On the heels of the successful palitao in the previous post, I got a bit adventurous and attempted some pichi-pichi which did place in the Top 20 Favorite Pinoy Desserts Poll of Market Manila. This was a total disaster. And this post is part griping, part warning to those who read and use bad recipes that amateurs like myself can screw up even further. The resulting nuclear green pichi-pichi was extremely photogenic and nearly inedible. We threw most of it out, in fact. I found the recipe in Reynaldo Alejandroâ€™s glossy cookbook Authentic Recipes from the Philippines and it looked simple enough so I gave it a goâ€¦
First make some pandan water to flavor the pichi-pichi. Here is where the disaster started. The recipe says to take 10 pandanus leaves (no size given), stick them in a food processor with a cup of water, blitz and strain out the solids. I went out to my tiny herb patch and cut 10 medium sized utterly fresh and fragrant pandan leaves. I washed these and put them in the food processor and blitzed them. The resulting strained juice was incredibly green and fragrant. I thought I was on my way to pichi-pichi heaven.
Next, mix 2 cups of grated cassava (washed well), Â½ cup granulated sugar, 1 cup of pandan water, 2 teaspoons of lye solution (lihiya) in a bowl until dissolved. Form into oblong patties and steam for about 40 minutes in a steamer lined with banana leaves. Remove and cool a bit until you can handle the patties and when still warm, roll the patties in grated coconut and serve. This all sounds utterly simple until you tasted the finished productâ€¦instead of a hint of pandan, it tasted like you were eating freshly hewn pandan leaves. I now know what flavors a cow experiences when grazing in a meadow! Letâ€™s just say there was way too much pandan essence. And I think the recipes proportions are badly off. And look at the color of the resulting pichi-pichi!? It looks positively Martian, donâ€™t you think? Even if I toned down the pandan, I just wasnâ€™t bowled over by the gelatinous cassava with pandan flavorâ€¦Iâ€™d rather have the palitao, thank you. Mind you, I love cassava in other dessertsâ€¦