Putong Ube a la Marketman


My post the other day on Michelle’s Putong Ube, and bettyq’s very enthusiastic description of her early morning experiments on the Pacific Nortwest Coast yielding a terrific puto, launched me straight into the kitchen a few hours later, excited to use her guidance and recipe to try my hand at getting a reasonably good puto. But after a quick trip to the grocery(ies) here, I couldn’t find any powdered ube and or ube flavoring so I decided to experiment on my own version… First we purchased under a kilo of fresh ube from the market, lots of freshly grated coconut, and made several batches of puto that yielded pretty good results…


Wash the fresh ube tuber, brushing off any soil or gunk and boil it unpeeled in a large pot of water for say 30-35 minutes until just cooked through. Let this cool a little bit until you can safely handle the ugly hairy beast. Take a knife and carefully peel only the outer skin of the ube, taking great care not to remove the layer of ube just below the skin, that is where a LOT of the purple color pigment resides and if you peel the ube carelessly, you lose a lot of the potential color. Next, I passed the peeled ube through a food grinder and the result is in the photo above… while my camera doesn’t seem to handle shades of purple well, you can tell that the ground up ube is incredibly vibrant in color…


In a large mixing bowl, I added 1 cup of rice flour (Peotraco rice flour, NOT glutinous rice flour, there is a HUGE difference), roughly 1.5 cups of the grated ube, lightly packed, 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed coconut milk/cream from the first pressing, 3/4 cup of Carnation evaporated milk (used this on purpose, figuring the commercial puto producers wouldn’t use fresh milk and the evaporated milk would add that familiar flavor of the 1950’s-60’s), 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/4 cup of all purpose flour (as Bettyq suggested) and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Mix this well and you get a lavender batter that is a little less thick than pancake batters. You may adjust the ube content at this point or add a little rice flour if you think the consistency doesn’t seem right.


Next I melted some good sweet butter and brushed this generously inside the puto molds, then placed these on a steamer that had already been boiling for several minutes, with a towel under the lid to seal in the steam and prevent dripping onto the puto.


After 8-10 minutes, I removed the puto from the steamer and was utterly shocked to find this first batch of pretty puto-like looking puto. I quickly removed one from the mold and cut it in half… the texture was good, the height achieved was terrific, the color was a bizarre but totally natural BLUEish grey, and a quick pop into the mouth, OMG, this is a pretty darn respectable putong ube! The flavor was subtle but clearly present, it was light but NOT airy, sweet but not cloyingly so, with hints of coconut milk and a canned richness from the evaporated milk. An 8.0 out of 10 definitely, possibly a touch higher. But i wanted better flavor and a more vibrant purple color.


While I was very pleased with these initial results, like bettyq, I was a bit obsessive about wanting to get closer to the Michelle’s version. So I immediately started another batch, the second batch having a little more fresh ube, two or three tablespoons of melted butter in the batter and a little bit of violet and red food coloring from gels (not the watery food coloring). These were even better than the first batch and they appear on the right of the photo above, and the first photo up top. They were more moist and smoother due to the addition of more ube and they really did taste more ube-y, but now they had that nuclear, clearly artificial color that folks find so appealing in a bizarre kind of way. This was a good 8.5-8.75 out of 10 scale.


We tried yet another batch to which we added quick melt cheese and this was pretty good too… Mrs. MM doesn’t like cheese in her puto so she wasn’t thrilled with this one. But the crew were thinking of taking a tray of these out to the construction site down the street to sell them… they decided to eat them all instead!


To get this puto to a slam dunk 9.25-9.50 level, I think a little bit of concentrated ube flavor might be necessary. While I am thrilled with my version that doesn’t have the added food color or flavoring, I think a little sleight of cook will pump this up a notch… after all, most cakes have vanilla or lemon or other essence to pump up their flavors… What I can say about the experiment is that I don’t necessarily believe it when a commercial product clearly states on their box “NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING” and since they don’t say it, I assume they use ARTIFICIAL COLORING. The next day, I found three different types of ube flavor at the Landmark grocery and will try adding it to the puto on my next trial… You really have to wonder what McCormick means by “Nature Identical Ube Flavor”… heehee. Thanks, bettyq for the base recipe and inspiration to try my hand at puto again. Folks in the Philippines who have access to a decent market and supermarket will definitely be able to make this version of puto in a flash.


