June 29, 2005


My quest for the elusive puto recipe led me to experiment with recipes I have found online as well as some I found in Filipino cookbooks. One disaster after another later, I still haven't perfected it. Back in Manila, puto is available everywhere. There was no need to make them yourself. It was so easy to find them at the local palengke ( open market ) and no trip to the palengke is complete without puto or kutchinta in your basket. My memories of the traditional puto goes back when my mother was still alive and she used to make it for merienda all the time. The texture of the puto batter, the overnight soaking of the rice & fermentation period, the steaming procedure are still clear in my mind. But unfortunately, there's no trace of the exact recipe measurements. I remember my mother would use a wide pot into which a grill had been placed over the boiling water and lined with cheesecloth or any woven cloth available. She would then pour the puto batter directly into the cloth to steam then cover it with a bilao ( tray made of woven bamboo ). About less than an hour later, she would lift the bilao cover & lift the cloth with the perfectly steamed & fragrant puto. She also flavored it with anise seeds which I must admit I didn't care much for then. Sometimes she would top it with grated cheese. I remember I prefered the cheese topping better. Surfing the net recently for an authentic puto recipe was disappointing. I was searching for a recipe using galapong instead of flour. The puto I made ( pictured above ) made use of rice flour. They were edible but were more like cupcakes. My search for the ultimate ( help Tyler! ) traditional "puto binan" type goes on. I haven't given up yet!

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