Coconut and its many uses

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Coconut as a whole has been the livelihood of many people in the Philippines. The fruit for eating, the tree for firewood or furniture, the leaves for making hats, and other uses but also to make wraps for sticky rice we call “suman”. The sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice or “mochi” rice, is soaked in coconut milk with a little bit of salt overnight then wrap tightly with the young leaves of coconut. The young leaves are more pliable than the matured ones that’s why it’s preferred to be used as wrapping material. The rice is encased in the ready-made leaves and then closed tightly and pinned with the stick made of the hard part of the leaves and then steamed in a big cauldron for about an hour or so and the “suman” is ready. Depending on the region of the Philippines you came from, the way we eat “suman” has differences. Some pair it with ripe mangoes to eat. Some dip it in sugar and grated coconut. In my hometown, we dip it in coconut caramel, a reduction of coconut milk and brown sugar we call “ginaok” However you want to eat it , “suman is the best snack or merienda you’ll ever have.

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