Monday, December 17, 2007

Misa De Gallo Treats: Langka Suman and Intemtem

[The Colors of Christmas]

Christmas can be one very big excuse for decadence, for indulging in your wildest imagination and actually translating it into reality. So cakes, salads, kakanin and all kinds of desserts are the order of the day, and several kinds on the table is not actually frowned upon, for once in my family, during this season.

The bacchanalia is not even limited to Christmas Eve, extending to Christmas Day itself. The season officially starts with the onset of Advent, as practiced in the Roman Catholic Church, right on the first Sunday after the feast of Christ the King.

It usually falls on the first Sunday of December, with the buzz increasing daily until it attains deafening proportion nine days before Christmas - when the Misa de Gallo starts.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feasts are big buffet spreads, encompassing all courses imaginable, with several kinds of each. Misa de Gallo treats are a different matter, though. For one, eating after each dawn mass is not considered a party. And second, you can only eat so much so early in the morning.

And so Misa de Gallo treats are light, pre-breakfast fare, usually finger food cooked right in front of the church or along the streets leading to or coming from it. Breakfast, perhaps heavy, celebratory ones, is reserved for later, when the sun has warmed the air, maybe after a short nap that brings on renewed energy for sitting down on the table.

Eating right after Misa de Gallo, just outside the church, while walking home, or inside the house while tea or coffe is brewing, is communion after mass. Communion with your companions, who may play a major part in your success in completing all the nine days. Also communion with the local culture, because Misa de Gallo treats usually adhere to tradition.

They may be as nondescript as pandesal peddled on horn-tooting bikes, still hot from the ovens, filled with margarine and sugar, or liver spread, or pastillas, or katiba (coco jam). Or as opulent as ensaymada warmed with butter. Or as rooted to the locale as bibingka, or puto bumbong, or intemtem (commonly known by the Ilocano term tupig). And any suman variant, a product of community effort and the focus of community partaking. These are traditionally downed with either tsokolate or salabat (hot ginger drink), to warm the throats and fight the cold.

Langka Suman

1 kilo malagkit (glutinous rice)
1 cup washed sugar
Kakang gata from 2 coconuts, about 4-5 cups
500 grams ripe langka (jackfruit)
young banana leaves for wrapping
pandan leaves, washed (optional)

  1. Wash the rice and drain excess water. Transfer to a thick saucepan (kaldero), pour in the kakang gata and half the sugar. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Cook until almost dry. Mix in the pandan leaves. Lower heat until gata has been thoroughly absorbed. Add more sugar if desired.
  3. Wipe banana leaves clean, and run over fire. Spoon rice mixture onto spread banana leaves and shape into long rectangles. Insert langka as filling in the middle of rice mixture, then arrange slivers on top as decoration.
  4. Close banana leaves in overlapping fashion, with ends folded onto the suman. Tie both ends with string.
  5. Steam in a pan for 1-2 hours.

Makes about 25 pieces.

  • To make use of the santana (coco jam) that we made from the panutsa I bought in Naga, which has been sitting in the pantry for months, I swirled it into the suman and did away with the sugar.
  • Would have loved to include ube as filling, but the family has been fighting over it that I thought it wise to just let them have the haleya as it is.
  • Langka is back in the market so it is the perfect time to use it. Don't use the overripe fruit, though, as it will spoil the suman in no time at all. One way of extending the shelf life is boiling the langka in a little water and some sugar before using as filling.
  • Other fillings aside from langka and ube - ripe mangoes (now in season!), sweetened ripe saba, katiba, chocolate, peanut butter (yum!), cashew butter.
  • I didn't have any use for the 2nd gata so I used it to boil in the wrapped suman instead of water. This made the wrappings greasy and the unwrapping of the suman a messy affair. But the smell is heavenly.

Intemtem, or tupig in Ilocano, is the ultimate Misa de Gallo treat in Pangasinan. It is more popular than our version of the bibingka, which is in mini sizes and made of rice. Of course it is available year-round, after Sunday masses, but there's nothing like the smell of grilled banana leaves mixing in with the cold dawn air after Misa de Gallo. And the experience of unrolling the wrap and biting into the still hot treat redolent with buco strips while walking home in the silent streets, the world still to wake, and the prospect of burrowing back under the covers after eating, is just unforgettable.

Living away from the province is no excuse for me to miss that experience again. So I relived cooking and eating intemtem right in Cavite, using the economical QB Stove charcoal grill (no way was I going to cook intemtem over an electric grill).


1 kg malagkit (glutinous rice)
strips of meat from 2 buco
1 cup sugar
banana leaves for wrapping

  1. Soak rice in water for at least an hour. Drain, and ground-dry. The rice dough should be the consistency of mixture used for bilo-bilo.
  2. Mix buco trips and sugar into the rice dough.
  3. Wipe banana leaves clean, and run over fire. Cut into about 8x8 pieces.
  4. Spread the rice mixture thinly onto the edge of each banana leaf wrap, then roll the leaf onto itself.
  5. Grill, preferably on a thin aluminum steel sheet over live coals, until the intemtem has turned golden brown.

Serve warm. Makes about 30 pieces.

Lasang Pinoy 22 for December, with the theme Rice to the Challenge is hosted by JMom over at Cooked from the Heart.


copperfish said...

Is "Intemtem" and "Tupig" one and the same? Whenever my parents would go to the Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija they would always bring home "Tupigs" and they're really good when still warm.

Yo said...

hi kai,

its my 1st time to visit your blog in months. i'm surprised by the new look and the volume of articles you've written. i happen to be looking for some recipes after failing to inform our cook in the seminary to prepare meals for 3 days that she will be out during the holidays. yeah, the task falls on my lap. its daunting as i'd be cooking for a french man, a colombian and an american with varying preferences and gastronomic quirks.

btw, you've got a yummy looking suman! i could almost taste it.

Kai said...

Copperfish, intemtem is the Pangasinan term for tupig, which is Ilocano. Yes, they're great to eat warm.

Yo, nice to hear from you, hope you had a grand time cooking for multinationals!

Anonymous said...

My sister was just commenting how much she missed tupig. Now I'll know how to make it! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Kai. Your contributions to LP are priceless! I am printing this out to try.

Too bad your the puto recipe is in the vault. I read your comment on Stef's puto experiment. :)

Anonymous said...

btw, I think in La Union they also call intemtem ibus? is that right?

Kai said...

JMom, sorry, tupig and and intemtem are the only terms I know for this grilled delicacy. Though the term ibus would be about logical referring to tupig.

MikeMina said...

Hey, Kai! I am now craving badly for this suman . . . and the tupig . . .

You're on soon! :-)

Anonymous said...

I've never had langka suman before!! This is a definite must-try! Have you had Quezon's sumang saba?

Anonymous said...

wow tupig! we'd buy that always pag kagaling sa baguio and napapadaan kami sa pangasinan..

the suman looks really delicious! :D

Kai said...

Mang Mike, I just tried to copy the flavored suman that's the fad in Metro Manila these days.

Stef, never heard about sumang saba. The flavored (filled) suman being vended around Metro Manila have banana filling using saba, but I'm sure that's not what you're referring to.