. You can probably also find this at the rice dealer in the market section of Market!Market! in Fort Bonifacio. I suspect they have it at Farmer’s Market as well. Actually it surprises me that major groceries don’t carry these brilliant local ingredients, especially during the holidays. zena, I have altered my expectations of rice experiments, because I have failed so far on the puto, so let’s see about this puto bumbong! juli, I will try to get a biko recipe in before Christmas…

  13. Year ago, my husband and I took some time off our work and ventured into selling bibingka and puto bumbong at our parish (Christ the King Church, Green Meadows) during the Misa de Gallo mainly in the spirit of tradition. It was a unique, unforgettable experience! Although we did not bake/make everything ourselves as we hired artisanal folks, my husband and I both tried to learn and got involved in the entire process. For the puto bumbong, I think we are among the very few who used purely pirurutong and ZERO food coloring. The way I remember it, making puto bumbong is quite a lengthy process: soaking the pirurutong for a half a day, having them ground at the “market gilingan”, storing them in cheese cloth sacks to drain the liquid (usually overnight), grating them to a course powder. Then using a puto bumbong steamer, you loosely fill each tube, cover, and allow the steam to cook the puto bumbong. Lay them onto banana leaves (cleaned, heated) add some margarine/butter, panucha and grated coconut! Too bad we did it only for one season. People loved it so much that they even contracted us to make those native delicacies at their parties and family gatherings!

  14. Onie, did you use ALL pirurutong or a mixture of pirurutong and malagkit? I was hoping to do a few tablespoons of pirurutong to a cup of malagkit…

  15. Market Man, I don’t remember the exact proportion but I think you are right as using only pirurutong will yield a dark, almost chocolatey color. Unfortunately for us, my husband and I did not bother preserving the recipes and relied on our memory…just like the folks we hired for this project. Oi vey!

  16. There is this seller at AANI QC Circle that sell upland reddish rice the the dark violet malagkit that comes from Samar.

    I love it when I am around and get a chance to buy from her slices of the violet malagkit maybe biko. Super sarap.

    The red upland yields fragrant rice :)

  17. i’ve tasted a striped suman (totoo!!) made from pirurutong and white malagkit rice. it’s delicious. it was made by a friend’s mother who hails from leyte. wish i could get in touch with her again para matikman ko ulit yung masarap na striped suman ng nanay nya.

  18. Bedazzle, I know what you’re talking about. Back in the day when we did the Misa de Gallo stint, we shared the stall with a classmate of ours from UP whose parents are prominent Leytenos & Cebuanos. She sold spiral/striped suman made of white malagkit and pirurutong. They are yummy!!!

  19. i heart puto bumbong and so, i imparted that love affair to my son. now, he loves it too. as early as the puto bumbong sellers here in marikina set up their stalls, we are there! i will not attempt to make puto bumbong as i recall from stories that it is quite a laborious ordeal. but, good luck to you MM, you are one brave soul.

  20. det – you are right – you will find pirurutong at any Thai food store and bears the label “Black Sweet Rice” with different brand names. They are all the same – like long grain rice.

  21. MC, thanks for answering det’s question. There are so many varieties of rice, it would be difficult for me to be sure. But if it is Thai sweet rice, there is a pretty good chance it is similar to our pirurutong…they have sweet coconut milk and rice desserts similar to ours as well…

  22. MM it is exactly the same variety of rice as our pirurutong but gave it a Western name for a twist!

  23. MC, that is good to know. Now I really have to post a pirurutong biko recipe as folks in North America will be able to make it for the holidays! Thanks.

  24. MM, Thanks for the places where to buy the black rice. Now, I know that the Thai Sweet Black Rice, which is sold in Asian shops here, is similar to the pirurutong. However, there is nothing like freshly-harvested rice which I hope to find soon.

  25. here in italy, they call tapol”venere”, which the english translation is “venus”. it is told in the legen of venere,that it originated in china where only the emperor can eat them, when they consider them an aphrodisiac, that is why the name! i used to have tapol during my three-year stay in cagayan de oro city, back in the ’90s. we have a better variety and glutinous black rice in the philippines. here in italy they have a very dark black and harder but smaller grain. it is excotic and i would use it for my recipe of pomodori ripieni(refilled tomatoes). i would also cook suman with it but i would mix it with white malagkit, a proportion of 1:4 and the result is a very nice violetish suman. my italian frinds like it very much! very good presentation.

  26. pigments of colored rices are essentially concentrated in the bran layer only. so to maintain its beautiful color (and its nutrients), most pigmented rices – whether black, red or purple – are usually sold in its unpolished state. just like any other unpolished rice, it requires longer time to cook.
    to cut the cooking time, try soaking your pigmented rice in water for about an hour or two prior to cooking. if you are to use glutinous pigmented for your kakanin, be sure to soak and precooked the rice prior to mixing with gata and what-have-yous.

  27. To facilitate cooking rice or any grain, just soak them in water for five hours, changing the water used in soaking once or twice.
    The grain soaks the water and is softened making cooking it easier.



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.