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close up of suman malagkit on banana leaf

Suman Malagkit (Filipino Steamed Rice Cakes)

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  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 9 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 suman
  • Diet: Vegan


Learn how to make suman malagkit, a sticky rice cake from the Philippines made of steamed, sweetened glutinous rice wrapped with banana leaves. It’s perfect for a snack, dessert, or even breakfast! 



  • 2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
  • 3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sweet rice
  • Fresh or frozen banana leaves ( you’ll need 10 12×10 inch pieces plus extra for tying)
  • Optional: 2 inches fresh ginger, sliced into 2-3 large chunks

Coconut Caramel Sauce (Optional)

  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup brown or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Large wok or pot (preferably non-stick)
  • Clean flat surface (for stuffing leaves)
  • Shallow steamer pot
  • Scissors, to cut banana leaves
  • Clean towel, to clean banana leaves


  1. Rinse the rice 3-4 times or until the water runs clear. Place it into a large bowl, cover with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. Add in the coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a deep skillet or wok over medium heat. Mix until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Drain the excess water from the rice and add it to the wok with the ginger.
  4. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, stir until it becomes thick, like oatmeal or porridge. Remove from heat and discard the ginger. Set aside for now.
  5. Wash banana leaves and then pat gently with a towel. If they are frozen, run them under warm water until thawed.
  6. Cut the banana leaves into 12×10 inch pieces. Heat both sides of the banana leaves over low heat on the stovetop and then set aside.
  7. Scoop 1/3 cup of the rice mixture into the prepared banana leaves and spread it out into a smooth shape about 5-inches long, about 1 inch away from the bottom. Roll the banana leaf over the mound of rice, then fold in the sides. Continue until you have rolled all of the suman.
  8. Rip strings from the extra banana leaves and tie the suman shut. You can tie them individually or in pairs. Kitchen twine works here as well.
  9. Place into a shallow steamer pot and add enough water to where it’s touching the suman.
  10. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and steam for 1 hour, adding more water as needed.
  11. Prepare the caramel sauce. Combine all ingredients except for the vanilla in a small pot over medium heat and whisk together until smooth. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until thick caramel forms, regularly mixing for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
  12. Once the suman is done, remove it from the steamer and allow it to cool until easy to handle.
  13. Unwrap the suman and serve with a drizzle of caramel sauce. Enjoy!


  • My family steams our suman but I have also seen other versions that boil it as well. You can check out this post for more info.
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Filiipino