Bettyq, I hope you read this. On your behalf, and as a small thank you from me and several readers who have so enjoyed the many recipes you shared, I made a special trip tto the “factory” or kitchens of Michelle’s “homemade” putong ube in Mandaluyong this morning. You had asked me a question about what ingredients Michelle’s listed on their box, and as I had suspected, they list NONE of the ingredients. Philippine laws on disclosure on food products are obviously woefully inadequate, so to the best of my and my crew’s ability, here is our best guess, so you may experiment with putong ube further. First of all, let me say that I like Michelle’s a lot, and have consumed hundreds if not thousands of these little morsels of joy since they started their business in 1996. First at bazaars, then at mall outlets, and eventually I discovered their kitchens one day by chance, while shopping at Galileo Enoteca just around the corner…
A year or two ago, I got a good glimpse into the kitchen, and saw the huge steamers with inverted conical tops to catch the steam and let it drip down the sides, looking almost like a giant tagine of sorts… I tried to buy some putong ube today, but it seems someone had just come into the store minutes before me and purchased every single ube puto to take on a trip abroad! Every single one! So I bought a box of these putong queso instead, more to see what was written on the box than anything else… and there are no ingredients, but it does say “No Artificial Flavoring” and “No Preservatives”. It also says that the puto are “…prepared the TRADITIONAL WAY…. and are packed full of NATURAL GOODNESS.”
Apparently, they use soaked rice or galapong that is then ground up to a coarseness they prefer, then FRESH ube that is also ground is added to the mix (not sure if this is boiled first, but I suspect it is boiled first). However, I have a slight problem with this description of ingredients as ube is NOT always in season, so I have to suspect that there is some ube powder or frozen ube involved for the flavor. And if I am to believe the box, there is no artificial flavoring, but there probably has to be artificial coloring. I have worked with ube many, many times before and getting an ube puto this vibrant while mixed with white rice, coconut milk, etc. is quite incredible, if unbelievable… my guess? A touch of purple food coloring is thrown in. Of course coconut milk, sugar and other typical ingredients go into the recipe…but the result is a plump, moist, somewhat dense puto that is totally addictive. I could easily eat a small box like this one with 25 puto in one fell swoop. At PHP130 they are roughly PHP5 each, but delicious, and knowing how many times I have failed at my own puto experiments, something I don’t mind paying at all… Okay, bettyq, get to it and perfect that home made puto ube recipe… and let us know how it turns out, okay? :)
Michelle’s Putong Ube
Conrey Specialty Foods, Inc.
24 Libertad St.
Tel. 531-2539 / 0917 823 7886