Purple, Red and White Malagkit / Sticky Rice

There was so much reaction (positive as well as ignorant) 3malagto my post on red rice a few days ago that I thought I would add another post on these three interesting malagkit (glutinous rice) varieties that my rice suki Michael had in stock recently. Glutinous seems like an inappropriate description as there is no gluten in rice (it’s a bread thing) but what it describes really is a “sticky” rice as opposed to say Jasmine or Basmati that has rather dry and separate grains when cooked. The stickiness of rice is driven by a certain type of starch and the higher the percentage of this starch, the “stickier the rice.” Malagkit has a very high percentage of this sticky starch. Malagkit grains are generally short and rounded and look a little similar to Italian Arborio or other risotto suitable grains. They absorb liquid (water or in the case of many sweet Filipino rice cakes, coconut milk) in a different manner resulting in a unique texture of the finished product.

I was intrigued by three different 3malag2varieties of sticky rice on offer. The first was a red malagkit variety that was grown in Bontoc, Mt. Province and differs from the regular non-sticky red rice I wrote about in the earlier post. At PHP85 a kilo, this was nose-bleed material but I got just half a kilo to try it out and to experience something new. Second was a deep purple tapol from Mindoro that I have used several times before for a stunning deep purple suman we make here at home. At PHP80 a kilo it is also wickedly expensive. Finally, my suki had a white malagkit variety from Calamba, Laguna that was a good basic rice for a white suman or other similar rice cakes. This was the most reasonably priced variety at PHP45 a kilo. When I want to extend my purple suman and reduce its intensity, I mix half white malagkit with the purple malagkit. However, you have to be careful to cook the grains enough as the purple rice takes longer to cook. The outcome is still a stunning purple suman that is fragrant and delicious.

Because most rice vendors carry mostly white plain rice varieties, the more unique or artisanal and organic varieties are rarely seen by most Filipinos. I really strongly encourage all of you to sample some of the more unusual or less common types of rice as they are not only delicious but you will be supporting farmers that have put their heart and soul into raising varieties that are truly extraordinary.


7 Responses

  1. The purple malagkit rice is locally known as pirurutong. It is an essential ingredient for an authentic puto bumbong. Sad to say, that nowadays some puto bumbong have purple food coloring as substitute for the pirurutong.

  2. There’s another special variety of rice called duman which Capampangan friends rave about. Quite rare and very expensive but they swear it’s worth its weight in gold.

  3. issa, duman is very difficult to get fresh…there is a special festival in Sta Rita that celebrates it. Try the website of Pilgrims Pots and Pans which has a great article on duman. I also have a post on pinipig which is not duman but another rice related entry.

  4. Talking about rice, the best rice I have ever tasted in the country is the one from the Bicol region and I will never exchange it with any Calrose or Thai rice !
    The rice is flavorful in the mouth & a little bit sweet w/ a great aroma.This rice is a small-grained, elongated white tiny rice w/c I believe is only grown in the mountains and it is also seasonal.Some call it ‘Binuhangin’ and in some regions in the Philippines, it is called by another name.
    Sadly, this variety, I believe is also not being commercially produced and so it is rare. And if ever there are some excess harvests that reach Manila, the price is prohibitive to most average Filipinos.
    If ever you find one like this, grab it if you can afford it and you will never be sorry !And please tell us also where you found it !

  5. Hi, I just need help.. I’m trying to find where to buy Arborio rice here in Manila, but I can’t seem to find any.. would you know an alternative for making risotto? thanks! :)

  6. Jean, there are several sources of Arborio rice in Manila, large groceries such as Rustans and maybe landmark carry it. Santis almost always has it. Terry’s delicatessen on Pasong Tamo also has it and sometimes S&R Price carries it. You should be able to find Arborio, Carnaroli, Violano Nano? which would all make a good risotto…



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