Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pusô, The Art of Cooking Rice

In addition to my recent post about the southern Philippines dish called “Balbacua”, let me share with you another specialty cuisine from the same Visayan region called “Pusô”. Please remember that the pronunciation is what we refer to in the Filipino language as “maragsa”. This is quite interesting because we can consider “Pusô” as the Filipino artistic way of preparing rice. Artistic because “Pusô” is cooking rice inside an individual packet of intricately woven young coconut leaf, resembling the size and shape of the human heart, the reason for its name. When cooked, the packet becomes its beautiful wrapper which could be hang inside the eateries and restaurants to be picked by customers when eating. That’s the reason why it is oftentimes referred to by visitors as “The Hanging Rice”.

Our friends from Cebu and Bohol happen to be skillful in making “Pusô”. So when the need for ready-cooked rice arises, we decided to prepare “Pusô”. We are so excited specially those from Luzon (Philippines) who will see how it is done for the first time. Yes that includes me, and I know right from the start that it will be full of fun.

The first requirement is finding a young coconut leaves. My good friend from Caloocan who has never eaten “Pusô” before was requested to gather the material. He excitedly obliged, but clueless as he is, it came out that the leaves he got are not young enough. It is already light green in color as oppose to the correct age with yellowish color. But since it is already getting dark and we failed to find any source from our backyard, we decided to use the leaves anyway. We just thought, having greener “Pusô” will not be bad at all.

After individually cleaning the leaves and separating them from the stick part, our friends from Cebu and Bohol commenced the elaborate intertwining of “Pusô” and the fun started.

It is really a sight to behold how such a creative hand produces the pretty packets one by one. It did not take long for two proficient “Pusô” makers to make more than 50 little packets. It sure is very difficult for me, for all of us from Luzon, but not for them. :)

The next step is to fill it up with rice grain. From the small opening on top, we carefully put some Jasmine rice inside up to the level just below the middle line. Filling it over that and it will result to quite tough rice. How did we know it? We sampled one, that’s why. After filling the right quantity of rice, it will be sealed by a few more interlacing and locking.

After we have completed filling all the more than 50 packets, we continue to the final step of cooking the rice. For those who cannot cook rice perfectly, this is for you. You don’t have to really watch over the quantity of water. Just fill the kettle with water halfway, have it boil then drop your uncooked “Pusô” about three at a time until the kettle is full. Cover and wait for 30 minutes.

No need to really bother about the level of heat for as long as the water is kept boiling. After 30 minutes the “Pusô” are aromatic and ready to be served. It sure looks greener than those in Cebu or Bohol, but I can assure you, it’s just as good.

It’s so easy, foolproof cooking you could say ……..for as long as you have friends who will do the weaving. It’s really fun to cook rice this way. It is distinctively delicious and perfect to be eaten with barbeque even without using plates and “adobo”, “dinuguan”, “humba”, “balbacua”, “paksiw”, “lechon”, etc. on the dining table. c“,)


  1. ready to eat anytime especially with pork or chicken BBQ. No need for a plate, spoon or fork for as long you have clean hands, he he he

  2. I noticed that you used the mature dark green leaves instead of the younger yellow green leaves. Is there no change in taste and aroma?

  3. Elmer you are right with the use of the young yellow leaves. It is just that during preparation it was already past 6pm and dark and what we got was a little older leaves ... just a little over the right condition but not really dark green or mature. There was no obvious effect or change on the taste and aroma. :-)



Related Posts with Thumbnails