Experience Delicious “Puto Bumbong” Christmas Filipino Delicacy
Puto Bumbong is a Filipino delicacy that’s traditionally served during the Christmas season in the Philippines. It literally translates to steamed glutinous rice (puto) cooked in bamboo (bumbong), and it’s a staple at my best friend’s house, where we gather for Noche Buena at midnight on Christmas Eve. The purple color comes from the mixture of sweet rice and black rice (pirurutong), but I’ve seen recipes that call for purple food coloring, which is obviously cheating! Puto bumbong is served with butter, sugar and freshly grated coconut on top. I asked my friend’s mom if she would show me how to make puto bumbong, and she was happy to oblige.
Puto bumbong has been associated with the Christmas season because it is mostly sold outside the church during the traditional simbang gabi. The puto bumbong vendor can be observed steaming a powdered concoction inside a bamboo tube using an odd shaped steamer. The steamed rice cake is then placed on a piece of pre-cut banana leaf and then topped with margarine (or butter), freshly grated coconut, and muscovado sugar.
This puto bumbong recipe is the best that we can come-up with when trying to capture the good old traditional puto bumbong back in the days, when the vendors were not yet using purple yam (ube) as an alternative ingredient.
Image by Kasher’s Kitchen
The color of traditional puto bumbong should come from the rice. Food coloring is not necessary. The rice should also give it a subtle nice taste, which will later be enhanced by the toppings. This is the reason why a generous amount of butter or margarine is necessary, and the freshest grated coconut is recommended. Muscovado sugar, which is a type of partially refined sugar, helps a lot to make your puto bumbong taste good and authentic.
Pirurutung or sticky purple rice is the main ingredient of this treat. Traditionally, the rice is soaked in water along with other rice varieties and then ground in a grinder made of solid stone. This recipe makes use of this type of rice along with malagkit (glutinous rice), and long grain purple rice. Instead of a grinding stone, I used a food processor to grind the soaked rice. My wife Dey and myself played with different variations of the recipe, and this is the best as far as our testing goes. This is how we remember how the puto bumbong looked and tasted like when we were still kids.
Image by Kasher’s Kitchen
Before trying to make your puto bumbong, make sure that you have the necessary equipment such as the steamer and the bamboo tubes. Note that this is best eaten hot, so don’t delay. Enjoy your puto bumbong. Merry Christmas!
PUTO BUMBONG RECIPE
1 1/3 cups sticky purple rice
1 1/3 cups glutinous white rice malagkit
2/3 cup long grain purple rice
6 cups water for soaking the rice
3/4 cups muscovado sugar
1 1/2 cups freshly grated coconut
1/2 cup softened butter
1.) Combine all types of rice in a large mixing bowl. Pour water. Soak for 2 days.
2.) Drain the water by pouring the contents of the bowl into a large sieve.
3.) Put the soaked rice in a large food processor. Start to grind the rice until it becomes very fine. Note: It took me around 10 minutes to achieve this consistency.
4.) Fill your puto bumbong steamer with water halfway through. Apply heat and then let the water boil.
5.) Meanwhile, fill each bumbong (bamboo tube) with powdered rice. Note: Do not compress the rice so that steam can pass easily.
6.) Once the water starts to boil rapidly, arrange each bamboo tube on the steamer. Continue to cook until steam comes out of the tube.
7.) Remove the tube from the steamer. Arrange the contents over a piece of banana leaf. Spread butter all over and then top with freshly grated coconut and muscovado sugar.
8.) Serve. Share and enjoy!
Video by Panlasang Pinoy