KCC: Suman sa Lihia

This month’s Kulinarya theme is Suman.  Suman is one of Filipino native delicacies; it’s made of sticky rice (also cassava) wrapped in banana or coconut leaves and boiled.  There are  different kinds of suman; the ones I’m familiar with are suman sa lihia, suman sa ibos ( glutinous rice wrapped in young coconut leaves) and suman sa latik – my favorite of all suman – made of cassava, wrapped in banana leaves and it has a latik filling inside..yum!  It’ s very hard to find that kind of suman, I couldn’t find any recipe either or know anyone who knows how  to make it ( I really want to try it , please share if you have a recipe..thanks!).  

 My second fave is suman sa lihia and it’s what I’ve made for Kulinarya Cooking Club this  month.


Lihia (lihiya)  is food grade lye also labeled lye water, it’s colorless and odorless until it’s mixed with glutinous rice, the color of the rice becomes light yellow and it’ll have a slight chemical smell,  I can’t quite describe but it, it’s how lihia smells like.   Lihia is also used in making cuchinta (Kutsinta), it’s what gives color and chewy consistency to both cuchinta and suman sa lihia.

Making suman is relatively easy, except for the wrapping and the clean-up afterwards.  This is actually the second time I suman sa lihia; the first time, I had over-cooked it; when I unwrapped the suman, some parts were browned but it wasn’t dried out, it was still soft and chewy so it was still good and yummy.  The second time around…I did the same thing,  I forgot again that I have something cooking on the stove..arrgh.   But this post is up today so I don’t have time to make suman again and really there’s  no harm done, I’m just fussing because I  am lacking some zzzz’s.. the suman taste really good, taste like suman as I know it. 🙂


it doesn’t show in the photo but that soaked glutinous rice has light yellow color, like it has a touch of turmeric powder.


tie the suman in pairs using twine or thread and put in a pot…I’m so bad in wrapping and tying ..lol


here’s how your suman will look like if you’ve over-cooked it too haha 😀


good thing I have this luscious coconut cream caramel sauce( my kids thought it’s chocolate sauce)  to hide it.. ^.^ 


Suman is just cooked rice without tthe coconut caramel sauce and coconut sprinkles on top…yum!  But you won’t be eating more than two ’cause it’s very heavy on the tummy, I had it for breakfast and I still feel so full at lunchtime 😛

SUMAN sa LIHIA (Lihiya)
adapted from Sarap Pinoy cookbook

2 1/2 cups gluitinous rice ( malagkit rice)
2 teaspoons lihiya ( lye water)

Coconut Cream Caramel Sauce:

2 cups coconut cream (kakang gata)
2 cups muscovado sugar

Coconut Sprinkle (Budbod)
2 cups dessicated coconut or sapal ( the grated coconut that the coconut milk was extracted from)
1 cup sugar

Here’s how
Wash glutinous rice three times then soak in water for 20 minutes. Drain and add the lye water. Cut banana leaves in rectangles ( about 8″x 6″).  Pass it over medium-high flame to wilt it and make it pliable otherwise it will tear. 

Put about 3 tablespoons of soaked rice on a piece of banana leaf; fold sides to make a packet, set aside. Repeat the process until all the rice is wrapped. Tie the suman in pairs- the folded sides should face each other.

Arrange suman in a pot lined with banana leaves; put something heavy on top ( I used a ceramic dish) to prevent the suman from floating. Fill the pot with water until the suman is submerged. Bring to a boil over high heat; then lower heat to simmer and let cook for 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile make the coconut cream caramel sauce. I didn’t make the sauce that comes with the recipe instead I made coconut caramelsauce: combine coconut cream and muscovado sugar in a saucepan, stir to dissolve the sugar then cook over medium heat until it thickens slightly. The consistency should still be pour-able.

For the coconut sprinkles or budbod: Combine sapal por dessicated coconut and sugar in a shallow pan or skillet. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the coconut browns.

Thanks to Divine and Sheryl for choosing this month’s theme. My family and I enjoyed the homemade suman. Please visit other KCC members for more of this Filipino kakanin.. If you’re interested to join us, simply leave a comment below or on any of the members’ blogs. 🙂

As always, thanks for the visit..have a nice day!! 🙂 ♥

16 Responses to "KCC: Suman sa Lihia"

  1. Jc   November 17, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Saan po makakabili dito sa pilipinas ng lye water? nagikot na ko sa mga supermarket wala akong makita 🙁

  2. Almasue   October 21, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Would love to try your recipe… makes me crave for my favorite… SUMAN!

  3. Roi   August 22, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    delikado pala ang lihiya lalo na kung nainom ng di sinasadya….mukhang tubig pa naman ang itsura tsk tsk…

  4. ronad   October 5, 2011 at 12:41 am

    ask ko lang po kung bakit need pang lagyan ang lihiya ( lye water)?

    • Olive   November 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Ronald! 🙂

      I think the lihiya is what gives the suman it’s chewy consistency ( I’m not sure if that if the accurate translation of maligat ) plus that greenish color and of course that distinct suman sa lihiya taste that we love hence the name.. it’s just not the same without it. 🙂

  5. Pingback: crispywaffle » Kulinarya roundup: Suman

  6. Cherrie   October 27, 2010 at 1:48 am

    I love your coconut cream caramel. LOoks so luscious. By the way, if you haven’t already seen, my version of suman was the cassava with latik 🙂

  7. Trisha   October 26, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Ooohh the coconut sauce is to die for!!!!!

  8. Annie   October 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Your coconut caramel sauce just made the suman so decadent! Delicious, Olive!

  9. Oggi   October 20, 2010 at 8:05 am

    The suman looks lovely specially with the dark sauce. Yum! This is my favorite suman to eat and make although I don’t use lye. I’ wish I’d find one of those bottles of lye here.

  10. Joy   October 19, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Hmmm it looks great. I love the sauce.

  11. chef_d   October 18, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Yum, the caramel sauce looks gorgeous! Will definitely try to make your recipe next time.

  12. Su-sieee! Mac   October 18, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Suman! The mama used to make suman so sweet, I thought my teeth would melt. I have very fond memories (and probably still the fat) of that suman. Today, she makes it not so sweet. She does a couple types of suman. My favorite is the one without the leaves. She always switches up her recipe. It was years before I tasted other kinds of suman. I’ve often wondered whether she adapted traditional recipes with what ingredients she could find when she first came to the U.S. over 60 years ago.

  13. Jeannie   October 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    This sounds delicious! I think we have a similar recipe for this suman except we wrap them in bamboo leaves and eat them with coconut jam or just dip into sugar.

  14. cusinera   October 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    love the sauce…and of course the coconut sprinkles=) YUM!

  15. Trissa   October 16, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    This is just gorgeous! I missed this month’s KCC challenge – so I’ll just drool over yours. I do love the dark and rich coconut cream caramel sauce. I didn’t realize that was how you make it.


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