Suman Sa Lihiya
is a Filipino sweet sticky rice cake steamed in a banana leaf.
It has wonderful chewy, gooey, sticky texture which comes from treating the rice in lihiya
, or lye water.
Unfortunately, lye water is not easy to find in the U.S. Although it is not dangerous at this concentration, some people don't like the idea of ingesting a substance which shares the same active ingredient as Drano.
You have probably consumed lye before: it's used to make olives, pretzels, and various Asian noodles, such as ramen and lo mein.
If you don't have, or don't want to use lye, don't worry! You can still make this recipe work.
According to this article
, it turns out that baked baking soda will work as a substitute.
Baking the baking soda turns it into sodium carbonate, a stronger alkali, which makes it suitable to use in place of lye water.
I tried it, and it worked perfectly!
This recipe is non-traditional. It is more of a combonation of Suman Sa Lihiya and Suman Sa Gata (Coconut Milk Sticky Rice Cake)
You get the best of both worlds : the chewiness of the treated rice combined with the flavor of coconut milk.
Feeling hungry? Let's make some suman!