Puto are Filipino Steamed Rice Cakes — and the varieties of puto are as plentiful as the many regions of the Philippines. Traditionally made with ground rice that has been soaked in water overnight, this version is easy to make with at home with rice flour (and in a pinch, cake flour works, too). I thought it would be the perfect treat to share to celebrate my blog’s 8th anniversary.
I sat in the armchair, my baby nephew on my lap, drinking his bottle of milk. As I tipped my chin down to watch his little toes wiggle, I rested my head on the crown of his, and felt a calm I haven’t felt in such a long time. Its the peace you feel when all that matters in the world is the little universe you hold in your arms, and I soaked it up for as long as that bottle lasted.
Babies have that affect on you, and I nearly forgot. It made me think of my own little guy, who no longer fits on my lap, or drinks from a sippy cup. It made me think of a conversation I had with him the other morning before school, right after my visit home to see my nephew — we were talking about this blog, and how he couldn’t remember life without it or any other way. And that struck me, because 8 years ago, when he was just out of sippy cups, I started this little home on the web, and it’s been my baby. I’ve nurtured it, and it has grown, and it has surprised me, in more ways that I can count.
This space has been a part of my children’s lives as much as it has been a part of mine. We’ve all had a role in it, shaped it, and it’s not just my daughter and son and husband. It’s also all of you who come to visit, and who cook alongside with me.
I’m celebrating my blog’s 8th anniversary, which in the blogging world is nearly ancient, but it also means that it’s as exciting as ever. And to celebrate, I turn to my roots, and to one of my kid’s favorite parts of their heritage: the kakanin.
A long time ago, I introduced to you their favorite form of kakanin, which is the umbrella term that is used to describe the delicacies made of glutenous rice. There are so many kinds, some using glutenous rice flour, others galapong, which is rice soaked in water then ground, as well as some that use the sticky rice, or malagkit, whole.
Puto is one of the most popular — and if I were to describe it to you, in the most simple terms, it’s like a muffin — or a cornbread muffin — but steamed, instead of baked. And as you would serve cornbread with a very savory chili, puto is the side of choice for the very savory dinuguan, which is a delicious (I promise!) stew made with pig’s blood, vinegar and spices.
But puto is very much enjoyed by itself, too, and found at many a Filipino fiesta, and so easy to make.
Traditionally, puto is made with the galapong version I mentioned, but growing up, any time I would ask aunts for their puto recipe, they would often make with the very non-Filipino Bisquick mix. I know, it’s surprising, but I’ve been trying to find other ways to make it, simply, but without the non-traditional pancake mix.
This version is made with plain rice flour, making it the perfect snack for gluten-free friends. In a pinch, cake flour also works beautifully, which may mean saving a trip to a specialty store if you’re craving a tender, freshly steamed puto. And it is so simple, steams in 5 minutes, making it even easier to satisfy those cravings. Made in mini muffin molds, they’re adorable and kid friendly, and perfect for sharing. I couldn’t wait to share it with you!
Thank you for 8 years of sharing, of cooking together, and exploring delicious tastes! I can’t wait to see what the next year hold for us!
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PUTO: FILIPINO STEAMED RICE CAKES
- melted coconut oil or cooking spray
- 1 cup rice flour (plain, not glutinous) or substitute cake flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg white
- 3/4 cup light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
- Prepare a small mini muffin pan or individual silicone muffin molds by lightly brushing with coconut oil or cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the rice or cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg white until it is light and frothy.
- Add the coconut milk and water to the egg white and whisk until blended.
- Fold in the flour mixture to the liquids and whisk the batter until just smooth.
- Bring a steamer with water to running boil.
- Working in batches, fill the prepared mini muffin pans or molds about 3/4 full with batter and place in the steamer. Steam for 5 minutes, or until the puto have risen and are firm to the touch.
- Transfer the puto to a wire rack to cool. Gently remove from the molds and enjoy warm or at room temperature.