Friday, September 04, 2009

Homemade Morón Recipe

The name of this Waray delicacy has accent on the second syllable, so it doesn't refer to those jerks you don't want to work with in the office. I don't know why it's called thus, but it's probably a local term that doesn't in any way relate to the highly popular English word with Greek origins.

It's something luscious, generates happiness and induces a state of high due to the pureness of the (dark) chocolate ingredient, as opposed to the imbecile qualities of the first-syllable-accented slang.

This kakanin got featured early on in the life of this blog, by a friend who participated in the Lasang Pinoy event I hosted about streetfood. There was this company selling Waray delicacies with outlets in Metro Rail Transit stations, which my friend considered to be streetside, but the kiosks have since disappeared.

So now Metro Manila denizens would have to go to Leyte for a morón fix, or should cultivate good relationships with Waray friends/relatives in hopes of receiving moron as pasalubong from home vacations, or better, receive gifts of morón cooked in homes in the metropolis.

I got acquainted with morón early on in my life because an uncle married a Waray. I'd get to sample thin rolls of morón during the rare times my family attended fiestas in my mother's barrio, where my uncle's family stayed. But more commonly morón was also served during celebrations of various milestones in my uncle's family. During that time, though, I was more interested in eating than cooking, so I never asked to be taught how morón was made.

For a class project in college, on the topic of food and culture, we imported binagol and morón direct from Leyte to feed the class while a guest lectured on food and its associations.

Then luck shined at work, where I got to meet and cultured a friendship with an office colleague from the town of Abuyog in the province of Leyte. Abuyog is famed for its morón, made by a people who are obdurate in protecting the quality of their product. Thus the Abuyog morón is unsurpassed, never commercialized (hopefully it stays this way).

So I await breathlessly every time this officemate goes home for the holidays, because at the end of vacation time a plastic bag of morón always lands on my office table.

All Filipino kakanin, which are made of rice and gata (coconut cream and/or coconut milk), are highly perishable. They are best eaten right after cooking, fast deteriorating within a few days, if they don't spoil right away.

It is the same with morón, so it can't be found outside of Leyte. It was one of my most highly anticipated things to buy during my Tacloban trip, so it was such a great big disappointment to bring home hard-as-plastic morón from Aida's at Zamora.

I was so frustrated that it actually compelled me to make morón myself, at home.

I've actually had a morón recipe for more than three years now, graciously given by a Waray cook/chef, who has used it based on the recipe of the most well-known morón-maker in Leyte. Several months after the delicacy was first featured in this blog I was contacted and was emailed the recipe. I've tried to cook from it previously, but my first two attempts were disasters.

Making morón is quite a tedious job, so it took me a long time to attempt a third time. The recipe is simple enough to follow, but the stirring and wrapping are muscle-wrenching and backache-inducing.

It also takes guts, if cooking with gata and malagkit is not one's expertise. My first attempt was actually a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Because I am not as well-versed when it comes to kakanin, I made morón when the family was in Pangasinan for a vacation, so I could solicit the help of an aunt-in-law, whom I considered (notice the past tense) the expert on all things made with malagkit and gata.

The recipe called for flour consisting of 75% ordinary rice (not glutinous), the fourth portion malagkit (glutinous). The aunt-in-law has a scrupulous cooking ethic, and she told me no way will she make suman that's not a hundred percent ansak-ket or malagkit.

And I agreed with her. Suman, that which citizens of Luzon are used to, made of whole glutinous rice grains, becomes hard when ordinary rice is used, or will feel like it is filled with tiny hard pebbles as it is bitten into when rice is mixed into the glutinous rice.

What we failed to consider was that we were using flour, not whole grains. Ground rice gains a sticky, soft consistency. So my first morón, made purely of glutinous rice flour, became a soft, gooey tikoy, steadfastly refusing to form into a roll but falling flat, and stickily so.

But it was delicious, and we finished it in no time, messily spooning it into our mouths. The next time I made it on my own. I can be stubborn, and I used an all-glutinous rice mix. Because I used commercially available pre-ground dry rice flour instead of soaking the rice and having it ground wet, I thought I'd get a different and much more better result.

