The great thing when your kids start growing is that they can help you out more in the kitchen. This dish is entirely experimental, cooked with the help of the clone.
I found some banana leaves not too long ago and we have been on an experimental mode with banana leaves for some time. I wanted to reserve some so I can make some suman like my lola (grandmother) used to make. Since I am out of sweet rice (malagkit) though and haven’t been to the Oriental Market lately, that attempt has been shelved for a while.
While cleaning out the pantry recently I also came across a container full of coarsely ground corn that my lola brought back from her last trip to the Philippines. It has to be at least three years old! But it looked fine, it had stayed cool and dry all this time, so I figured I would try cooking it anyway. I wasn’t sure how tender it would be so I first washed it well then soaked 2 cups of it in water overnight.
The following day, I cooked it with 1 cup each of coconut milk and water and a dash of salt. When it has cooked through, I stirred in 4 tablespoons of sugar and let it cool before wrapping it in the banana leaves.
The Clone helped me with the wrapping, which she enjoyed very much, I think. She was the cone holder and tooth pick handler. During the wrapping process, she was also the leaf cleaner prior to me passing the leaf over the electric eye on the stove, a process that elicited much aahs and oohs as the leaf turned from a dull green to a brighter darker green and developing a sheen. She was throroughly impressed when I told her that lola didn’t have toothpicks to hold the banana wrapping together, so thin sticks were fashioned from the rib of a coconut leaf. She was also amused to hear that banana leaves can be used to eat on. We called it the Filipino paper plate. They were all amazed that my lola had a backyardfull of banana trees and she can just step out of her back door and get all the banana leaves she needs.
After we wrapped all the cooked corn, we placed them in a steamer and steamed them for another hour. After they cooled, we finally got to sample our experiment and it was great! Much to my surprise, to tell you the truth, or I wouldn’t have bothered posting it here. The corn is an entirely different texture and flavor from the sweet rice, of course, but it was a pleasant difference. So this was a good experiment.
The best part though is the girls and I again had a great time in the kitchen, they learned a little bit more about the culture I grew up with, and I learned you can make suman from corn.
For Lasang Pinoy 8 we are cooking with kids. My kids are on spring break this week so they have been cooking up more than usual. They will be posting their efforts too, so keep an eye out for their entries in the next couple of days.
Many thanks to Iska for hosting this round.