Christmas is the most celebrated season of the year. Filipinos start to spread the spirit of Christmas as early as September. And with Christmas, comes the favorite Christmas specialties. The two favorite Christmas dishes in Philippine cuisine are Puto Bumbong and Bibingka.
Puto Bumbong is a part of Philippine cuisine that is based on rice. This is how to cook Puto Bumbong. For one hour, soak a kilo of glutinous (a special type of rice) and 125 grams of ordinary rice mixture in salted water. If you want you can add some food coloring. Dry the Puto Bumbong mixture overnight inside a clean flour sack. Squeeze out the excess water. The following morning, the Puto Bumbong mixture is ready for cooking.
Use a steamer to cook the Puto Bumbong mixture. Pour in a small measure of Puto Bumbong mixture in bamboo tubes (locally known as “bumbong”). Place the bamboo tubes in a steamer.
You’ll know when Puto Bumbong is cooked when steam rise out of the bamboo tubes. Push out the cooked Puto Bumbong from the bamboo tubes. Serve the cooked Puto Bumbong with grated coconut and sugar on top.
The other favorite Christmas delicacy is Bibingka or rice cakes. Here’s how to make them. Soak 250 grams of glutinous rice in water for six hours then grind it. Beat one egg. Have 25 grams goat milk’s cheese sliced into desired thickness (you can try other cheese if you like).
In a saucepan, boil a half-liter of thin coconut milk. Continue boiling while adding in the ground rice, beaten egg, and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Lower the flame, then add 100 grams of sugar. Stir thoroughly to blend.
Put some banana leaves on small cake molds and pour the rice mixture in. Add in sliced cheese and 100 ml thick coconut milk. Sprinkle some anise powder on the top and cover the mixture to add to the aroma. Cook the Bibingka with live charcoal on the lid and below the cake mold for 15-20 minutes.
Unfortunately, there are no instant mixes of Puto Bumbong and Bibingka. There are no substitutes for these delicious Christmas rice specialties of the Philippines.
When you visit the Philippines for the holidays, you’ll be enchanted with the sweet smell of freshly cooked Puto Bumbong and Bibingka that blends well with the cold early mornings and nights. Though these rice specialties come in different sizes and shapes, having Puto Bumbong and Bibingka during the Christmas season helps make the Christmas spirit livelier.