The morón came out even stickier. I had to coax it into a pan, presenting it like a pudding, and we spooned from it because it was hopeless slicing it.

But my third attempt was providential. First I had all the right ingredients. I have great faith in the pre-ground, powdered rice flours available in public markets as well as in supermarkets and grocery stores because the quality is consistent. Glutinous as well as ordinary rice flours are available, though the ordinary rice flour is much more harder to find.

And second, the day I decided I'd make morón - last Saturday, the 29th of August - was the town fiesta of Abuyog, where there was a mania to make morón. So I was in sync with the spirit of morón-making, and maybe I was blessed with Abuyog's patron saint.

So here's the adapted recipe. I decided the original recipe, with four cups rice, would make too few suman for my big household, so I doubled it, along with the rest of the ingredients.

The morón was consumed in no time at all, and became my children's favorite. We had guests during the weekend, and they could not keep their hands off the treats. At ballet practice, my daughter brought no less than five pieces for her to snack on because she says she gets so tired by her exertions.

As for me, this is probably the best morón I've had my whole life. It's true, home-cooked treats are the best. Thanks very much, Agnes, for sharing the recipe. Now I, and my children, can have morón anytime!


2 kilos grated coconut meat
8 cups boiling water
6 cups ordinary rice flour
2 cups glutinous rice flour
30 chocolate tableya, melted with 1/4 cup water
1 cup chopped peanuts
1 kilo muscovado sugar
1 bar cheddar cheese, julienned
1 small bottle vanilla extract
1 big can evaporated milk
½ kilo white (refined) granulated sugar
banana leaves, cut into 8"x10" rectangles, about 30 pieces

Makes about 30 4"-long pieces

  1. Put grated coconut meat in a basin and pour the boiling water. Set aside. (Alternatively, use the equivalent of 8 cups canned coconut milk)
  2. Mix flours thoroughly until evenly incorporated. Divide into two equal parts.
  3. When the coconut mixture is cool enough to handle, squeeze the grated meat, going around and repeating to ensure all the coconut meat have been squeezed. Strain the resulting cream in a fine strainer. Divide the cream into two parts.
  4. Pour one-half of the flour in a thick-bottomed pan (preferably kawa or big kawali) and mix in one part coconut cream, the melted chocolate, the muscovado sugar, peanuts and vanilla extract. Mix over medium heat, stirring constantly. Uneven lumps will form at first, but keep stirring until the mixture evens out and thickens. When oil begins to come out, turn off heat, and transfer pan to a counter to cool.
  5. Add the remaining coconut cream to the second half of rice flour, and mix in the evaporated milk and about half of the white sugar. Cook in a separate pan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add more sugar to desired taste (not too sweet). Cool.
  6. Pass the banana leaves over a candle on both sides so they become pliant. Then rub the squeezed-dry coconut meat over them.
  7. Get a heaping tablespoonful of the chocolate mixture and put on the shorter edge of a banana leaf wrapper. Sprinkle cheese on it. Put the edge of the banana wrapper over the mixture then roll, the banana leaf covering the mixture so your hands don't touch it. Roll until the mixture forms into a thin cylinder. Place this in the middle of the wrapper. Get a heaping tablespoonful of the white mixture and put on the shorter edge of the same banana wrapper and repeat the procedure.
  8. Put the two cylinders (chocolate and white) side by side, put the edge of the wrapper over them, then roll again, so that the two fuse into one thicker cylinder. Alternatively, coil the chocolate cylinder around the white one, then roll.
  9. Put the cylinder on the shorter edge of the wrapper, then roll the wrapper tightly up to the opposite edge. The moron should have been rolled over no less than three times. Secure both ends by tightly tying with a string.
  10. Repeat until all the two mixtures have been used up.
  11. Steam for 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool.

