Another attempt to make the elusive puto or Philippine-style steamed rice cakes. Haven't given up yet and thanks to Playing With My Food foodblog, I found inspiration to try once again. Good thing it's not as often, but when failure in the kitchen occurs, I need sometime to recover from the frustration and lack of inspiration which follows. The Filipino steamed rice cakes is one fine example of such a failure. In Manila, there's no need to make rice cakes since they're available all year round everywhere. I have an occasional craving for these rice cakes and I doubt if I ever will forget about them. I think about them steaming hot and buttered, the pat of butter instantly melting into the rice cake. I used to watch my mother make this so the procedure is somehow still in my memory but the exact recipe proportions remain a mystery. These Vietnamese ( Bahn Bo ) rice cakes used rice flour with yeast to speed up the fermentation process. I was able to achieve the "honeycomb" texture as described. The rice cakes my mother used to make, I'm quite sure, didn't use yeast but relied on just the tricky overnight fermentation process. It must take years of experience to determine the right timing when the batter is ready for steaming. Sometime soon, there's another recipe I'm planning to try, a Chinese steamed rice cake version without yeast. I'm hopeful but I've learned not to expect too much. For now, I'm happy with this bahn bo.
the "honeycomb" texture of the rice cakes was the result of the fermentation process