94 Responses

  1. oh oh… is this the beginning of putong ube chronicles?… ill wait for the bibingka chronicles…=)

  2. wow MM, you’re quick. these look really good.

    I can’t get access to fresh ube here but there is this guy who sells roasted okinawan sweet potatoes just outside the japanese grocery near where i live. it’s apparently grown in hawaii and looks very much like ube. i’m wondering if it’s the same.

    also, would you get more concentrated ube flavor by roasting the tubers instead of boiling. puede kaya iyon?

  3. I’m just wondering what’s the next best thing for ube flavouring as I can’t find this ube essence in Oz? I’m so excited about betty q’s,Michelle’s and your recipe and I can’t wait to make it and share it with family and friends.

    Thanks again for sharing! Have a good weekend everyone!

  4. Oh, you really are quick, MM!!!…how about now trying the cuchinta I posted earlier…way , way easier and faster too!…maybe your crew can sell a whole kaboodle of these delightful little morsels…on second thought, maybe not a good idea…you would have people knocking on your gate asking …are there any more?

    jadedfork…does that sweet potatoes pretty much resemble the camote in shape only deep purple in color? If it is the same one we have here….I have some of those I bought the previous day before my puto experiment intending to use it for guinatan. So thinking it would be similar to ube, I used that on my first batch of puto and the puto turned to NUCLEAR TURQUOISE in color to my horror!!!!….maybe I used too much of those. So the second and third batch, I used the ube powder dissolved in really hot water. But i know that a friend’s sister uses that camote together with ube to make a really deep purple ube haleya!

  5. MM, your puto looks yummy

    i think you really need to add a touch or two of artificial coloring to turn it into a pretty purple color. my brother-in-law makes the best ube halaya.. one time, he forgot to add color in the halaya and it turned out blue-gray!

  6. MM, just an idea…try to look for the food coloring that says “flavocol” (I think peotraco and ferna have it). a few drops of ube flavocol would kick up both the color and the flavor (i think even the scent, too).

  7. …that is such a tongue twister, melyj!!!…”pretty good puto-looking puto” x 10…I give up!!!

    Yup, Lee! I can just picture you in those bell bottom pants in that color at the EB!!!!

  8. MM, how about trying it without flour because I think the real ones don’t have it? Or how about letting it ferment overnight just like the dosa mixtures they have in India?
    Since I can’t get ube there I should try with just plain rice flour….Oh, what I give for a puto!!!

  9. see, bettyq,your enthusiasm is contagious!

    bettyq and jadedfork, the purple camote does not substitute for ube because its its flavor is totally different, and you’re right bettyq, the color bleeds into the cooking liquid and the ube itself looks weird.

    lee, is that what you’re wearing the the lechon EB? :-)

  10. MM, nature identical ube flavor – in flavor technology they extract the flavor components from the natural material in this case ube and identify the components that significantly contribute to the flavor of ube. Most flavor components are what we call volatile or are gaseous in form – and there are chemical groups that do manifest such characteristics. So once the chemical compounds have been identified and their amount or concentrations have been determined – they can commercially make flavors from these chemical compounds which have been identified to be found in the ube. The difference in making these flavors is that they do not have to extract the flavors from the ube but produce the flavors by mixing together the chemical components or the flavor components identical to what was found in the natural ube.

  11. Never mind the weird color, for me as long there is not artificial flavoring or color, it’s great. Thanks for sharing the recipe and results.

  12. I’m dying to make those putong ube right now! But ube is not available at the market here in SG at the moment. Marketman, after I read your post about Michelle’s puto few days ago I’m not the same anymore. I want them sooo bad.

    betty q, yesterday I attempted to make some plain puto out of rice flour. It didn’t rise at all, it was extremely dense. I put generous amount of baking powder in the second batch but the result was the same. Any tips?

  13. i remember my mother used to cook puto cheese and puto pao during my high school days and id sell it at school…

  14. ..in other words remebaclig, …artificial ube flavour.! So why don’t they just say it…simply that – ARTIFICIAL UBE FLAVOUR!

    OH, lightbulb moment here!…you know the powder they use for bubble tea?..the purple taro? I bet that would work as well!…and NO NUCLEAR TURQUOISE PUTO!!!!

  15. Hershey…Connie C posted a recipe using rice galapong. I am going to start on her recipe this week-end. I hope hubby goes out of town on business. If not, it would have to wait till Thursday, next week. I think the purely rice one uses a starter. Before we came here, my mom usually buys this puto form Aling Atay in Batanggas wet market. I don’t know if she is still around but she was kind enough to give her recipe to my cousin when we went to Batanggas and she made a demo in front of me. I was just a little girl!!! This much I can remember…she used a starter, lihia and sugar.

