15 Jun2009

“Pinisi” a la Art

by Marketman


This is a delicious, but utterly simple snack to make. While at the beach over the weekend, Art decided to whip up this treat that he says is common back in their hometown in Cebu. It’s called “Pinisi” derived from “pisi”, or rope. Very similar to a donut, this has a crisp exterior, chewy interior and it’s sweet and light at the same time. I couldn’t believe that we haven’t had this before! When I asked for the recipe, I was stunned by its simplicity…


You will need to dissolve 2 tablespoons of yeast in 1 cup of water. Then add 1 and ¼ cups sugar, 2 tablespoons of Wesson or vegetable oil, 1 can of coconut cream (use fresh if you have it), 1 tsp salt, 2 cups water and 5 cups of all-purpose flour. Mix this all together, then knead for several minutes. Roll the dough and cut 30 strips of dough, and coil into the rope like structure you see in the photos and set aside to rest and rise for about 30 minutes.


Heat up lots of vegetable oil and deep fry until golden brown. Sprinkle with white or brown sugar. I suspect this would be brilliant with either vanilla sugar or powdered cinnamon and sugar. Yup, it’s that simple and easy to make. When I asked if the water should be “lukewarm” to help the yeast bloom, I got this look like “what?”!!! Nope, just throw everything in and mix ! But if I were you, help it along with lukewarm water. And if you want it a bit lighter, lengthen the time that you let the dough rise. You may want to pair it with a cup of native hot chocolate. :)



  1. kakusina says:

    Looks good! Do you roll out the dough before cutting it into 30 pieces?

    Jun 15, 2009 | 6:02 am


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  3. Apicio says:

    I think I shall imitate Art and as you said powder it with cinnamon sugar or even grate some nutmeg into the dough.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 6:09 am

  4. hill roberts says:

    This is very similar to the Spanish “churros”—however, they don’t cut them into pieces, rather, when the sunflower oil is very hot, they simply lay them in coils. The Spanish eat these “churros” with hot cholocate and are usually eaten around mid-morning. They also cook them in open air locales, just outside the premises. Some do prefer to eat these “churros” with coffee but hot cholocate is still the best accompaniment.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 6:23 am

  5. Marketman says:

    hill, similar, but not quite… a simple recipe for churros for the home, in a previous post, here. No yeast, but butter and optional egg in that version. Apicio, yes, incorporate the spices into the dough as well, yum. Kakusina, yes, thank you for catching that, you need to roll the dough out, I have modified the recipe above… :)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 6:27 am

  6. peanut says:

    In Leyte we call this “siakoy”

    Jun 15, 2009 | 6:57 am

  7. Apicio says:

    If you fried this in rancid oil it would be a pretty close approximation of what they use to sell as bicho-bicho back home when I was kid. Anyway, there is something about fried simple dough that answers to our primal needs. In the Rideau Canal in Ottawa in winter people pause from skating to eat this fried flat pieces of dough that’s remarkably delicious called beaver tails. Quite appropriate in our nation’s capital since our mascot is the beaver. In Marrakesh once I got so much enjoyment from what looked like bicho-bicho with both ends joined making them look like loose donuts. That was until I caught sight of the murky grease they fried them in.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:09 am

  8. silly lolo says:

    I don’t care what they are called. I think I will cook some just to experience diabetic coma!
    Oh don’t worry. The Hospital is just across the street from my place.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:28 am

  9. Zerho says:

    Loved this as a kid. Though I find it to greasy today…

    I just can help notice that some people actually pressed the I dont eat option on the survey…haha.. good for them. Anyway, thanks Marketman for all the recipe you’ve given, I had fun cooking and eating them…BEST SITE EVER!:)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:34 am

  10. banana says:

    These look similar to the ‘long john’ that we loved since we were kids. They had a crispy crust (rolled in sugar) and a chewy dough. The best part was the melty cheese inside. We also had this challenge when eating these: not to lick the sugar that stuck to our lips until finishing the entire bread. It was impossible but fun! :P

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:48 am

  11. sanojmd says:

    yup, i agree.. it is like the spanish donuts’ churros.. and it is very good. i had tasted it here and it was dipped in chocolate.. it is good..

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:49 am

  12. betty q. says:

    Silly Lolo….I thought initially it was “pilipit”. ..and then I said..that is one might fat pilipit!!!