  • The original recipe called for three cups rice flour and one cup glutinous rice flour. I used six cups rice flour and two cups glutinous rice flour.
  • Only 1/2 kilo white sugar was specified, to be added to the white mixture. I added muscovado sugar to the chocolate mixture because it was too bitter (the tableya is 100% dark chocolate). I loved it this way, as the muscovado added depth of flavor.
  • I did not use up all of the half-kilo sugar for the white mixture.
  • The original recipe called for a three-hour steaming. This is for those pans with an elevated slotted layer on top, with the water boiling below. The moron can be submerged in a pan full of water and boiled, for only 45 minutes to an hour. Just make sure the banana leaves have been rolled tight, the ends tied securely so that the water won't get into the moron.
  • I used coin-sized, thin tsokolate tablea bought in Tacloban, which is available in all islands of the Visayas, particularly Cebu and Bohol, used for making sikwate. The sweetened tablea in supermarkets can substitute, about five rolls or 25 tableas. Omit the muscovado sugar in the chocolate mixture. I was told Valhrona dark chocolate will make the moron more luscious, and my friend from Abuyog says they use Hershey's liquid dark chocolate. I prefer to use tablea, though. It's in keeping with preserving its origins. And I like the tang of it. But if using a bar of dark chocolate, use about 200-300 grams.

*Waray is a loose term applied to natives of the islands of Samar and Leyte, in the Eastern Visayas region.

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Leyte Pineapples


Administration said...

Nice Post. If you have some Recipes to add just get my email and send me some.

hadv said...

Yey!! I see you finally succeeded! I've fixed my recipe too, but I still insist on using 75-100% Dutch chocolate, it's yummier. You should try it..

You didn't say you were coming to Tacloban. We could have met and I could have given you a truly Waray food tour :D


Roselyn Benitez said...

Love this recipe. I was wondering if I could use cocoa powder instead of tableya. How many cups should I mix then? Hope u post more recipe.
Thnx a lot.

Kai said...

Hi Agnes, I'll try it with Vahlrona chocolate this Christmas! I'll contact you next time I'll be in Tacloban, thanks!

Hi Roselyn, yes cocoa powder could be used, instead. Try using half a cup first, then taste to see if it is okay. Add little by little if you think the chocolate flavor is not strong enough.

Akó si Gundam said...

I remember my aunt bringing home some of that during this food fair at the World Trade Center. It was smooth, nutty, and had none of the infamous suman-stickiness. Loved it.

Oh, and I suggest that you write morón with the acute accent. Morón instead of moron. It's a lot faithful to the old orthography our languages used to have. And it looks cooler too.

Besides, I could barely read the article with a straight face!!

Kai said...

Hehe, yeah, the term demeans the delicacy for those not familiar with the name. Thanks for the suggestion.

sapphire said...

I will try using this recipe.I had one when I was in Tacloban but we used rice puree. All the ingredients were pure, no cooking oil as others may use it as substitute for coconut cream or milk. We used Ricoa or tableya and etc.

Now that I'm in Australia I just love searching for more Filipino recipes. I am sure my boys would it as they love cassava cake, puto pao, biko at marami pang iba. Mabuahy tayong lahat. Mga kaibigan, sangkay ko ha kusina.

Kai said...

Hi, Sapphire, mabuhay ka, and kudos to you for raising your children on Filipino treats!

Anonymous said...

im not from visaya but i really love this suman.actually i've been eating this when i was little and unfortunately i dont know what it is called.i only remember that its made of malagkit,chocolates and peanuts, that's why i had a hard time searching for its recipe in the inet.
and lately i've been craving for this food that's why im trying to locate and pester some of my visayan frends for this recipe.tnx sa recipe
and since i love to cook i'll try to do this in ASAP.quick tomorrow na!
tnx and GODSPEED!

Kai said...

Hi Aimee I hope you were successful!

Anonymous said...

i was texting my brother a while ago, checking how the fiesta preparations are going at home (gonna be fiesta on july 26, my home town sta. fe, leyte)...suddenly, i craved for morOn...

i used to cook this before when i was in leyte, lend a helping hand in every cooking there is at home especially on special occassions...

i missed this and i want to cook it here in manila...have my friends taste our specialty..:) thanks for the recipe, it assures me i haven't forgotten the ratios yet..LOL..

keep on blogging..hope next time its BINAGOL RECIPE naman..:) :)

-jane, manila, 24

Kai said...