    I wrote down the recipe but it is in gatang and salop. If anyone can help me convert those in cups, That will be my next experiment. I remember it is makunat and pure white!…Oh, also it is a 2 day process!

  16. bettyq and millet, thanks for the heads up. nuclear turquoise. lol! i’ve not yet tried them but heard from a friend that they’re very good. maybe just not suitable for puto.

    this site’s really great. i think of eating something and voila recipe appears!

  17. Congratulations, MM! Success on your 1st ube puto attempt is something. Yep, it’s a werid blue-gray without color, hehe.

  18. Hershey, I from SG also and just purchased a fresh ube 5kg from the market last week. My brother and I cook two batch of Ube halaya and all of them gone in 2 days :). Yesterday I visited the same stall but they don’t have it anymore. The seller said they got it from malaysia. If I can find another one I’ll let you know. I am very exited to try the ube puto….

  19. zena, I had puto nightmares before and gave up. So this is not the first attempt. :) remebaclig, I SUSPECTED THAT, artificial flavoring. Hmmm, so their either don’t use this stuff or their box stating “NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING” was not correct. But if they don’t use this stuff, how do they get the intense fragrance… hmmmm, bijin, I have tried it without flour several times and got much denser versions… millet, yes, I bought flavocol and all other versions of ube flavor I could find… waiting for more fresh ube… linda, frozen ube? Perhaps the next time you are in Manila, bring home a stock of pinoy flavorings from a large grocery… jadedfork, not sure about the roasting, put it might work…

  20. betty q – looking fwd to the puto made from rice galapong! Sounds like the authentic one. My late mother used to make puto all the time, and I would watch her make it, so I remember the procedure very well, but infortunately I didn’t list down the proportion of the ingredients. I’ve tried to make it several times but just couldn’t get the right texture. I also tried making the Vietnamese version called bahn bo and was almost successful with it. It required overnight fermentation of the rice flour and water mixture. So thanks to you and MM for doing the puto experiments with all the tips!

  21. Wow! I can pop a dozen (or more) of that putong ube with melted cheese in my mouht anytime!! Thank you BettyQ for the recipe, and a standing ovation to MM! I’m gonna forward this to my mom (asap)! She gets to mix and steam, i get to wait and taste! Wheeeeh!

  22. Hershey, are there Vietnamese or Thai grocery stores where you are? I think they have it as well in the froZEN SECTION…LABELLED GRATED PURPLE YAM (it is ube and not camote) it is not boiled though! I bought a few packs months ago and made haleya ube. The frozen ones at Filipino stores and comes from Phil. are already boiled -ready to use…

    Also, using straight rice flour…this is my theory…rice flour like cornstarch has none if not little gluten content. Gluten is sort of the building block needed to form the structure of a baked product. Now, if I were to use this now in making the puto, I would need a leavening agent like a starter (like maybe waaaay back when , they used tuba to ferment the galapong and use that as a starter)…keeping in mind that there is no gluten, the texture of the puto will be sort of similar to a honeycomb…that is the best way I can describe the structure much like the beloved Puto Pulo. OK, ladies…this is only a THEORY! I am not saying this is actually the way it is done!

    Oh, sooo many experiments to do!

  23. totally unrelated to the amazing puto (that made me click from my rss), but I just can’t believe there are McCain/Palin supporters reading this very liberal blog! :p

  24. whoa! my first thoughts were: Anak ng Puto!! and then where are my car keys? will go on a putong ube run later. you da man MM! ube ube ube ube ube

  25. That’s beautiful MM..i will try puto ube on Dec. 8 in Sta Monica, Palawan..for a change…who can share paella negra recipe…pls.

  26. Prince, Nielsen Cagalingan and Rovy Santos: I was reading the past posts of Puto in the archives and I noticed that you wanted a cuchinta recipe. I have a pretty good one..Tried and True…brownish-orangey color, nice texture…not too “malambot” and not too hard either…it has just the right texture. I have taken the guesswork out for you!…go back to Michelle’s Ube post…I posted the recipe somewhere there…

    Millet..puto binan…is that the one that is sort of yellowish -brownish in color and really high and fluffy?

