Although “pichi pichi” is just a simple Filipino sweet delicacy (“kakanin”) which I believe is just a recent addition to the Philippine gastronomic scene, it is for me full of potentials and appeal which could make a stir in the international food scene given the right opportunity or exposure. Being a Filipino I can be a little bias of course but don’t just take my words for it …… you can always try it and discover for yourself.
I have to warn you though …… this is potently addictive. :-))
Unlike the traditional “kakanin”, this snack and dessert dish has depth and class worthy of international recognition. Wow, I really like saying that. Despite the simplicity in its preparation, the taste, texture and appearance attained a level much higher than any of its kind within the context of Philippine cuisine. There's no wonder why this has been a favorite gift food item whenever one is visiting a friend or relative or attending an occasion.
I first ate this sometime in the year 2000 when a colleague brought some from his town in Concepcion in the province of Tarlac (Philippines) where it became an instant hit to our office in Greenhills, Manila. Since then, I have eaten this many times in parties and social gatherings and being a chef-wannabe, prepared it several times with moderate to high success. :)
I believe it’s now time I share this very easy recipe with you …… for your next occasion …… birthday or anniversary party or better yet in December …… include it among your Christmas banquet for the whole family.
“Pichi-pichi” is a type of cassava or manioc pudding prepared like the traditional rice cakes of the Philippines. It is made by simply steaming sweetened grated cassava infused with screw pine leaves or “pandan” essence (very Pinoy) and then covering in grated coconut. It can be eaten on its own or alongside other “kakanin” or Filipino noodles as a snack or “merienda” or as dessert after a meal.
For this preparation I bought about 2 kilos (4.5 lbs) cassava. Just make sure to buy those newly harvested tubers, within the same day if possible. It would be much better if you will just pull it from your garden at the time of cooking. Very few among us have that privilege now. :)
Wash the cassava properly. Peel off the thick rind and grate the white starchy tubers. This will mean a lot of arm work which is good for you …… and me …… probably mostly me. :-). After grating, lightly squeeze the flesh to remove the excess liquid and you’ll then have like this:
“Kutsinta A La Lalaine” (Filipino brown cake). This will be our mold for the “pichi pichi”. If you don’t have ones, use any muffin cups you have which are okay for steaming. Using spoon, fill the cups until just full. Do this until all the mixture is used up. You’ll probably make about 50 to 60 pieces depending on the size of the cups.
“Sumang Kamoteng Kahoy A La Fely”. You can also do this if you like. Yummy too!