    I learned to make pilipit back home when I was a kid but my MIL makes to die for pilipit! …also deep-fried, it is sooooooooo addicting! Her pilipit is also more of the savoury type..not as much sugar. In fact, I don’t think she puts sugar….I think, that is what suits you best, Silly Lolo!That is what I am going to make tom…MIL’s pilipit for the boys snack!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:51 am

  13. elian says:

    siakoy man pud na diri sa cebu.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:51 am

  14. Lurker says:

    It’s called pinisi? I’m from Cebu, born and raised, but I’ve never heard it called pinisi. It’s shakoy! :) But it does look like a pisi that’s twisted noh? Shakoy was a merienda thing that my lola used to force-feed her grandchildren. It was yummy though. Of course we were kids so anything with sugar was yummy. Shakoy! aka pinisi.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:54 am

  15. Marketman says:

    Yes, siakoy is an alternative name, though for our crew, they seem to think siakoy should have more sugar incorporated into the dough, and none sprinkled on top, more like a plain donut… :)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 8:02 am

  16. bluegirl says:

    Wow, What a timely post! I’ve been pining for pilipit for several weeks now. Can’t wait for Sunday to come along and try this out.

    MM, about the kneading….how do I know I’ve kneaded enough? Should the dough come together and be smooth like for bread?

    Jun 15, 2009 | 8:47 am

  17. Marketman says:

    bluegirl, yes, knead till supple and smooth, but to be honest this isn’t a very picky dough… :)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 8:48 am

  18. Ging says:

    It’s Siakoy! Pinisi is smaller and crunchy, like a sweet, twisted breadstick :-)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:08 am

  19. Ging says:

    Reminds me also of the fried bread that goes into the thick, rich congee sold in HongKong sidestreets. But without the sugar. Yum yum.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:11 am

  20. elian says:

    wecall that siakoy wa’y kamay sho!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:24 am

  21. Marketman says:

    Amazing, how such as small island as Cebu would have so many different names by town… :)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:41 am

  22. Connie C says:

    Ayyy.Silly Lolo. You are a tease. Never mind if the hospital is across the street. You know some don’t wake up after a diabetic coma…….puhleease, you still have to make the Cebu EB.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:42 am

  23. kiko says:

    I wonder how similar this is to the tagalog “bitso”…

    Jun 15, 2009 | 10:12 am

  24. lyna says:

    Similar one is made here but it’s not twisted, just straight and lighter – it’s called Chakoi…. Not sure if it is a Chinese or Malay term but gosh it is so close to our term siakoy!!!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 10:24 am

  25. yel says:

    Miss Betty,

    Pakishare po recipe ng pilipit. I miss them so much and the last time I had one was back in elementary.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 10:46 am

  26. Lurker says:

    omg Ging is right. pinisi is thinner. like a you know … pisi. and shakoy is thicker and softer. dont mean to argue semantics but wala lang … just thought to mention the difference. :p

    Jun 15, 2009 | 10:59 am

  27. Toping says:

    That’s siakoy, all right. Here in our place, there’s this lady that sells them along with buchi; now I gotta go get me some of those!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 11:23 am

  28. maila says:

    i make this at home but i just use frozen buttermilk biscuit dough from the grocery. roll and twist them into this shape and fry. then sprinkle sugar on top. quick, easy and yummy! im sure its not the same cus it doesnt have coconut milk but its quite good too.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 11:57 am

  29. diday says:

    Yes, thanks Art and MM. We call it siakoy, too and the pinisi is the one described by Ging, sweet & crunchy breadstick. Lurker, yes a mini siakoy. Siguro wa na halin na siakoy unya ki-init ug ka duha. He!he!he – ni-kuyos ha!ha!ha!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 12:00 pm

  30. peanut says:

    Hahahaha boing ka man Diday hahahahaah.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 12:11 pm

  31. len says:


    pls post the masi of liloan kay lami kaayo na.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 12:24 pm

  32. michelle o says:

    Haven’t followed any of the previous recipes posted. I think this will be the first!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 2:06 pm

  33. docgelo says:

    MarketMan, Pinisi appears to me as BICHO, although it has softer consistency or are they the same?

    Jun 15, 2009 | 5:13 pm

  34. Marketman says:

    docgelo, yes similar to bicho sold in Manila in some malls and street vendors, but if you go to this previous post on bicho-bicho in Bacolod, another totally different yet similar treat… the naming is problematic…

    Jun 15, 2009 | 5:31 pm

  35. marj says:

    the last time i was at 168, i noticed quite a number of people flocking a chichiriya stall (hopia, cornik, nuts etc) right outside the mall. then i saw it, a man twirling doughs with chopsticks dropping them like a zip-dancer in a deep pan of hot oil. another man would lift the cooked ones, plop them on newspaper then sprinkle lightly with sugar. it was very entertaining and a lot of ’em bystanders left with a piece or two of “pinisi”.
    i felt glad that in the center of mass consumerism, somebody bothered to put on a show =)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 5:49 pm

  36. singleton says:

    think its similar with bicho bicho..;)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 6:43 pm

  37. Alan says:

    Hi, MM! You failed to mention how much fresh coconut milk is needed. You said one can of coconut cream but did not say how much that is in ml or cups. And if I use fresh, will kakang gata be better? Please clarify. Thanks!

