Puto are steamed rice cakes, subtle in taste with just a hint of sweetness, they are best known to accompany dinuguan, but can also be eaten as a snack.
A few weeks ago when I was last in the Philippines I ate a delicious dish of serkele in Cauayan at Aling Luring’s Goto and Serkele, served with a side of puto. The combination was a joy to eat and it inspired me to make my own puto at home. I must confess I thought these would be simple to make, but somehow they are surprisingly deceiving to cook and it took me a few attempts to perfect the recipe.
The main challenge was finding a suitable mold to cook the puto in, the first time I only used the paper muffin mold and as the mixture cooked and expanded they were not strong enough to hold their shape and they ended up very flat! Luckily I have now found some silicone molds which hold their shape, and although they are a little small the shape is better now.
I also experimented with two recipes, both very similar except in one the mixture is left for 24 hours to slightly ferment, while in the other you cook the mixture straight away. I have found that if you have time the fermented puto has a better and more traditional taste, but when in the rush the quick version is still acceptable.
Give the recipe below a try, you can even mix it up and add other flavourings such as pandan, ube or cheese. Let me know what your favourite is!
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- butter to grease molds
- Combine the rice flour, coconut milk, and enough of the water to make a thin batter. Blend or mix well and leave to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Add the baking powder, sugar and salt and mix until smooth and without lumps. If the mixture has thickened too much add a little more water to thin. You should be easily able to pour the batter.
- Bring water to the boil in a steamer. Meanwhile, grease the molds with butter and fill three quarters with the puto batter.
- Place the filled molds into the steamer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. When cooked the top should have cracked open and a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean.
- Leave to cool for 2 to 3 minutes then remove from the mold. Serve while still warm.