Filipino Puto Maya – Rice Cakes – Instant Pot + Stove-top
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*This recipe was selected to be part of the Noche Buena Recipes as part of the Christmas celebration of the educational publisher Twinkl, with the aim of helping Filipinos feel the Christmas spirit wherever they are around the world.
The Filipino classic Puto Maya is one of the easiest kakanins (rice cakes) to make. “Gaya-gaya Puto Maya” was a chant playmates often teased me with in the Philippines, to accuse me of being a copycat. This childish taunting was common among kids and not done just to me. But if ridiculed, one felt humiliated. In contrast, the actual delicacy Puto Maya, a rice cake of Cebuano origins is one of the most delightful Filipino merienda fares anyone can experience.
This puto is different in appearance from other types of rice cakes. Like the traditional putong puti, Puto Maya has only a few ingredients which are easy to find, no matter where you live.
Before modern appliances like the Instant Pot, rice cookers, pressure cookers and the like came around, Puto Maya was cooked by hand on the stove-top in the Philippines. Once the thick, creamy rice was cooked, the flavorful aromas of sweet coconut and hints of earthy ginger floated about. I cooked mine in my Instant Pot, which was convenient after soaking the rice grains overnight. If you don’t own an Instant Pot or a multicooker, I’ll show you how to cook this on the stove-top.
Puto Maya is served with fresh, ripe mangoes and cups of piping hot chocolate or Sikwate, as it’s called in Cebu. If mangoes aren’t in season, serve these puto with Tsokolate, a Filipino chocolate drink.
This can be a great merienda or snack idea for the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year when families get together. After the big feast and you’re all lounging around the couch, streaming videos or catching up – whip up these hefty delicacies and serve it with hot cocoa. Be mindful of the moment, the warmth of togetherness and feel grateful for another season to relish.
Filipino Puto Maya - Rice Cakes - Instant Pot + Stove-top
- Instant Pot or any multicooker brand - 6 quarts or 8 quarts; A round cake pan - 7-inch diameter to fit into Instant Pot.
- Steamer if cooking stove-top
- 1 1/2 cups glutinous white rice
- water to soak rice enough to cover rice grains in a bowl
- 3 cups coconut cream (canned)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 to 12 pieces (8 x 8 inches) fresh or frozen banana leaves washed thoroughly; to plate puto maya or wrap them; optional
- 1 cup freshly-grated or frozen coconut meat slivers for sprinkling
- fresh ripe mango slices
- hot cocoa drinks
To prepare glutinous rice:
- In a large bowl or container, soak the rice grains in water. Water must be enough to cover the grains. Cover and keep refrigerated at least 8 hours or overnight. The rice grains will get puffy. The following day, drain rice and discard the liquid. Set aside for cooking.
To cook in the Instant Pot: (option 1)
- Combine the glutinous rice, coconut cream, sugar, ginger and salt in the inside pot. Mix well.Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Sealing.Select: RICE on keypad and cook on Low Pressure for 12 minutes.When buzzer sounds, do a Quick Release. Carefully unlock and open the lid; place the cover on a safe spot on the counter.After 1 to 2 minutes, when rice has cooled down a bit, use a wooden or silicone paddle to scoop out all the cooked rice.Transfer the rice to a pre-greased round cake pan (a 7-inch diameter pan will fit into the Instant Pot). Level the cooked rice with the paddle or a spatula.
- When the inside pot has cooled down after a few minutes, remove using silicone mitts and rinse off with water.Return the inside pot. Fill with 3 to 4 cups of water. Place a metal or silicone trivet on the water-filled inside pot.Place the round pan filled with the glutinous rice mixture on the trivet.Close and lock the lid. Set valve to Sealing.Click on High Pressure and steam for 5 minutes.When buzzer sounds, do a Quick Release. Carefully unlock and open the lid.
- Shape the steamed rice into round molds, about 3-inches in diameter. Use an ice cream scooper if needed to shape the puto.Plate the puto on the banana leaves. Sprinkle each puto maya with 1/2 teaspoon of coconut meat slivers.Serve warm with fresh ripe mangoes and hot cocoa or Sikwate.To store: Keep refrigerated for 1 to 2 days.
To cook on the stove-top: (option 2)
- Soak glutinous rice overnight. The next day, drain the liquid.In a large wok, over medium heat, combine the rice, coconut cream, sugar, ginger and salt. Stir and blend. Keep stirring the rice mixture continuously till it is thick, rice grains are puffy and liquid is completely absorbed. This will take about 20 minutes over a slow simmer. *Do not leave the rice mixture in the wok unattended or it will burn. Keep stirring so rice does not stick to the bottom.After rice is cooked like a thick porridge, transfer to a round, pre-greased cake pan that will fit into a large steamer.On the stove, over briskly boiling water, steam the rice mixture for about 20 to 25 minutes more. All the rice grains must be soft and completely cooked.Remove from steamer. Shape the puto maya into round balls about 3-inches in diamter. Sprinkle with coconut slivers. Serve with fresh mangoes and hot cocoa.
- In Cebu, the original Puto Maya is wrapped in banana leaves shaped like a cone, folded then flattened to resemble a puffy triangle.
Notes on the Instant Pot:
- It takes about 15 to 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat to High or Low Pressure and for cooking time to begin. For other multicooker brands, check the product manual.Safety precautions: Use accessories recommended for the Instant Pot like silicone or metal. Do NOT use glassware. Read the manual for complete safety information.Disclosure: This is not an ad. I was not paid to write about the Instant Pot, a brand of multicooker. My opinions are my own.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.