    Jun 15, 2009 | 7:32 pm

  38. elaine says:

    So simple and vegan friendly…:)

    Jun 15, 2009 | 8:31 pm

  39. Jenny says:

    This is similar to the Chinese fried dough too. My grandfather used to make them, but he died before I was born and didn’t pass the recipe on to any of his kids. This fried dough is still sold on Ongpin and Masangkay Streets. You can also get them in HongKong.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 8:58 pm

  40. Bubut says:

    when u go to market market or some other malls there is a stall that sells fresh bicho-bicho.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:15 pm

  41. Marketman says:

    Alan, do about a cup or slightly over. This isn’t a very exacting recipe. And yes, first pressing of coconut is the best choice. Watch the consistency of the dough, you don’t want it TOO WET.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 9:15 pm

  42. Marketfan says:

    was surprised this contains coconut cream. thought it was similar to doughnut recipe

    Jun 15, 2009 | 10:02 pm

  43. Diwata08 says:

    MM, I think I know why you got the “what?” look. I was told that in these days, the dry yeast is added straight into the dry ingredients. Dissolving the yeast in lukewarm water is an old procedure. I was also surprised to learn of this from a seasoned panadero.

    Jun 15, 2009 | 11:10 pm

  44. calorie-schmalorie says:

    was about to ask about the coconut cream and the yeast and before i got to the end, have my question answered. discovered your site quite recently and i couldnt stop checking out the archives. enjoyed everything i’ve read and am now a big fan. maraming salamat!

    Jun 16, 2009 | 1:06 am

  45. gini says:

    Thanks MM for another easy recipe. Hope to try this sometime. Reading your blog always makes me smile. It completes my day.
    Diday, lost me there: what did you say? I want to be in on your joke too :)Pls. translate.

    Jun 16, 2009 | 3:23 am

  46. Maria Clara says:

    Coconut milk is great in pastries and cookies made out of flour. I recently found out Sanikulas and uraro cookies are made out of coconut milk with minimal or no use of butter or margarine at all. I am living in a rock! With this in mind, I am thinking coconut milk will also be good in ensaimada BUT will defer to BettyQ who is my kitchen fairy Godmother for her thoughts on this. Bicho bicho of my childhood looks totally different from what you have. My recollection the bicho bicho are not twisted but rather they look like the bicho bicho you featured in your Bacolod food trip and they are coated with sugar glazing like glazed donuts and crunchy. They used to sell them at the wet market in a bilao and using an old canned of evaporated milk as the vendor’s measuring device. You really need to have a good set of teeth both lower and upper teeth in order to enjoy the bicho bicho with a cup of teeth. Otherwise, one needs to soak the bicho bicho in coffee until manageable for them to masticate.

    Jun 16, 2009 | 4:56 am

  47. diday says:

    Gini,‘The pinisi is the result of the unsold/leftover siakoy being re-heated twice.’ The punch line is now gone — decoding it in English is ineffective.

    Len,I second the motion. I have combed Google for masi recipe but have been unproductive. TanYuan or sweet dumplings is the closest? But not sure. MM is this possible?

    Jun 16, 2009 | 12:02 pm

  48. Cecilia says:

    This sounds so yummy and similar to beignet which I’ve been craving the last couple of weeks since I had it at Hatfield’s here in L.A. … It’s just one of those many things I’ve been meaning to make, but just haven’t gotten around to … This even sounds yummier, because of the coconut cream! Can’t wait! I think I’ll make this tomorrow. Perhaps serve it with chocolate ganache … Grew-up in Cebu, heard of Siakoi (perhaps as in sio mai?), but don’t remember ever having had it.

    Jun 16, 2009 | 2:27 pm

  49. luna miranda says:

    i think we call this “bichokoy” in Negros. it’s great with coffee, salabat, and yes, hot choco!