Hi Jane, thanks for confirming the recipe. Hahaha, a binagol recipe is next to impossible, but who knows? ;-) Maybe you have a recipe to share? *wink*

Leah Manaog said...

i'm glad to know that many people love to eat moron. actually., thats our business and i'm proud to say that i'll be able to finish my studies by the help of this business "making moron".. By d way i'm Leah Manaog and I'm from abuyog leyte..

Kai said...

Hi Leah, good that you're proud of your food tradition and that it's sending you to school. I hope you don't forget how it's made. Yes we love moron!

Edd Wyn said...

Mmmm...worm-like moron! Hehe. Sad that the moron kiosks are now extinct.:-(

Anonymous said...

At last! Nakakita din ako ng recipe ng moron.. Nung kabataan ko madalas kaming magluto ng moron ng lola ko, tableya ginagamit namin... 23 yrs na akong di nakauwi ng leyte kaya nakalimutan ko na.. Ang binagol mahirap lutuin kase matrabaho.. Hopefully me magpost ng recipe ng steamed na bibingkang kamoteng kahoy na me palamang bukayo.... Thanks for posting moron's recipe..
Madamo nga salamat..
Mabuhay ang mga waraynon..
God bless you.

Kai said...

Thanks to the last commenter. Kamoteng kahoy bibingka na may palamang bukayo? Wow, first time I heard about that! Makes me want to go back to Leyte!

charrie ann said...

thank you po sa rcpe nyo po... im glad kasi pinaglilihi q 2nd baby namin, b4 kc na tikman q na ito ung high school pa aq, then ung na icp q d q alam pkiramdam quh.. hahaha kaya humanap tlaga aq paraan,, anyway, thank you so much!!!!!!!

Kai said...

Welcome, Charrie Ann. Hope your pregnancy goes along well.


matagal na aqkong naghahanap ng recipe ng moron kasi nakalimutan ko na panu gawin,thaks GOD nakita ko rin. thank you so much sa inyo......

Kai said...

You're welcome, I was lucky a generous Waray gave me a recipe so I'm just happy to share it here....

Anonymous said...

my god! yummy... i wanna try this nextweek for my daughters birthday! Is it possible to use alluminum folie instead of dahon ng saging? Malayo kasi si asian store.. hmmmpp.. im so excited to make this!Thanks a lot for d recipe! Lamian gyud¨winner:)

Anonymous said...


Kai said...

Hello, I'm not sure about using foil since I haven't used it, but what you need to avoid is the moron sticking to it. I guess you could try greasing the foil with a little butter or vegetable oil before rolling the moron.

Yes by all means copy the recipe. Happy to share it.

Anonymous said...

I'm from leyte, nabasa ko po ung ibang comment na tawag nila d2 ay suman. Saturday amin po ung suman ay ung malagkit na iniluto sa gata parang biko pero iluluto mo lang sya half cook tapos balutin ng dahon ng saying then steam mo siya.

Kai said...

Yes, that's the right term for the process you described. Technically speaking moron can also be considered suman because it goes through the same process d ba - niluluto muna yung rice flour then wrap in paper tapos steam.

Kai said...

Sorry I meant wrapped in banana leaves.

ailennie said...

hi! what is the shelf life of morón if stored at room temperature?

Kai said...

It's just for a day at room temperature because of the gata (coconut cream). Stored in the ref it would last a week, though it might harden, but that would just need a round of steaming.

Anonymous said...

