“Puto” or rice cake is our family’s favorite snack. I have had a lot of stories about puto-making with my son since he was three years old. Each milestone that we celebrate is an opportunity for cooking puto. When asked what he wants both of us to cook on any day, right away he would say “puto”. We bond as mother and son by cooking puto.
Puto is steamed cake made from rice flour. Traditionally, fermented rice flour is used to create that sourdough-like taste. There are many versions of puto or steamed rice cake. There is the plain puto, the puto cheese, the puto flan, the bibingka puto and a lot more. Puto is also a base for some other recipes prepared with rice flour as the main ingredient.
For my family, our favorite is puto cheese. I make this in two different ways: with rice flour or all-purpose flour. When I prepare puto using rice flour, I always pair it with coconut milk. The finished product is often soft and fluffy which is quite the same as the traditional puto I grew up eating. When the main ingredient is all purpose flour, I use evaporated milk. This is a newer muffin-like version since rice flour is not always available in some parts of the state where I live. The finished product for this one is more dense and sticky, which my son prefers.
Today, I will prepare the modified version: rice flour/all purpose flour with milk. Let’s get cooking!
2 cups all purpose flour/rice flour
1 cup cane sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup evaporated milk
A drop of pandan flavor
Cheese (cut into thin cubes or grated/shreded cheese)
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ cup butter (half a stick melted)
Ready in 35 minutes
Makes 12-15 pieces (see photo)
- Sift flour, sugar, and baking powder.
- Mix all the dry ingredients.
- Add water, milk, melted butter and pandan flavor.
- Mix slowly with a hand mixer until lumps disappear.
- Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
- After the water boils, lower the heat.
- Then, brush mold or silicone cups with melted butter.
- Pour just enough batter to fill ¾ of the mold.
- Arrange the cups in the steamer.
- Steam for 15-20 minutes. (Stick toothpick into the rice cake. If it comes out clean, puto is cooked. )
- Top with cheese and let it cool.