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How to Make Puso (Hanging Rice)

Puso or hanging rice is integral in everyday Cebuano culture. Read more to learn about puso and how to make it.

If you live in Cebu or have been on the island and have come across those hanging bundles of aromatic, diamond-shaped steamed rice laced in coconut leaves, then you have been blessed with the centuries-old goodness of “puso” or hanging rice.

Puso is a food staple that is distinctly Cebuano. Coming to Cebu, one can’t help but notice bundles of it hanging at street carts and even restaurants. 

It would be impossible (and quite a feat) to have come to the island and not gorged on these steamed rice packets because it is offered virtually everywhere. Puso is one of the most treasured Cebu delicacies, and the art of making hanging rice is a living tradition that dates back centuries.

Puso is an integral part of Cebu’s identity. For those planning to explore the island and immerse in its culture, eating puso will be a great initiation.

What is puso?

Puso (pronounced as pusô) is a rice cooking method that is popular in Visayas, particularly in Cebu. It is steamed rice wrapped inside a pouch made of coconut fronds or “lukay” that is woven in the shape of a diamond.

Puso is an alternative way of preparing and eating steamed rice. Those who are trying to control the amount of rice they eat would find it favorable since the rice in each woven packet is measured. Puso comes in different sizes too, depending on the maker.

Eating grilled food or viands with savory paste in Cebu is best experienced with puso because it makes you eat by hand. 

Origin

Puso is believed to be an art form dedicated to the old pre-colonial deities. Its preparation is one that requires precision, accuracy, speed, and skill as a weaver. Such a meticulous process was devoted to the gods along with the sacrificial livestock.

In modern-day society, hanging rice is used for daily consumption and is deeply woven into the fabric of Cebuanos’ everyday lives.

How to make puso

Source: http://lutongpinoy.info/puso-hanging-rice/

Making puso takes a lot of practice. To make it, here are the things you need:

  • palm fronds from coconut leaves called “lukay”
  • rice (uncooked)
  • pot of boiling water

Instructions:

  1. Remove the palm midribs and cut off the edge of the palm leaves. 
  2. Split the leaves to make palm strips.
  3. Create a tightly closed packet by weaving the palm strips. Refer to the video in this article for a step-by-step weaving process. Make it into a three-dimensional diamond or a “puso”, a local term for banana tree blossoms.
  4. Place a handful of uncooked rice inside the diamond packet. Repeat the process for several more packets, depending on how much more you want to make.
  5. Boil the water in an aluminum drum for 15 minutes using gas burners or wood for fuel.
  6. Put the rice grain-filled diamond packets inside the drum for another 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the packets from the drum and allow them to cool to remove excess moisture.
  8. Tie the packets together into bunches of 10. 
  9. Serve hot with your favorite dish.

The rice inside the hanging rice will have a distinctive scent from the palm leaves that enclose it. It can be seasoned with dried spices and herbs for extra flavor like gingered powder, minced onion or garlic, or chili flakes.

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