    Jun 16, 2009 | 6:10 pm

  50. betty q. says:

    MC: Hey, you come up with the best innovations, MC!…now that coconut ensaymada is truly Pinoy! And if you want you can make a coconut filling like those in Chinese cocktail buns. I think it will be masarap. If you want to try it, here is the recipe for the coconut filling they use in making the coconut buns sold at Chinese bakeries…

    175 gm. dessicated oconut
    168 gm. sugar
    56 gm. melted butter
    1 egg
    2 tbsp. milk
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    few drops coconut essence

    mix everythng together. spread a thin layer when you flatten each ensaymada ball.

    if you want to pipe the topping like the ones they use in those cocktail buns…

    50 gm. magarine or butter
    24 gm. sugar
    14 gm. cake flour
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    Mix to a smooth paste. After proofing the ensay,madas already in the mould, pipe the toppping…not too much..just a thin strip following the coil. Then bake.

    Oh, this will be one awesome ensaymada! Let’s make it this week-end, MC and compare notes!

    Jun 16, 2009 | 10:52 pm

  51. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: Thanks much for your input. Dessicated coconut is this the dried one they have at the grocery chain or the one they sell at the health food that looks like a snow flakes? On the other hand, if one is using the canned coconut milk it will be a problem as it contains a minute amount of preservatives. Yes, it is a miniscule amount but the yeast will not tolerate it. So there will be a problem posed here if using canned coco milk. I tried it in bibingka my yeast grew as soon as I added the coco milk my batter went flat as a concrete. No sign of life at all – not even sign they are in life support. Perhaps a fresh coco milk is in order but I will not do the fresh pressing of coco milk not in this life where I am at this moment. I am glad you agree with me coco milk give the ensaimada another layer of flavor.

    At the Thai market they sell coconut cakes which is really good. I goggled the recipe and sounds very doable. Try goggling it and let me know your feedback. Thanks again MM and BettyQ.

    Jun 17, 2009 | 1:42 am

  52. betty q. says:

    MC: I am assumng you have a Kitchenaid with all the baking that you do! You have the grater attachment? Here is an No sweat way of making kudkod your coconut. Pass it through the grater attachment but don’t push it too hard so you will have finely grated coconut. Doing it in the food processor will work as well. The only laborious thing is cracking the cocnut open and taking the meat out.

    Jun 17, 2009 | 3:57 am

  53. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: thanks again. I do have a food processor and will try the food processor approach. I do not have the grater attachment for my mixer but if the food processor works then I will not get the attachment. Too many unused kitchen equipments sitting in my cupboard and do not want to add another pile in it.

    Jun 17, 2009 | 4:19 am

  54. ykmd says:

    Siakoy! Yummmm….
    I miss masi too! Can you do a post on that MM?

    Jun 17, 2009 | 4:50 am

  55. Gini says:

    thanks Diday. I totally agree…the humor is lost in translation but at least when I went back to reread your comment, I understood and appreciated the joke :)

    Jun 17, 2009 | 8:48 am

  56. Cecilia says:

    I just finished making this mostly according to instructions and suggestions from the comments. I guess beignet it is not, but then nobody ever told me it is. He, he. But it turned out reeeally good. I halved all the ingredients, but I still made alot! I added a dash of vanilla, grated some nutmeg and cinnamon … It does taste quite familiar. I’m not sure from where, but maybe I have had siakoi growing-up. Thank you, MM, for a comforting post!

    Jun 17, 2009 | 10:07 am

  57. betty q. says:

    Cecilia; could you be referring to Apicio’s beaver tails or elephant ears? Yup, it is really good! Using MM’s dough, to make elephant ears, get a small piece of dough and roll it thinly into an oval about 3 by 5 inches pulling it gently making sure the edges are somehow a little thicker than the center. Using fingertips, I make hole impressions on the dough before frying so there will be bumps! Then dust with cinnamon sugar while it is still hot.

    Jun 18, 2009 | 2:20 am

  58. Cecilia says:

    Betty q, I’m just referring to MM’s pinisi … Thanks for your instructions. Maybe you should have your own blog as well. I’m already addicted to MM’s and 80Breakfasts, I could go for another one. Will be trying your siomai recipe and something else that I can’t remember right now, sometime soon! Betty q, you’re pretty cute! … Now where did that come from? Well, it sounds cute, so I’ll leave it at that.

    Jun 18, 2009 | 2:35 pm

  59. Louelljoy says:

    Hello, would you happen to have a nice recipe for doughnuts? the ones that stays soft even for 24hrs like that of dunkins? because most recipes I tried available in the net turns tough and chewy after just 2hrs expose to room temp. Please help, thanks.

    Mar 3, 2011 | 9:16 am

  60. Louelljoy says:

    Hello, would you happen to have a nice recipe for doughnuts? the ones that stays soft even for 24hrs like that of dunkins? because most recipes I tried available in the net turns tough and chewy after just 2hrs expose to room temp. Please help, thanks. Please email me at Louelljoy@yahoo.com

    Mar 3, 2011 | 9:17 am


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