I want to preface this recipe by first stating that amongst all the kakanin recipes that I did for this website, this putong bigas/puti is probably the hardest one I ever made. There are just several components in this Filipino recipe that requires the exact following of steps to perfectly achieve the correct consistency of the finished product.
I failed on several of my first attempts with this kakanin recipe and I have to say that I’m quite proud that I finally nailed it and got to recreate it successfully for this recipe’s Youtube video on my channel (which you can watch below).
This putong bigas/puti is not the traditional Filipino recipe, rather it’s my modernized take on it. At some point, I felt like I may have bitten more than I could chew but the end results were so worth it. We rarely have homemade putong bigas/puti at home as it’s mostly reserved for special occasions growing up and now I know why.
This is my favorite kakanin recipe texture-wise. Putong/bigas/puti is the smoother version of the classic puto or steam rice cake. It’s also fluffier which is my favorite thing about it. In terms of taste, I say that it’s pretty much the same as the classic puto recipe. However, I found that putong bigas/puti makes for a lighter snack than the classic puto.
What is Puto? Let’s first differentiate between the classic puto and putong bigas/puti. Both are steamed rice cake delicacies in the Philippines. Both have the name puto with the classic puto recipe being made from slightly fermented rice dough. This dough is then steamed in a mold to become the fluffy rice cake in the form of a mini-cupcake lookalike that every Filipinos are familiar with. Puto is normally made in batches and is traditionally steamed in molds made from banana or coconut leaves. The name puto is derived from the Malay word “putto” which is translated to “portion”. Yes, Spanish-speaking readers, it’s not a dirty word in the Philippines.
I have a theory about where this yummy rice delicacy got its name from. You see, puto is an indigenous Filipino recipe that has been cooked by ancient Filipinos since before the Spanish came to the archipelago.
I think in times of scarcity, ancient Filipinos came up with the puto recipe because they need to use every resource they have, even rice that’s on its way to being spoiled. So they made it into rice dough and equally portioned it into bite-sized treats so that everyone in the community can have their share.
Puto may also be a celebratory or sacred delicacy for the ancient Filipinos, cooked for feasts. This gave the cooks the need to carefully portion their prepared fermented rice dough so that everyone can have a rice cake delicacy. There is evidence that ancient tribes in the Philippines use rice cake delicacies as offerings to their ancient gods.
The first two theories I’ve mentioned are pretty much just my guess on how puto got its name. What do you think?
The modern version of puto in the Philippines doesn’t really use slightly fermented rice dough anymore. Instead, processed rice flour that’s readily available in the market is what’s usually used in the majority of today’s puto recipes.
Puto is probably one of the most–if not the most popular rice cake delicacy or kakanin in the Philippines. It’s commonly eaten for miryenda or afternoon snacks or it’s eaten as a complimentary side dish to more savory dishes like dinuguan or kare-kare. Other Steamed Rice Cakes in the Philippines
● 500grams rice flour
● 250grams white sugar
● 1 ½ tsp baking powder
● 1 ½ tsp instant dry yeast
● 1 tbsp. vanilla
● 3 cups water
● ½ cup rice flour
● 2 cups of water
1. First, prepare and measure all the ingredients you need.
2. In a big bowl, mix the rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and yeast. Mix well.
3. Pour the water and vanilla into the dry ingredients then mix until no lumps. Cover and set aside.
4. Now make the water roux. Mix rice flour and water in a pan. Stir until there are no more lumps.
5. Then turn on the stove over medium heat. As soon as paste forms on the bottom, turn over low heat.
6. Stir constantly until a sticky paste is formed.
7. Immediately add the roux to the rice flour batter you made earlier. Mix until there are no more lumps. You don’t have to cool down the water roux. Don’t worry, the yeast will be fine.
8. Cover and let rest for 1.5 hours.
9. Shortly before the 1.5 hour is over, prepare your steamer. Set the stove to medium heat.
10. After 1.5 hours, stir the batter to remove bubbles. Don’t overmix.
11. Grease your molds with vegetable oil or a non-stick spray (do not use olive oil).
12. Pour the batter into the molds. Arrange into a steamer. Leave some space for the rice dough to rise while steaming.
13. For small molds, steam for about 10 minutes. For larger molds 18-20 minutes (the water must boil before steaming).
14. Serve and enjoy the puto bigas