  27. Marketman, can you post an approximate cost/budget list for this as well? :) I’m curious to see how much making your own puto would cost versus commercial ones considering how expensive things are nowadays. Thanks! :)

  28. the blue colour kinda freaks me out…its a bit too much and apparently, blue is the least appetising colour when it comes to food…i still prefer a white puto =)

  29. yes, bettyq, that’s the one. it has a slightly sourish flavor, and is chewier than the other puto varieties. i do not know why the puto makers in binan now insist on putting grated cheese over everything – i like it without the cheese, just plain freshly-grated coconut. i do not know what makes it brown-is it brown sugar, or is it the rice? and i like the slight chewiness.

  30. Betty Q, thanks for the insight! I also thought that the absence of gluten played a huge part in my disastrous experiment. However, I will try to look for grated frozen yam. I already know how to make good puto cheese, the fluffy and cakey kind it’s just that there are times I’m craving for the other variation which is made from galapong, the kind that I used to buy from the puto vendors in my hometown. Like you’ve said I believe the sellers use lihiya as the texture is somewhat chewy.

    Jun, I went to shengshong on wednesday but didn’t find any purple yam. Halaya is my favorite as well but too exhausting to prepare, right? Maybe I’ll have a look at the wet market one of these days. I live in Woodlands, what part of SG are you from? :)

  31. i love halayang ube but am turned off by anything too sweet. does anybody know where i can get this great stuff that’s just mildly sweet. perhaps salcedo? i intend to binge on it when i visit next month.

  32. Yuan, we are a bit off topic of this post but like MM whenever he is in Cebu, you have the perfect place for making paella negra, Puerto Princesa, Palawan where you have an abundance of squids of several varieties and where you can buy them alive and fresh from the sea. Notice how colors would still be changing under their pink skin as they are displayed on the stalls.

    You can make your paella as black as you want them from abundant fresh ink you can gather. I usually save the ink in the freezer for when I would need it. It always amuses me to observe who has the blackest teeth after a paella negra meal, a simpler version than the one MM has in the archives. I am already looking forward to my next paella when I winter back in Sta. Monica by Baker’s Hill where I can also get the best piaya studded wih loads of sesame seeds. I already have MM’s paella recipe bookmarked in my laptop.

  33. Hey Corrine…got another lightbulb moment just now…I have pirurutong soaking to make suman for the week-end….will save the really purple water and use that for the purple color for the ube puto….this is as natural as I can get. I think it will work. Hey, up for another experiment, MM? Let’s compare notes using that purple pirurutong water together with the ube…

    MM, do you mind posting your EB on YOU TUBE?….would love to see Lee, Millet, Toping, Zena? and everybody else!!!!

  34. I bookmarked your blog last week and I’ve been following your posts daily since then. I’m loving how purple your ube puto is. Yummy.

  35. bettyq, I will follow your lead; will use the pirurutong soak-water for the ube-puto, since I cannot find ube flavoring and coloring here in Houston. I bought 2 kinds of that special rice; one thai and one indian (it’s mixed with white malagkit) rice. As for ube-kamote (hawaiian yam), my nanay used to boil them, then mashed, mixed with harina and muscovado sugar, make a patty, and fry. Ang sarap po talaga. And my aunt in Quezon shreds different color/variety of the kamote, then half-cooked them (separately) in mixture of muscavado and coconut milk. Nanay calls them Oblea. She then make a layer of the different color kamote into banana leaves, and then make a log and roll. Tie it and steam cook. As she unwrapped them and slice (like morcon), it is so beautiful. The slices are then topped with grated fresh coconut. Sarap din. Ayy naku, so many things to try for this upcoming holiday. Pero hahanap pa ako ng kakain, my hubby is not crazy about our kakanin, and I don’t have close filipino neighbors. I also bought a puto-bumbong steamer, pero takot akong gamitin.

    What about the boxed puto-mixed? Anybody tried that yet?

  36. EbbaMyra, ..is your hubby Caucasian? He might like the TibokTibok (coconut pudding!). If you can get really nice thick coconut milk, that is the one to use. I usually shake the can and if it sounds too :swishy “, I get another can and do the same thing. I am after the one that doesn’t swish around too much….that means it’s really thick and not watered down! Or you can crack open a fresh niyog and grate it. You have a kudkuran? …Tibok Tibok is really silky, smooth..my version anyway! Please do try it !!!!

