Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Puto at Kutsinta in the morning

I am recovering from a bad cough and cold that forced me into calling in sick yesterday. This morning, I am still debating about calling in sick again as I dragged myself out of bed to fix myself a cup of hot green tea. It was in this barely awake state that I heard the soliciting shouts and signature honking of the puto vendor. My tummy reacted right away. I had eaten dinner too early last night and I had no care for pan de sal this morning so puto at kutsinta seemed like the yummiest thing in the world. I called the puto vendor and asked for 50 pesos (about $1.00) worth of puto and kutsinta.

Puto connotes many different forms in the Philippines depending on what region you are from. But in this case, puto is a white, light and airy steamed rice cake, sort of like a chiffon cake. Kutsinta, on the other hand is brown, sticky, and glutinous. Both are made of rice flour and served with grated coconut.

Puto and kutsinta are traditional Filipino snacks and are often peddled my ambulant vendors that carry these delicious morsels in metal containers over their shoulder. They are also sold in wet markets and certain street corners all over the Philippines.

This plate of traditional Philippine delicacies cost only Php30
(Php2.50 for Kutsinta and Php5.00 for Puto)

Here are the recipes of Puto and Kutsinta by Reynaldo Alejandro's (The Food of the Philippines and The Philippine Cookbook) as can be found in


  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lye water (potassium carbonate solution sold in Asian food stores)
  • Freshly grated coconut

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Pour into muffin pans, until halfway full. Steam in a large pan with a cover; the water should be 2 inches deep. Cook for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Add more water if needed until cooking is done. Remove from the muffin pans and serve with freshly grated coconut. Serves 4.


  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup grated coconut (or coconut flakes)

Sift first four ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, add coconut milk to sifted ingredients and blend well to make a smooth mixture. Add anise seeds. Mix and blend thoroughly and fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Cook in a steamer for 30 minutes. Test for doneness. Muffins are done when toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot topped with grated coconut, or butter.


Vidaliza said...

Hi thanks for the recipe of puto and kutsinta. It looks easy to make, i will try it. Thanks for sharing. Greetings from Sasa, Indiana, USA

u8mypinkcookies said...

I love the small, sticky puto & cuchinta from Pangasinan! The best!

also the Puto Binan and the one with cheese from Goldilocks.

Sara said...

Hello... I'm trying to make your recipe for Kutsinta (which happens to be one of my son's favorite kakanin!), but, the ingredient "LYE" threw me off. I googled it, and it found results regarding it as a chemical cleaner or ingredient to make soap? I'm not familiar with LYE -- is it a liquid form or powder? Also, is there any other substitute that I could use, instead of LYE? I know that kutsinta has a very distinctive and unique taste, which I'm assuming is from LYE. I live in a very small town in CA., U.S.A. and we are atleast 2 hours away from any city, therefore, there is no Asian or Oriental store nearby (but lots of Mexican stores, though). I would appreciate any insight and help that you can extend to me. Also, I've read your entire website, and I find it very interesting, educational and very insightful! I've been in the USA for 23 years, only been back 3 times, and did not get the opportunity to revisit Manila during my visits! It's amazing how the food culture has grown to such sophistication, based on your website! I truly enjoy your website that I could actually visualize (and almost taste!) the food you're describing! Thank you, and hope to hear from you, soon!

Anonymous said...

You can indeed get lye water from oriental stores...usually in the Philippine/Filipino food section.

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