When you live on top of a windy hill, you know it really is already summer when the usual cool breeze blowing you house almost endlessly stops suddenly and, in exchange, the humid air start circulating (or not circulating) and you feel dirt clinging on every surface of your skin.
That’s exactly what I felt when April started — I felt so filthy and no matter how long I stay in the shower, the heat and the dirt are there again when I go out. One hot afternoon, while repeatedly ranting on how hot it is like a mantra, I roamed outside the house and noticed an abundance of cassava plants growing in the backyard. The moment I saw them, I thought instantly of nilupak and sumang kamoteng kahoy so I went back inside the house immediately to get a gulok and started digging. I got a loot so I asked my wife (who’s on her way home from work) to buy grated coconut from Tagaytay market, let the house helpers clean and grate the cassava while I went out to get banana leaves from our neighbor’s backyard.
That very night, we feasted on cassava suman.
Cassava Suman Recipe
- 3 cups finely grated cassava
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated coconut
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk or coconut milk (optional)
- banana leaves for wrapping
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You may refrigerate (or freeze) the cassava mixture for about 30 minutes while preparing the banana leaves. Pass the banana leaves, one by one, on the flame until they become soft and translucent but not burned. Cut the leaves equally (about six to eight inches on each side) and wrap about four to six heaping spoonfuls cassava mixture.
Layer the wrapped cassava in a steamer and steam for 15 to 20 minutes or until the topmost layer is cooked. Allow the suman to cool and serve.
Note: This is not the exact way I prepared the cassava suman but the proportion is almost the same. You may adjust the taste as you mix all the ingredients.
Here in Tagaytay, cassava is called balinghoy but in Nueva Ecija, we call it kamoteng kahoy.