Here in the US- my home away from home, I look forward to holidays and weekends when family and friends gather and celebrate. The centerpiece of the gathering is food. Filipino comfort food.
My circle of friends’ most requested merienda (snack) or dessert for pot luck is cassava suman. This kakanin, as we call it in the Philippines, can be cooked using grated cassava or rice flour, depending on one’s preference.
I remember growing up, I would help my mom serve customers at our “sari-sari” store after school and during the weekend. A lady named “Manang Edna” would stop by selling her kakanin, in a bilao (bamboo tray) or bamboo basket. One of my favorite kakanin was cassava suman (alupi). She had other kakanin which I also liked, such as bitso-bitso (fried twisted rice cake), and puto lanson (steamed cassava cake) I will get to these two later.
One important tip in cooking this kakanin is to cook it from scratch. Here in the US, international stores sell fresh cassava or its more common variety, yucca. Grating your own cassava(or yucca) will ensure that the finished product is moist and chewy. Store bought frozen cassava is not only expensive, but it is also a bit too dry compared to its freshly grated counterpart. Grating your own cassava, however, will require some of your time. You can do this while watching your favorite “soap” on TFC or while streaming your K-drama on Netflix.😊
Let’s get cooking!
Cassava Suman Recipe
Prep Time: 1.5 hours
Cooking Time: 45 min
5 pieces medium size cassava
3 packs frozen grated cassava
2 cups brown sugar
banana leaves (washed, pat dried, and wilted by having sides passed over a low burning stove)
- To peel the cassava, cut the ends off. With a knife, cut into the skin by marking around it two to three times. Then use your fingers to pull the skin away from its smooth surface.
- Wash it thoroughly. Then, grate the cassava.(Do not squeeze the juice off. This will keep it moist.)
- Mix the grated cassava with brown sugar until well blended.
- Scoop two spoonfuls of the mixture and spread it on a 6 X 10 inches banana leaf.
- Roll it, fold the edges and tie both ends with a banana strip.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a steamer.
- Arrange the cassava suman in the steamer.(Do not stack them up, so it will cook evenly.)
- Boil for 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Let it cool. Enjoy!
Tip: Steaming the cassava instead of boiling it will ensure that it won’t stick to the leaves and become wet and soggy.