Share Sweet Rice Cakes with Your Sweetheart

Share Sweet Rice Cakes with Your Sweetheart

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day Without Busting the Budget?

Filipinos always observe traditional celebration even during times when almost everyone is tightening the belt.

There was a time when getting buried in debts was the norm. Providing a sumptuous feast for visitors even when the hosts were broke was extremely foolish. Good thing, that way of thinking was steadily being washed out by the practicality of modern times.

Frugality and sentimentality can go hand in hand.

The Chinese New Year celebration often calls for something round like oranges and something sticky like the ‘tikoy’.

Tikoy delicacy is round-shaped rice cake made from pureed glutinous rice and steamed until cooked. It tastes bland even when different flavors are available in the supermarket nowadays.

How to Prepare Tikoy for Breakfast and Merienda Time


Strips of tikoy, about 1/4 inch thick
1 piece white egg, lightly beaten

Cooking Procedure:

  1. Heat very small amount of oil in non-stick pan.
  2. Soak the tikoy strips in egg.
  3. Place the strips in the pan side by side and fry until egg turned crisp and golden.
  4. Flip the strips to toast the top side. The tikoy would be soft like melted marshmallow inside the thin egg coating.
  5. Sprinkle white sugar on the fried tikoy. Serve with hot chocolate, coffee, or tea.

Cooking oil is not good for the heart so the fried tikoy dish may not be appropriate for Valentine’s Day.

Trivia: In Lady R’s household, the large-sized tikoy often lasts until March. lol

Here’s a favorite Filipino rice cake recipe — ‘Suman sa Lihiya’ — glutinous rice with lye wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. This rice cake also tastes bland so it is served with ‘latik’ (curdled coconut cream) and coco jam or fresh coconut shreds with white sugar.

How to Cook Quick-and-Easy Suman sa Lihiya


2 cups whole-grain glutinous rice, washed and drained
1 Tbsp lye solution
A pinch of salt
Banana leaves, cut and wilted over open fire


  1. Wash the glutinous rice twice and drain.
  2. Mix the lye solution thoroughly until the white rice grains turned slightly greenish in color.
  3. Place 2 Tbsp of rice on the center of a banana leaf. Make sure the leaf is properly wilted to avoid tearing.
  4. Wrapping the suman is a bit tricky. Fold the 2 sides of the leaf to form a roll, then fold both ends to seal in the rice.
  5. To keep the wrapped rice from bursting while steaming, tie the suman rolls in pairs. Make sure the folded sides face each other before securing each end with a sturdy string.
  6. Steam or boil in water for 30 to 45 minutes. To make sure suman is cooked, carefully unwrap one roll to look inside.
  7. To serve, remove banana wrapping and arrange on a plate. Top with garnishing of choice: latik with sweet coconut jam on top or shredded coconut flesh with sugar.

How to Make Latik

Boil 1 cup coconut cream or ‘kakang gata’ in a pan over very low heat. Do not stir until oil appears. Toast until turned golden brown and crisp.

How to Make Coco Jam

Mix 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup brown sugar. Boil over low medium heat. Stir continuously to avoid curdling. Remove from heat when mixture is thick.

The latik-and-jam concoction requires more time to prepare but this will last longer when stored in clean jars and inside the refrigerator. The fresh coconut garnishing usually turns stale after a few hours.

To make a special suman dish for your sweetheart, drizzle the rice rolls with thick maple syrup or chocolate sauce.

Find more rice cakes here..

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