Perhaps the most loved of all Philippine desserts that Filipinos cannot wait to eat during the Christmas season in the Philippines is puto bumbong, a purple-colored sticky rice cake shaped like small logs and flavored with muscovado sugar or panutsa, grated meat of fresh coconuts, and butter or margarine.
Yes, puto bumbong is such a favorite in the Philippines that Filipinos think of Christmas in the colors of not just red and green but also purple!
Puto bumbong, along with other favorite Filipino Christmas foods like bibingka, tsokolate and salabat, are sold right outside the many Catholic churches in the Philippines from December 16 to 24 each year, when many Filipinos attend the nine-day Christmas dawn masses that start as early as 3 o’clock in the morning.
Traditional Way of Preparing Puto Bumbong
Traditionally, puto bumbong is made using a local lansungan, a tin or stainless steel steamer placed on top of a pot of boiling water.
Lansungan has either two or three open holes where bamboo tubes covered with muslin or cheesecloth are mounted.
Filipinos pour into the bamboo tubes the ingredients for puto bumbong then steam them.
In a matter of seconds, puto bumbong should be cooked – fantastic speed!
While preparing puto bumbong is fairly fast to make, lansungan is not easy to find outside of the Philippines.
Quick-witted Filipinos living overseas, however, have made a way to make this all-time favorite Filipino Christmas rice cake without the traditional lansungan.
Improvised Way of Preparing Puto Bumbong
Filipinos living outside of the Philippines make puto bumbong with just strainers, aluminum foil-covered heavy-duty paper like cardboard, and pots filled with water.
Since this improvised way does not make use of bamboo tubes, then the shape of the end-product is naturally not cylindrical but rather cup-like.
Still, the taste is absolutely the same as the puto bumbong prepared in bamboo tubes.
Here is a trouble-free and non-traditional puto bumbong recipe that does not need a lansungan.
Ingredients for Making Puto Bumbong
- banana leaves – cut into 2 square pieces
- coconut meat – fresh and grated; 2 tablespoons
- margarine or butter – 1 tablespoon
- muscovado sugar or panutsa(sugar cane sweet) – 2 tablespoons
- pandan leaves – 1 stalk
- pirurutong or purple-brown aromatic sticky rice – ½ cup
- white sticky rice – 1 cup
- water – about 4 cups
Note: If pirurutong is not available, use 2 cups of white sticky rice and 2 teaspoons of purple food color in the flavor of water or winged yam.
Tools for Making Puto Bumbong
- aluminum foil for covering heavy-duty paper
- heavy-duty paper cut into circles and with a circular opening in the middle (opening should be big enough for a small-sized strainer to fit inside)
- large-sized mixing bowl
- medium-sized strainer
- muslin or cheese cloth
- pot large enough to hold water
- small-sized strainer
Preparations for Puto Bumbong
- Wash the white sticky rice and pirurutong with water then drain.
- When the white sticky rice and pirurutong are already cleaned, place them in a pot.
- Fill the pot with water up to about one inch from the top surface of the rice.
- Soak the rice overnight or for at least eight hours.
- Place the soaked rice in a blender and blend until grainy.
- Place the grainy rice in a muslin or cheese cloth.
- Tie the cloth and place it on a medium-sized strainer.
- Wait until most of the liquid from the rice in the cloth is drained. This should take at least four hours.
Instructions for Making Puto Bumbong
- Get the moist rice mixture from the muslin or cheese cloth and place it in a large-sized mixing bowl.
- Crush the rice mixture by hand until its texture becomes consistent.
- Place pandan leaves into a pot.
- Pour water into the pot.
- Place the heavy-duty paper covered with aluminum foil on the lid of the pot.
- Apply butter or margarine on the small-sized strainer.
- Fill the small-sized strainer with the rice mixture.
- Fit the small-sized strainer into the hole at the middle of the heavy-duty paper.
- Cover the pot and let the mixture steam for 60 seconds or up to two minutes.
- Scoop out the steamed rice cake and place on banana leaves.
- Flavor the rice cake with muscovado sugar or panutsa, butter or margarine, and grated meat of fresh coconuts.
Voila! Your puto bumbong is ready to eat. Have a merry Christmas!
Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista
All Rights Reserved
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Interesting Hubs About Filipino Christmas
- How to Make a Philippine Parol: Filipino Christmas Star Lantern
- 10 Joyful Ways to Celebrate Philippine Christmas
- 10 All-Time Favorite Filipino Christmas Foods
- 10 Timeless Philippine Christmas Songs
How to Make Puto Bumbong
The Philippines on the Map
Judith S-U on September 12, 2018:
I love to see the pics of the improvised cardboard with aluminium cover lansugan if you could please upload it. Thank you
loretta on December 19, 2017:
Loretta thank you for sharing. i don't know if i'm going to make this, but l enjoy reading and sharing!!!
Cabural61 on May 10, 2013:
Please help me find puto bumbong cookware...
Glo L Bernadas from Philippines on June 13, 2012:
I love Filipino Food - especially home-made Filipino delicacies. Great hub!
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on December 16, 2011:
Another wonderful Philippines cultural food hub! This is really something different to serve at Christmastime here for a bit of an international flair. Very well-written.
I want to take this time, before the Christmas rush next week, to wish you a Happy Holiday season. I have enjoyed knowing you and reading your interesting hubs on hubpages. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family!
Admiral_Joraxx from Philippines on December 09, 2011:
Hey Kerlyn dawn mass is underway and this hub of yours perfectly reminds me of good picks for after mass snacks. Great post here. Thanks for sharing. =) 1 vote up for this.