  37. bettyq, tayo na lang yata ang gising, hehehe. What is tibok-tibok. Did you post your recipe here too? My hubby is white-texan-german-irish whose parents ended up in Louisiana. He actually likes southern cooking — rice, gravy and beans. And stewed cabbage. Ang pinaka-desert niya – fried fruit pies. He tried puto, kutsinta, palitaw, pilipit (which my grandson calls filipino doughnut), biko, leche-flan, ube haleya, suman, etc. ayos lang daw, pero he is not too crazy about it. So ako lang talaga ang kakain, unless I go to some Filipino gathering, ayyy sus, mas masasarap silang magluto sa akin. But I want to learn, para pag-dating ko ng Pinas next summer alam kong magluto. Yung mga pamangkin ko kasi duon, newer generation, hindi nila alam kundi bumili na lang. Ayy. Kaya eto ako, learning from the pros like you and MM.

  38. Ebba; madaling araw pa kasi sa kabila ng mundo!!!! …si Lee, naghihilik pa!!!…hahaha….Tibok Tibok is the Kapampangan maja blanca …it is by far the BESTEST maja blanca on the planet!!!…..rich but not cloyingly sweet…silky, velevety smooth…my all time FAVORITE KAKANIN! If there is a whole la mesa of Kakanin,I will just simply indulge myself on this Kakanin and nothing else! It is simple to make and cost effective. …contains just frresh milk, coconut cream, cornstarch, and sugar. I use a double boiler when I make this so I don’t burn the bottom of the pot….you can use nonstick caldero if you have it …NO ALUMINUM POT! Recipe I already posted on the Flavoured SUMAN post of MM. If you make this and bring to a potluck, tatanungin nila sa iyo kung paano mo ginawa ito…I can guarantee that!!! It is nice if you can use the best possible coconut milk you can find….even better if you make your own cocnut cacang gata kung meron kang kudkuran. You need the first extraction…4 cups for the maja and 3 cups for the latik. of course, you can cut the recipe in half…Pag ginawa mo ito, sabihin mo sa akin kung nagustuhan ng iyong hubby and kaibigan!!

  39. MM, i remember the previous puto posts that didn’t quite make the grade, hehe. But those were plain putos and this is ube puto. So i’m still calling it your 1st ube puto, or should i say ‘bluto’ attempt. It sounds better on your “cooking/baking resume” that you nailed your first bluto. =)

    I love puto binan coz of the chewiness and slight sourness. The one that i ask my neighbor to buy at the Pasig market is plain, no cheese. Warm it up and slather with butter. Yum. And yes, it’s brown because of brown sugar, or so I was told.

    I have tried the puto mix in a box because it was free with some other product. For sure it looked “puto-like”. All fluffy, domed and white. But it had the “mix-in-a-box” taste peculiar to mixes. If one is not very particular, I suppose it will do. It reminds me of the regular-sized white puto of goldilocks.

    lee, you can wear pair purple pants with a green top and come as a talong. Or should i say blutong?

    betty q., I am in love with your bibingka recipe and will not make it again till Xmas because it is disastrous to my pre-xmas diet! I ate two 6-in circles in one sitting. All by my greedy self.

  40. Cheese, on puto? Who thought that one up? Most of the over the counter take out food in the Phil. seem to be too adulterated, artificially colored, and artificially flavoured. With no one regulating or enforcing standards god only knows what you are eating so back to the home kitchen and traditional recipes.

  41. Zena…if you think that the bibingka is good, wait till you try the TIBOK TIBOK! You will ignore the bibingka and be in love with the TIBOK TIBOK…follow the Flavoured Suman thread…I posted the recipe in there….You have to use cacang gata for the pudding…makes a huge difference rather than using the second extraction…..then go to Pampangga and try theirs…you will see that what you made can compare to theirs if not better…of course, yours is not commercially done so it will fare better than the ones you buy commercially…..A word of caution…as you stir this pudding and becomes bubbly and thick, it WILL NOT look as thick as the ones made with evaporated milk and corn…DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO ADD MORE CORNSTARCH!!!! The amount of thickener(cornstarch) in the recipe is sufficient to thicken the TIBOK TIBOK to the consisitency it is supposed to be….just like jello! It jiggles but it is set….

  42. betty q — i am with y ou. tibok tibok is simply the very best. an italian guest loved it and called it the filipino panna cotta. will try your recipe one of these days.

  43. Hershey, Sa Sembawang lang ako magkalapit lang pala tayo. I found it in chong pang it’s about S$3/kg.

  44. Ebba: since I was up all night anyway making ensaymada for my brother’s birthday, I decided to make puto ube again using the pirurutong water. It still turned to bluish- gray.

