LP 22 – Kutsinta


I grew up eating these and yet and I never really saw anyone make it. Most times my mom or one of our aunts would buy it for our snack from hawkers who come through the neighborhoods shouting, “pooooto, kutsinta” as they walk down the streets. We’d start running after the guy and tell him to make sure to stop at our house. This is a steamed rice cake that is typically and best served with freshly grated coconut.This is still a work in progress but I’m quite happy with how this came out.

I started searching online and kept running into the same recipe adapted from The Food of the Philippines by Reynaldo Alejandro. I first found the recipe on a website which claimed to have Philippine dessert recipes with photos. It was quite an informative site, and they even have one of my photos! I just wish they would have asked before using it on their site. Oh well…. on to the recipe.

I started mixing according to the directions but the batter seemed ‘not right’. So I went back online and found Mang Ken’s note about using your coconut, and that seemed to fix the problem.

I think the crucial ingredient in this recipe is the lye water. I wasn’t sure at first what this ingredient did, well I’m still not sure entirely, but I think it is what gives it it’s unique scent and texture.

So using my coconut, here are the proportions I used to get this result.
2 ½ cups Rice Flour (I used Mochico brand because it is what I had in the pantry)
2 cups Brown Sugar
3 cups Water
1 teaspoon lye water (potassium carbonate solution)
Freshly Grated Coconut (I used a very good frozen coconut brand found in my local grocery store – the same kind used in Southern Coconut Cakes)

Stir all the ingredients except for the grated coconuts together and mix well. I used mini muffin tins filled almost full. Steam for 30 minutes until the cakes are firm. Repeat the process until all the batter is used. Mix the batter well each time before pouring into the tins.

PhotobucketAfter following the recipe as it is first written, even though it seemed a bit runny to me, I went ahead and steamed a batch anyway to test. Rightly so, after 30 minutes of steaming, the first batch was soft and jiggly, like unset jello. It was also cloyingly sweet. I almost aborted the recipe at this point because it was so much sweeter than I was used to. When I looked at the remaining batter, it had separated as in the photo. So I decided to follow Manong Ken’s advice and my instinct and decided to add more rice flour to thicken the batter. The original recipe only called for one cup. I added another cup and a half until I had a batter resembling that of a loose pancake batter or crepe batter. The texture improved tremendously and the sweetness was reduced to the level that I remember. I think next time I will still cut half a cup from the recipe though.

PhotobucketAnother thing learned: these don’t rise too much so I was able to fill the tins almost full. They generate quite a bit of bubbling as they cook and the liquids in the batter cook out so try not to fill the tins all the way to the edge otherwise you’d end up with some of the sticky batter overflow on top of your pan and get in your steaming water.

I think next time I will use a slightly deeper muffin tin. The same ones I used for the puto recipe which is coming up next.

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17 comments on “LP 22 – Kutsinta
  1. ems says:

    thanks for the recipe! i forgot to buy lye(lihiya) when i went home. i could find it probably at pinoy store. i will show you a picture of me eating kutsinta that my friend raquel cooked on her birthday. this time, i should have my own kutsinta without waiting for a year for raquel`s bday, haha.

  2. jayneh says:

    Naku,salamat po sa tips sa pag gawa ng kutsinta,more power po inyo!titry kopo ito sa new year!

  3. JMom says:

    Hi Ima. I don’t know of any alternative to lye offhand. Where do you live? I found it quite easily at the Chinese grocery where I live. Check for a one near you.

  4. Ima says:

    I was wondering if there is an alternative to lye water. I can’t seem to find it where I live.

  5. JMom says:

    Hi Cristina, I’m sure it will work even when you steam it as one large cake. Just make sure to cook it a little longer.


  7. toni says:

    Hi everyone.My parents were makers of kutsinta during hard time of our lives.Here is the recipes for a very tasty and satisfying KUTSINTA. 3 cups all purpose flour, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lye water and 5 cups of water. mix all, and steam for 15 to 18 minutes.Let it cool and loosen it with spatula.Be sure that the steamer is boiling.
    You ‘ll be addicted to it like us.

  8. Manang says:

    I tried making this using a rice flour I bought from Spice Of Life (sells organic stuff mostly) and took a looong time to cook, only for me to discover that most of the bottom was sediment of rice flour, so it was sooo hard there and too liquidy on top (no wonder it took forever to “cook”). Other than this, it would have tasted so good! It seems like the rice flour could not stay emulsified long enough. Maybe I used the wrong flour 🙁

    Is the Mochico brand a sweet rice flour (and therefore sticky?). I remember when I tried making palitaw using ordinary rice flour instead of sticky one, it gave me the same problem — rock hard gritty dry interior that never seemed cook.

    I should try this again probably with sticky (sweet) rice flour. What do you suggest? Help!!! Miss ko na kutsinta!

  9. JMom says:

    hi mama, I didn’t put any oil on the pans. Amazingly, they came out quite easily. All I did was run a small spatula (you can also use a butter knife) around each and slowly pry them loose. The pop right out. Hope it works out for you.

    If you have any difficulty getting them out, maybe you can grease the tins slightly.

  10. mama says:

    do i put oil/butter in the pan to prevent sticking? also, how do i take it out of the pan? thanks

  11. Jay says:

    hindi ako mahilig sa kakanin pero pag kutsinta ang naka hain…ubos yan 🙂

  12. evz says:

    I love puto kutsinta I can finish one pack worth 10PhP back home for a snack. . I tasted ones in toronto a filipina who is selling it in the GO bus terminal and its yummy that is why I asked you about the recipes of this.

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