This is a HIT! I kid you not. This is “kutsinta” or Filipino brown rice cake at its best. We are so lucky that a very good childhood and family friend, my younger sister’s classmate, is sharing this wonderful recipe which she developed and perfected over a rather long period of repeated preparations, for everyone reading this blog to enjoy. Amazingly, this traditional snack dish is quite easy to prepare………at least a lot easier than I thought. It also requires a few ordinary ingredients which most of you almost certainly have them already in your pantry except probably for two.
“Kutsinta” is a traditional snack food of the Philippines that belongs to the wide-ranging group of Filipino native delicacies called “kakanin”, a Filipino language which literally means snacks. “Turon” and “minatamis na saging” which I featured earlier are also considered as native “kakanin”. As most “kakanin” are, “kutsinta” is basically made from ground rice locally called “galapong” or in the modern world rice flour, and among the several variations of the highly regarded Filipino rice cakes where “puto” and “kutsinta” are the most prominent.
I believe that every Filipino has a childhood memory of this delicious food. This used to be among the widely served and eaten snacks in every Filipino home. While modernization and necessary contacts with the outside world have brought a new set of exciting snacks from all over the world such as hamburgers, pizzas, spaghetti, to name just a few, “kutsinta (and “puto”) has maintained an enduring niche in the market. It continues to serve loyal patrons which prefer the healthy and tasty traditional food over the proliferating trendy but calorie-laden snacks.
Lalaine for sure has a special affection with this food ……. for she took the extra mile to perfect doing the dish. But even more remarkable is her willingness to heed to every request, to regularly prepare the food and serve it to her friends and love ones, so that they may continue to enjoy the well loved traditional snack even in a place several thousand miles away from home.
For Lalaine knows that every time one will sink its teeth to the delicate “kutsinta” she prepared, one is bound to experience not only the succulence, goodness and lusciousness of the food but also the reminiscing effect that will surely bring one down the memory lane where the happy thoughts of one’s childhood abounds. :-)
In preparing this gorgeous snack, Lalaine’s self-developed list of ingredients contains the following: 1/2 kilogram plain flour, 400 grams tapioca flour or cassava starch, 1 kilogram brown sugar, 1900 ml water, several drops or pinch of orange food color, 30 ml lye water and some grated coconut for topping. The last two ingredients are probably the only things you don’t usually have in your kitchen.
The procedure as done by Lalaine looks meticulous but not really difficult. In a large and deep casserole or kettle or container, mix all the dry ingredients – plain flour, tapioca flour and brown sugar. Add in water and mix thoroughly until dry ingredients have basically dissolved into the water and a thick homogenous mixture is attained.
Using a fine colander let the mixture pass the fine sieve. Strain properly to ensure a smooth mixture. You can press the soft lump to allow passing it into the fine colander. Continue doing this for the rest of the mixture until a smoother mixture is collected.
Add in lye water into the mixture and stir properly until it becomes yellowish in color. Add in orange food color and continue stirring until it is evenly blended.
The next step is to prepare the molds or small containers. Lalaine is using these pretty silicone cups which I don’t have. :-( Hope she will send me some. :-)
Fill the cups with the mixture to about ¾ full. Arrange them properly in batches in the upper layers of the steamer. Heat the water in the steamer until it is briskly boiling. Mount the upper layers and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the “kutsinta” have cooked through.
Take the “kutsinta” from the steamer and allow cooling. Meanwhile continue with the succeeding batches. Continue cooking until all the mixture is consumed.
Remove the cooked “kutsinta” from the molds and arrange them in serving plates. Top them with grated coconut and serve to your friends and love ones. It will be even sweeter that way. There it is, the wonderful “kutsinta” a la Lalaine. Yum yum! :-)
Try this and you will not regret it. It is so delicious that repeat orders will certainly be received. I’m sure that on your first bite, you will be delighted and totally captivated. And if this “kutsinta’ will still fail to do that trick, Lalaine’s gorgeous smile below will surely does.
Enjoy this dish and the happy memory that it brings with it. Lalaine on her part, when munching on her “kutsinta” creation sometimes cannot help but remembers her kind but snobbish puppy love. :-) Okay I just made that up. c“,)