If the scent of chestnuts roasting on an open fire reminds Westerners that Christmas is fast approaching, definitely for us Filipinos, it’s the sound of Puto Bumbong being cooked in the early morning that alerts us that Christmas is already near.
Puto Bumbong is a form of rice cake that is usually made during the Christmas season. Very few establishments serve Puto Bumbong the whole year round. It is often sold in the early mornings of December and serves as a great breakfast for those who just attended Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo.
One of the most striking features of the Puto Bumbong is its color. Unlike most forms of rice cakes that come in white or with a hint of yellow or green, the color of Puto Bumbong is purple. I really don’t know why the makers of these native delicacy tried to use food coloring to it but it works, for it adds some sort of charm and makes Puto Bumbong a bit special among other kakanins out there.
Puto Bumbong: Sarap ng Pasko
Coming home to a Puto Bumbong Breakfast
One of the perks of coming home to my home town in Liliw, Laguna for the Halloween is being treated to a Puto Bumbong breakfast. Like I said earlier, this local rice cakes are only sold seasonally so you not pass up this great opportunity once it presented itself.
Another thing is that Puto Bumbong is not popular in the provinces of Visayas and Mindanao. I’ve spent Christmas in Cebu for several years now and never did I see Puto Bumbong being made or sold in streets or near churches in this province.
How to Cook Puto Bumbong
Making Puto Bumbong requires a special boiler/steamer in order to cook this great rice cake. Unlike your ordinary suman, which requires boiling, Puto bumbong needs steam to cook it.
The main ingredient of Puto Bumbong is galapong. Galapong is made from soaked malagkit or glutenous rice. After hours of soaking, the malagkit is then grinded using the traditional stone mill or gilingan. It is very difficult to find these gilingan these days for working it requires a lot of effort and most landscape artists buy these artifacts for a hefty sum from their owners for the make beautiful center pieces in gardens.
Galapong for Puto Bumbong!!!
The lady selling Puto Bumbong in our place told me that they don’t use modern equipments to make galapong, for galapong is very delicate and contact with any metal equipment can make the mixture sour. Once the rice is finally grinded, some coloring and secret flavorings are added.
Putting Galopong inside Bamboo Tubes
Once the mixture is finally ready, they put this on bamboo tubes, which in turn will be placed on top of a special steamer. Steaming of Puto Bumbong requires around 5 minutes. While being cooked, the steam rising from the bamboo tubes emit a whistling sound. You will know that your Puto Bumbong is ready when the whistling stops. You just have to tap the bamboo tubes in your hand to release its content.
Cooking Puto Bumbong on special Steamers
One steamer can only cook 3 Puto Bumbong at a time and since the family here only owns one such steamer, waiting in line can be a bit of a hassle.
Puto Bumbong is served with freshly grated coconut meat, margarine and some sugar. It is then wrapped in banana leaves. Puto Bumbong here sells for 20 pesos per order that contains 2 pieces of the purple colored kakanin.
Puto Bumbong Toppings: Margarine, Sugar and Grated Coconut
And since I’ll be staying for a week more here in Laguna, I’ll have a few more chances of having my fill of some of my favorite Filipino local delicacies and kakanin like Puto Bumbong, suman, espasol and bibingka.
Finished Product: Puto Bumbong for Breakfast
If you know how the Puto Bumbong originated or if you want to share your favorite traditional Pinoy Christmas Food and delicacies, please leave your Comments below.
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Advanced Merry Christmas!!!!