I love dessert. And who doesn’t anyway?
In fact, It’s my favorite part of the meal and even so the idea of having “dessert first” always entices me. So the other day, I bumped into a friend and our discussion ended up with dessert recipes, I was totally surprised that she dislikes dessert. I understand her point that most often desserts are almost synonymous with sinful food : high in calories , too sweet, too heavy, too fancy and everything. Well of course, not all desserts are like that I told her.
So I shared with her this easy to do comforting Filipino dessert that is absolutely hard to resist and yet guiltless: Cassava Suman. Suman is Filipino delicacy we eat as dessert or snacks made with sticky rice or cassava (manioc) that is steamed and wrapped in banana leaves. This dessert is perfect hot or cold that can be served with fresh ripe tropical fruits or hot coffee.
If you are not so familiar with Cassava or Kamoteng Kahoy in Tagalog it is known as Manioc or Yuca in other parts of the world. Cassava is actually a root crop with thick , rough and brown outside with a detachable rind of homogenous white flesh inside. it is a good source of carbohydrates.
Cleaning and Preparing Cassava
When you buy them from your favorite Asian store, be sure to wash them properly and thoroughly to remove all the dirt on the surface. Use a brush and lightly clean the surface with it to get rid of all the dirt. Choose cassava that are not too big and not to small. Cut them in medium sized pieces before peeling. Once they are cut, with the help of your knife make a small incision on the skin and lightly tear it off. Ready a basin full of water and soak the cut and peeled cassava on the water for a while. Wash them thoroughly again in clean running water. Now they are ready to for your recipe.
Suman Cassava for 15 to 20 pieces
1.5 kilos of Cassava
1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
banana leaves for wrapping
Using a grater, grate the peeled and washed cassava. The end product will be a soft tiny pieces of white sticky rind. To be sure, measure the grated cassava it will give you about 2 cups of grated cassava; In a bowl mix the sugar with coconut milk and vanilla essence. Then add the grated cassava. Mix well. Cut your banana leaves in about 12 inches lenght. To use them easily warm the banana leaves first over fire. Once your banana leaves have softened; put about two tablespoons of cassava mixture. Put the mixture in the middle and fold the leaves toward the center. You will have about fifteen to twenty pieces of suman. Steam them for about thirty minutes in a double boiler. Do the toothpick test to verify if its ready.
You can adjust the recipe; remember that the grated cassava should be twice the liquid (coconut milk). You can also adjust the sweetness you can put more or less sugar; You can also add variety in this recipe: you can use honey instead of sugar, add chopped nuts like cashew or pistachio or add some coconut strips or even more inventive by adding some chocolate on your suman. Have fun