Hallo mam Kai! I beg to dsagre don po sa sinabi nyo na yong "MORON can be considered as SUMAN" cguro sa process ng pag-luluto 25% to 30% pareho pero malaki po yong kaibahan kagaya po ng pork menudo at pork mechado almost desame po sa process ng pagluluto at halos pati sa ingredients pero magka ibang putahi parin yon. Sa ingredients palang po ng MORON at SUMAN malaki na po yong pagkaka-iba kahit yong base ingredients nila pareho malagkit rice ("Pilit" po yong tawag dito sa malagkit rice). I am also from leyte at kung dito po sa lugar namin gagamitin mo yong salitang SUMAN kung hihingi o bibili ng MORON malaking gulo po yon, hehehe joke lang po. Kasi iba po talaga yong MORON sa SUMAN. Sa family po namin its been pass from generation to generation yong pagluluto ng MORON, SUMAN, BICO or SAHOG, at PUTO kasi nung hindi pa nauso yong salads and cakes yon po yong hinahanda namin as desertsss o panghimagas tuwing fiesta.. .

(just making a comment para di po maconfuse yong ibang makakabasa sa blog and if someone native from leyte na makakabasa sa blog wud also react desame. Try nyo po uli itanong sa napagkunan nyo ng ingrdients About SUMAN ang MORON)

FIY: aside po don sa luto namin... yong best MORON na natikman ko rin is from Abuyog Leyte and Dulag Leyte and SUMAN from Biliran na binalot sa dahon ng niyog instead sa dahon saging. SALAMAT PO SA PAG SHARE!!!

Kai said...

Salamat din sa paglilinaw, at pag-share sa info on moron.

I think the issue here is regional - in Luzon, or in most parts, or in the parts I've lived in, we call anything rolled and wrapped in banana leaves suman, even grated and steamed cassava is called suman with a qualifier, so suman cassava or suman kamoteng kahoy (pinais in Pangasinan); it looks like in the Visayas, or at least in Leyte-Samar rolls of steamed whole grains is suman, while rolls of ground grains cannot be considered suman.

cristina said...

Thank Kai for this recipe! I will definitely make this today. I am here in the U.S and planted my own bananas so I can make suman and other filipino foods. I have been searching for this recipe but I didn't know the name. Thank you again. Hope mine will turn out good. I have no tablea but I do have cocoa powder 100% cocoa.

Anonymous said...


Hi Kai, Im state side. I made this recipe a couple years ago, marasa hinduro. I used the coconut milk cream. I only used half of the recipe which calls for 4 cups (not cans) of Coconut milk cream. It was really good, hardest part was stirring it while cooking. My brother was sweating a lot.

For the FOIL question, I dont think it will come out right, plus you really dont want all the chemicals from the foil in your food. If you go to any Asian stores, they should have frozen banana leaves, I found mine at a Chinese store.

Maupay na adlaw ha mga Waray!

Kai said...

I didn't know this was so popular. That you should plant bananas for this amazes me!

Anonymous said...

You just made my day! Been searching for a morón recipe. I've been craving for this. This is 1 of my favorite sa mga kakanin. Will absolutely make it 1of these days! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'd love to try it but I don't have a double boiler or steamer. I was wondering if a bain-marie would work? At what temperature do you suggest I set the oven?

Kai said...

I haven't tried it in a bain-marie, I'm hazarding a guess that it should be at boiling point. But you don't actually need a steamer, a big casserole pan would do. Fill it with about 1/3 water, put the moron in a strainer and put the strainer on top of the pan and cover. Bring to a boil until the moron are done.

rhea paragas said...

hello, si baik tan siak gagawaen mi ya nen saman. back early 80s. si baik originally from tacloban. sakey met ya (suman) namiss ko. aray anak ko ag ira mamangan ya. makakailiw ak met no nababasak so blog yo. hopefully makasempet next year natawayan iray aga naakan dia (jersey).

Kai said...

Ag yo sarag ya man-gawa ya ditan ed US?

Pinoy Comfort Foods by Awen said...

My aunt use to make moron for special occasions and I used to help her in wrapping it with the banana leaves.i still remember the process how she makes it, but I didn't know the exact measurements since it was good for hundreds of moron... I am thankful that I found this blog, I will try this recipe this might taste the same as my aunts recipe. I will let you know the results..

Kai said...

Hope you had good moron for the holidays!

做愛 said...