Balisungsong…??? I bet you know this or have tried it one time or another but you don’t know what it is called. Balisungsong actually means cone or funnel shaped in Filipino language. For us in Bulacan, Balisungsong is cone shaped steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves and is commonly serve in Malolos and Guiginto.
It is always on the table for special occasions like fiesta, birthday, anniversary, wedding you name it. Most often than not people who are not accustomed to it thought it is suman or rice cake wrapped in banana leaves. Well, it does look like suman and it is made from regular rice not sweet or glutinous rice. I would say it is a special preparation for your regular steamed rice. The rice is wrapped in banana leaves formed in conical shaped which is then steamed till it is cooked. The banana leaves also give that green color to the cooked rice and is very fragrant too. And it pairs well with any dish. Preparing this seems complicated but the end product is so yummy! It is different from Balisungsong from the Bicol region which use cassava roots or taro roots and are serve as snack or dessert. Though both Balisungsong have that conical shape and are wrapped in banana leaves.
You guys, I am so excited to share this recipe! The Balisungsong aroma steaming from our rice cooker is filling up the whole house. I am pretty sure it was from the banana leaves. And I think I got the right banana leaves this time. I mean, I tried this before but it was not as fragrant as it is this time. But I will see more once it is cooked, if it generates the same green color I am hoping for. Oh I just can’t wait. And this aroma, it is making me hungry! Okay, I just looked at it! The one that was sitting at the top portion was hard I mean, not fully cooked yet but the rest was cooked. The bottom of the pan though still have some water, so I removed each of the rice carefully and put the ones that were at the top when I first cooked them to the bottom so it will cook more. I did look at the cooked rice on banana leaves and they were beautiful! Perfect Green! Believe me, I tried to stop myself from tasting it but I could not. How can I resist? The aroma of the Balisungsung that filled the house is pulling me closer to it. My precious, I feel like I am Gollum from Lord of the Rings!
So why did it take me forever to post this recipe, I think it’s because I want to make it when I get to go back in the Philippines because I know I can get the right kind of banana leaves. Then why make it now? Well, I have said before that we went on our Outer Banks vacation and I was tasked to bring the banana leaves for the Boodle food fight. Lo and behold, I forgot and left it in our freezer and the banana leaves never made it to Outer Banks. I searched and there was no store there that sells it. And now, I have three packages of banana leaves sitting in my freezer. So do not be surprised if the succeeding posts will have banana leaves put into use.
So how do you cook or make Balisungsong? First, you have to rinse the banana leaves make sure they are free from dirt or dust if it was freshly cut from your yard. Or if you got it from market, just wash them with clean running water. Then, prepare the rice by rinsing it first, 2-3 washings is what I do. Once the rice is washed, cut the banana leaves about 6 inches wide. Then, you roll the leaves from the edge to form a cone. Once you have the cone shaped wrapper, put about a half of rice then close the top by folding the end.
If using stove and pot: Line the bottom of the pot with some banana leaves so it doesn’t stick. Then, arrange the folded rice in the pot. Put enough water to make sure all the rice wrapped in banana leaves are submerged in the water. If you have extra banana leaves, you can also put some on top to cover everything. Put the pot in the stove over high heat. Let it boil, then turn the heat to low and let it simmer till cooked. Serve warm. And remove or peel off the banana leaves before serving.
If using the rice cooker: Put some banana leaves at the bottom, arrange the wrapped rice in rice cooker. Put enough water so everything is submerged in water. Turn the rice cooker and wait till it is cooked.
I hope you will enjoy Balisungsong or Steamed Rice in Banana Leaves. Do not forget to like our page and share it with your friends. Till next time. Have a good one!
- 3 cups white rice
- 5 cups water or more to immerse rice
- banana leaves cut 6 inches wide (about 15 pcs)
- In a bowl, wash rice 2-3 times till the water runs clear.
- Fold the banana leaves to form a cone shape, then add rice to it about half-filled each then fold the end.
- In the pot, arrange the wrapped rice in banana leaves.
- Put water and make sure all wrapped rice are submerged in water.
- Cover the pot and put in the stove over high heat, let it boil.
- Then, let it simmer over low heat till rice is cooked.
- Remove from heat, peel off the banana leaves when ready to eat. Serve with your favorite dish.
If you have extra banana leaves, you can also put it on top to cover everything.
If you have pandan/screwpine leaves, use 1 it will make it more fragrant and flavorful.
Filipino Word of the Day!
Dahon ng Saging-Banana Leaves