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PUTONG PUTI: Steamed White Rice Cakes

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Putong Puti translates to Steamed White Rice Cakes. This is one of the most popular types of Filipino “kakanin” (Filipino snacks made of rice and coconut). The Puto is a staple at any Filipino gathering. Made of rice and topped with grated coconut, the Puto is representative of the Philippine agricultural landscape and its natural resources…endless rice paddies and coconut trees.


Now that the holidays are here, I can’t help but think of all the “kakanin”(snack cakes made of coconut and rice) enjoyed at Christmas in the Philippines. There was an endless array of treats on our dining table when I was growing up. Gift exchanges among friends was always some form of “kakanin”. I used to hear my parents exclaim happily each time the doorbell rang and a “bilao” (round, flat woven basket-tray) of “kakanin” was sent as gifts from friends.

There are many puto variations aside from those served with freshly grated coconut. Sometimes, it is topped with cheese. Other times you can steam puto with different flavors : ube (purple yam) or pandan (screwpine). They are all different delicious ways to enjoy puto.

The process of making puto is fairly easy, after some practice.  But once it rolls out of the steamer, there’s nothing like the sweet rice flavors, its heartiness that fills you up, the fragrant rice aroma that all serves as a perfect accompaniment to salty food offerings. A popular pairing is with “pancit” (stir fried noodles) or “dinuguan”, a dark-colored, tangy pork stew.



Recently, in my quest for various Asian dishes, I found lots of similarities between Philippine and Indonesian cuisine. I turned to my friend Pepy Nasution, an Indonesian born, Canada-based photographer, who has shared so much of her Indonesian culture with me. She did confirm how Indonesia has a similar rice cake version. And in fact, Pepy graciously invited me to come visit her blog and share a recipe. For the complete Putong Puti recipe, head on over to my friend Pepy’s blog INDONESIA EATS. While there, go and savor some of the other sumptuous Indonesian recipes on her blog,and experience the many similarities we share. INDONESIA EATS showcases Pepy’s vast collection of Indonesian and Asian recipes, gorgeous photos and great stories of her home country, Indonesia.



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  1. I want to eat these cakes right now, Betty. Especially when the cake is still warm 🙂

    Thank you for agreeing to share on Indonesia Eats. I wish I could visit you for Christmas so I could enjoy many Filipino goodies 🙂

  2. I’ve never had this but I would love to eat it – Asians love sweets with rice… it’s steamed and looks very fluffy! I now follow several Filipino blogs and I have major Filipino food education this year! 🙂 I love it.

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