Puso is one of the curiosities here in the Philippines. It is a single serving of rice cooked inside a pouch made of woven coconut leaves. It is a handy-dandy rice-on-the-go that we buy whenever we are on the road — and we were mostly on the road the past 2 weeks.
You see we try our best to visit our parents (on both sides, or, my parents and my in-laws, that is) at least once a year. We do it despite the arduously long road and boat trips and the horrendously high fare rates because our parents are growing old and we too, are not getting any younger and we know we should deliberately and purposely find time for them.
If you find yourself on the road soon, and with no other recourse except to eat while on board a ship, or worse, stranded on some out-of-the-way nooks because of a flat tire or whatever, I highly recommend you bring puso with you, along with some food. Here are some good reasons for patronizing this traditional cooked rice commodity.
Puso is handy.
I could kiss whoever it was that first thought of making puso. Why, it’s a single serving of rice that is so nifty and handy. It comes with a sling for easy handling and a compact, tightly packed and natural packaging that is perfect on-the-go. It’s really the best rice package for travel, camping and eating out on some beaches.
It’s lightweight and not messy. Simply make a slit across the coconut leaf pouch and you’ll have hot and fragrant rice. The coconut leaves also keep the rice warm much longer. It’s easy to reheat too — just steam it or leave it on top of newly cooked rice.
It is fragrant.
There must be something about the woven coconut leaf pouch that imparts a naturally fragrant aroma on the rice. It’s akin to the aroma of pandan which is a favorite rice add-on here in the Philippines. Try eating freshly-cooked puso and you will understand how much more aromatic it is than ordinary rice that’s cooked in a pot.
Puso is healthful.
I think buying steamy hot rice packed in flimsy cellophane or plastic bags or styrofoam bags is downright toxic. Sadly, it’s the norm in most Filipino roadside and bus stop eateries. Heat releases toxic chemicals from plastic products and so it would be wise to just buy puso instead. Who knows? Coconut leaves might even impart nutrients and antioxidants to the rice.
Puso is indigenous.
Age-old traditions such as the making of puso — especially if they prove themselves to be healthful, frugal and smart — need to be revived, supported and promoted, in my opinion. I would be saddened if the puso industry would go extinct soon. I would be sad in behalf of all the coconut leaf weavers and the puso-makers and traders. I hope I could learn to make puso in my lifetime. It’s a charming traditional rice cooking method that I just have to learn.
This blog post may be all about the humble puso but I hope you would see the big difference this classic Filipino rice cooking method makes.
Have you eaten steaming hot puso before? Did you like it?