Monday, October 31, 2011

Pichi Pichi (Cassava Pudding with Grated Coconut)

I bet you’ll love this. Seriously! :)

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: 

One important aspect of this recipe is the use of “pandan” leaves. Whilst I don’t grow cassava to personally pick from our backyard, I have “pandan” plants to provide me with an abundant supply of its fabulous essence …… and that esteem of personal harvest …… day and night …… whenever I need to. Here it is …… get all the leaves you need.

To complement about 3.5 tightly packed cups of grated cassava (that’s all we need for this recipe) we require a few more ingredients as follows: 3 cups granulated white sugar, 2 “pandan” leaves, 2 tsp lye water or “lihiya” and 1 whole coconut, grated. Additionally we need about 7 cups water.

To prepare, pour the water in a thick casserole or pot and heat on high heat. When the water boils add in “pandan” leaves and continue cooking on medium for several minutes, until the leaves have wilted and its essence infused to the water. Take out the leaves and add in sugar and grated cassava. Stir to properly blend.

Stir in lye water and continue simmering with regular stirring, keeping watch on the bottom and sides to avoid scorching. You would not want that. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and the cassava is partially cooked through. Don’t eat just yet, it’s still not done. :)

Bring out the silicone muffin cups we used before in preparing the “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.

Arrange the cups in batches in a steamer. Steam them under medium heat for about 12 to 15 minutes. I have small steamer so I have to repeat the process many times. :(

After steaming, the “pichi pichi” will be more shiny and appealing. Let them cool a bit.

Using spoon, carefully take them out from the molds and immediately roll over grated coconut to coat them. Now you can have the first bite. Go ahead it’s too gorgeous to resist, I know.

Continue doing this for the rest of your “pichi pichi”. It’s basically a lot so by the time you finished them all, you could have eaten about 3 pieces (or more) already. It is fine, it usually happen to me. :-)

Since my grated cassava is more than 3.5 heaping cups, I used the excess to make some “Sumang Kamoteng Kahoy A La Fely”. You can also do this if you like. Yummy too!

But this moment belongs to this delightful “pichi pichi”, so let’s fully savor its heavenly goodness. :)

There it goes. It is easy, inexpensive and more importantly very tasty. Make that very delicious! Try it and enjoy guys. c“,)


  1. Truly addictive. I didn't think I was a fan of pichi pichi but once I pop one in my mouth I can't seem to stop. I love the ones that are really soft and "cheesy."

    Recent post: Khas @ UP Arcade (Middle Eastern)

  2. hi froodie, pitchi pitchi that are light and soft are also my favorite ..... your "cheesy" thing just gave me something consider next time ..... :)

  3. gotta try this...thanks for the tips... :)

  4. thank you Albert .... you will like this "pichi pichi" I'm sure ... :)



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