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How to Upgrade Traditional Puto Bumbong

How to Upgrade Traditional Puto Bumbong
Making puto bumbong requires a special kind of steamer.

Christmas time is the season of freshly cooked bibingka and puto bumbong. Street stalls selling them pop up everywhere and restaurants release their own takes. You'll even find versions as cakes, ice cream, and even pizza!

But between the two native delicacies, puto bumbong recipes do not gain as much traction with home cooks. Many would rather play around with bibingka and come up with variations of the cake than the puto. Why, you ask? Simple, these purple sticky rice rolls require specific equipment to make.

Buying them ready-made is, therefore, more convenient and affordable. But don’t take that as an excuse not to get creative with them. You can upgrade the classic kakanin in numerous ways. Take your pick from these novel options.

Try It With New Toppings

Grated fresh coconut, muscovado sugar, and margarine are the usual bumbong toppings. Jazz up your logs by coming up with new flavor combos. Want something sweet and savory? Add slices of leche flan plus its syrup on top, then finish it with some grated cheddar cheese. Other options are salted egg slices, fruit cocktail, and even chia seeds

Drink It in a Milkshake

Are you tired of the usual chocolate and strawberry milkshakes? Up the ante with bumbong-inspired chillers. To make, combine two scoops of Selecta Super Thick Ube Royale Ice Cream, a splash of milk, and some ice in a blender. Here comes the surprise! Add chopped pieces of the rice cake, then blitz until creamy. Garnish with whipped cream and some niyog.

Make Dessert Spring Rolls

You’ll never go wrong with spring rolls! They’re terrific as ulam or a quick snack, but you can also turn them into dessert. Take a piece of rice paper, place your kakanin at the center, and roll it like a lumpia. Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown and drain on paper towels. Enjoy while they’re still warm! Pro tip: tuck a slice of cheese inside your roll, too.

Dip in Chocolate

Have you tried rice cakes coated in chocolate? They’re absolutely divine! For your next party, why not set up a chocolate fondue station? This interactive dessert will get your guests excited! You can prepare different types of chocolate sauces, like dark, white, or even flavored options. Besides fresh fruits, marshmallows, and cookies, serve proudly Pinoy dippers, like cubes of puto bumbong at bibingka.

Get Creative With Sauces and Spreads

Follow in the footsteps of suman sa lihiya by enjoying freshly cooked purple rolls with flavorful sauces. There’s no need to spend time cooking for this upgrade. Just grab store-bought sauces, syrups, or spreads from your pantry! Some options to consider:

  • coco jam
  • hazelnut cocoa spread
  • peanut butter
  • cheese spread
  • dulce de leche
  • condensed milk
  • chocolate, strawberry, or caramel syrup
  • fruit preserves

Turn It into Truffles

Chocolate truffles are to die for! Take them as inspiration when you prepare bite-sized pieces of your rice cakes. Slice logs into half-inch pieces, then roll in niyog. For a healthier take, coat them in sugar-free peanut butter, honey, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, or coconut flakes. Chill in the fridge before serving.

Fry Like Suman

Don’t know what to do with days-old, refrigerated rolls? Bring life to leftovers by lightly crisping up their outer layer in oil or butter, like fried suman. You don’t want to cook them too much because they can get too tough and chewy. Make sure to drain them on paper towels to remove excess fat. Or, heat them in an air-fryer just until the edges are crisp. Transfer to serving plates, then top with scoops of vanilla ice cream. 

Eating puto bumbong will never be the same once you try one of these easy upgrades. Make them yourself and explore the many ways you can play with these classic Christmas treats.

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