How to Make Puto (Recipe)
I learned how to make puto from my parents who learned the recipe from their parents. It is a popular Filipino steamed cake. Puto is pronounced, “poo too”. It can be a snack, desert, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Puto is described as a “steamed rice cake”. Using rice flour or rice ingredients is optional.
Growing up, I knew other Filipino families who were not relatives and who later became friends. Their puto recipes were remarkably similar even though they came from different regions in the Philippines. This lead me to believe that there was only one universal Filipino puto recipe.
There was one time as a young adult where I discovered a puto recipe that was radically different than the one I was use to. It was a Chinese version and the puto was almost jelly like. It wasn’t bad but I thought the Filipino types were superior.
Several years ago, I researched puto recipes on the internet and discovered a ton of versions. It was like Chili. Everyone makes their own unique adaptation. What I’ve learned is that many recipes include rice flour or some type of rice batter. The puto I’ve known all my life is made with Bisquick. I had this online argument with an idiot lady who told me that authentic puto is only made with rice flour. She was so wrong because in the Philippines, other variations do not include rice ingredients at all. Wheat flour was used instead.
From family to family, puto can taste similar even if the recipes vary widely.
I have three versions below for you to try out. My family’s version is the one with Bisquick. I love this recipe not just for its great taste but for its simplicity and short time to make. A steamer should be used for all puto.
3 cups Bisquick
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
A steam cooker or steamer
Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan over a stove top or in a plastic, glass or ceramic container using a microwave.
In a large bowl, mix 3 cups Bisquick, 1.5 cups sugar, 1 cup whole milk, and 3 eggs. Add the melted butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract into the bowl. Mix the ingredients using a ladle manually or with an electric mixer. The mixture does not have to be thorough. It can just be blended to a lumpy consistency.
There are several ways to present puto. It can be poured into cupcake paper cups, metal cups, or tin foil cups. You can pour into a 9 inch or 8 inch baking pan. Make sure you grease the lining of the pans well. Each pour should be halfway from the top of the cups or pans. My puto version will double in height after steaming.
Use a steamer to cook the puto for 15 minutes or until the puto rises like a cake. The best way to check is to stick a fork into the puto and see if it comes out clean.
When the puto is done cooking, let it cool. While hot, spread butter or margarine over the top. The amount of butter will depend on your taste. Let the butter melt into the puto. Relax and feast into your masterpiece.
Puto Made with Flour
The next version of puto uses wheat flour.
2 cups flour
0.5 tablespoon of baking powder
1 cup sugar
0.6 ounces of evaporated milk
0.75 cups of water
Get all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and sugar) and mix them in a container. Mix in the eggs, evaporated milk, and water.
Grease whatever cooking pan you would like to cook the puto. Like in the previous version, pour the puto batter into cupcake paper cups, metal cups, or tin foil cups. If you like, you can pour the batter into 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Fill the batter halfway up.
Steam the puto for about 30 minutes. To check if the puto is ready, poke the puto with a fork and watch the fork come out clean.
Butter if desired and cook before eating.
The next puto recipe uses rice.
Puto Made With Rice
1 cup rice soaked in 1 cup of water for 24 hours
0.75 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Put the rice in a blender with the water and blend until the rice is practically a powder. Pour the rice mix into a bowl and mix in the sugar and baking power. Add eggs and beat into the batter.
Pour into cups or pans like in the previous recipe. Steam for 20 minutes.