Puto Calasiao recipe: Easy guide to make Filipino rice cake

Puto Calasiao recipe originates from the province of Pangasinan, more specifically Calasiao town (Philippines). Owing to its popularity, puto calasiao can also be found in Manila. On the freeway to Baguio City, you will see many street vendors who sell this type of Puto. Curious about how to make these colorful little cakes? Let’s dive right into the recipe below!

Puto Calasiao is famous Filipino steamed rice cake
Puto Calasiao is famous Filipino steamed rice cake

What is Puto Calasiao?

Puto Calasiao is a type of rice cake (puto) that is made out of fermented rice flour and shaped in bite-size portions. This recipe (as implies the name), originally comes from Calasiao, Pangasinan (Philippines). Puto Calasiao is known as “white gold” of Calasiao as it’s among the town’s economic drivers. There’s also a festival called Puto Festival, which is held annually to celebrate the white rice cake’s native delicacy.

In this Puto Calasiao recipe, fermentation is the key for best-tasting puto. It is thanks to such a process that the Filipino rice cake can give a unique flavorful punch. The length of time for fermentation varies depending on different techniques. The fermentation process can take up to 3 or 4 days or just 3 hours.

The traditional way to make the puto calasiao is soaking the rice in water and grinding the rice with a blender or a rice milling machine. Once the rice is ground and turns into a sticky texture, it will be fermented in earthenware jars or bowls for a few days.

If you have the opportunity to visit the North of Philippines, don’t forget to stop by the town of Calasiao and have a try of these inexpensive yet delicious goodies. If you’ve been there, you’ll see a street full of tiny stalls that sell many popular Filipino kakanins, including the puto calasiao. In fact, most of the residents in the area sell this cake for a living.

Useful tips for Puto Calasiao recipe

Puto Calasiao molds

Measure your steamer first before buying any molds. If you want to make sure that the mold you use will fit perfectly in the steamer, then purchase the individual ones. There are some mini silicone liners on Amazon that might work. Otherwise, you can just simply buy a mini silicone muffin mold. Cut the mold in half if it doesn’t fit your steamer.

Use silicone muffin mold and cut in half if it doesn’t fit your steamer
Use silicone muffin mold and cut in half if it doesn’t fit your steamer

Speed up the fermentation process

If you make the puto calasiao in the traditional way, it will take up to 3 or 4 days for the fermentation process to complete. If you don’t have enough patience nor time to wait that long, add some yeast in the rice mixture. This is the secret to speed up the fermentation significantly and you’ll only have to wait overnight or at least 8 hours.

Use rice flour

When making Puto Calasiao recipe, you need to use rice flour instead of glutinous rice flour. There’s a huge difference between these two types of flour. Glutinous rice flour can make the puto super dense and sticky, as opposed to the airy and light texture you want.

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Avoid lumps in the batter

To avoid lumps in the batter, you should sift the rice flour over the liquidy ingredients. This will make your puto calasiao lighter and smoother after steaming.

Steam over medium heat

To avoid drying out or overcooking the puto, steam it over medium heat. Also, make sure the steamer has enough water during the steaming process.

Step by step Puto Calasiao recipe

Ingredients

  • Instant yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Water (3/4 cup or enough to cover the rice)
  • White sugar (1/2 – 3/4 cup)
  • Glutinous rice (1/4 cup)
  • Jasmine rice (1/2 cup)

Instructions

Step 1

In a container (preferably earthenware bowl for the traditional technique), mix Jasmine rice and glutinous rice. Fill the container with water (enough to cover the rice). Let it soak for about 3 hours.

Step 2

Pour the rice into a blender. Don’t forget to drain the water with a spoon while pouring the rice. Set the water aside.

Pour the rice into the blender and add water while grinding
Pour the rice into the blender and add water while grinding

Turn on the blender and switch to the “liquefy” setting. Pour in water slowly until you obtain a texture that is similar to a batter.

Step 3

Tip in sugar and blend until well combined. Add the yeast and mix well. Cover the mixture using saran wrap and set aside overnight or at least 8 hours. This is when the fermentation process begins. If you don’t use yeast and opt for the traditionally Puto Calasiao recipe, place the mixture in a warm place. This way, it’ll take 3 – 4 days for the fermentation to complete.

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Step 4

Cover the puto mold with a thin layer of vegetable oil.

Step 5

The size of the rice mixture will be doubled. Make sure to mix it before pouring into greased molds.

Step 6

Pour in a steamer 8 cups of water and bring to the simmer. Don’t forget to cover the lid of the steamer with water absorbable cloth. This will prevent the water from dripping in the puto and affect its consistency.

Steam the rice mixture for 13 – 18 minutes (for mold size 1/2” in height and 3/4” in width). If you use a bigger size mold, the steaming process will take longer. Insert a toothpick in 2 or 3 of the puto. When pulled out, if the toothpick remains clean then we can say that the rice cake is baked through.

Insert a toothpick in the steamed rice cake to see if it’s cooked through
Insert a toothpick in the steamed rice cake to see if it’s cooked through

Step 7

Remove the mold from the steamer and let it cool down for roughly 10 minutes.

Step 8

Carefully remove the rice cakes from the mold using a fork or a toothpick. Serve with fresh grated coconut or plain.

With this Puto Calasiao recipe, we hope you can manage to make this Filipino rice cake at home. Puto calasiao is a very addicting dessert and once you try it, you’ll want to continue munching! You can also add different flavors and colors to the traditional white rice cake to make them more eye-catching. See you in other Bourbon O’s interesting food recipes!

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Written By Johny

I have been an artist and journalist for many years. I am a food blogger who is crazy about food, drink and specially kitchen gadgets.

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