    MM…I added a bit more ube + 1/2 tsp. ube flavour + 1 drop red color (gel) + 2 drops violet (gel) +the pirurutong water (10tbsp.)…equals…TADA!!!…drum roll…a really purple puto ube…just like the picture of your grated ube. If I knew how to post a picture,. I would send you one!!!

    Lee, it didn’t turn out to be a bluto!!! It’s a really purple puto….and if I may aadd, MM…it’s a perfect ube tasting purple looking puto!!!

  45. It’s a Deepavali holiday here in SG tomorrow so I told my wife I’ll make her ube puto tomorrow…Will try the last recipe posted by betty q.

  46. Hey Jun…if your grated ube is as deep lilac as MM’s ….this is what i would suggest doing…like evrtyhing else that I make for the first time…I would steam first 2 or 3 baby puto and adjust taste and color as I go along taking down notes until I am happy with the final product….so you don’t waste a full batch or half a batch….and end up consuming mega calories by the end of the day!

  47. ….and while you have the steamer going, Jun, make some cuchinta for her…just make sure you use the Pinoy lihia and when you measure the lihia, use a DROP LESS PER TSP….I DON’T fill the measuring tsp. right up to the top!

  48. Thanks betty q for the tips. Will let u know the result. Im sure my wife has to spend more time in the gym after this.

  49. MM, thanks for the info. Connie C,you said it right i bought squids in San Jose Market OMG beautiful teeth after you eat it..LoL! Malapit na kasi fiesta (Dec 8) that’s why i am preparing my menu….Thanks

  50. Blueberries,due to its purple color, were found to have large amounts of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant that prevents cancer. Wouldn’t it be great if our humble ube had the same effects?

  51. Hi MM, betty q got my task today on ube puto. Its amazing how easy it is to follow your recipe. Great stuff now other than halaya I hv another variation to use my ube.I just need to buy a bigger steamer so that next time I can do more. My wife did your version of pandesal and it came out pretty good too my mother in law likes it so much that she ate 4 pcs. Dinner is great also as I did my own version of express hainanese chicken in 20mins on my saladmaster. My wife, daughter and son was extremely satisfied. what a day to end my long weekend. THanks a LOT!

  52. bettyq: Where is the tibok-tibok recipe? Gosh, on my next ministry mission trip to Pinas, I do not have Olongapo on my agenda. But I think I will add it again, just to eat some of the Pampanga kakanin. I wonder though how they fare with Quezon/Laguna ones. Its just hard to find real homemade products nowadays. Kaya I will really, really try all the recipes you and MM post, and then ask my volunteer staff to do it for me. Sigurado namang masarap – eh galing sa inyo yung recipe eh, di-siempre naman. Thanks ha.

  53. EbbaMyra…as Natie knows, I just love to type!!!…yeah, natie, I have two left hands!!! Anyway, go back to either Michelle’s puto or Flavoured Suman post. It is somewhere in there. You have got to try making it there in Houston. But the essential step …1. make sure you use coconut cream (cacng gata) for the pudding..para lalong mas masarap and no.2 ….after you make the latik from 3 cups of cacang gata, save the oil and add it to the maja once the maja is thickened. This is the last step before you pour the pudding into bilao or moulds and my SECRET INGREDIENT!!!!

  54. if you were to sell these putong ube, i wouldn’t buy it coz the color looks so artificially scary…..so this is how it looks w/o the food color, that means we don’t have to believe what the box says……hehehehhhh…..

  55. i must try this when i get home this december… such ingenuity delights me =)thanks for sharing the recipe and documenting the process, it really helps in digesting your skills MM.

  56. bettyq: found it, thanks, I will really buy the steamer this weekend, and borrow (kung pahiramin) the kudkuran-kabayo from sister. Precious kasi yon dahil sa Nanay ko pa yon, pamana raw sa kanya, ummp, madaya. Hindi ko siya patikim ng Tibok-tibok ko, at saka puto. Heheheh,

  57. I forgot to tell you Ebba…There are soooo many canned Thai coconut cream and milk on the Asian grocery shelves. So I asked my Vietnamese friend who owns a Vietnamese grocery store that if she were to use any of themwhich one would she use…she told ne to go for the SAVOY brand – it comes in a blue can . It is far more richer in taste, creamier and thicker than any Thai canned coconut milk or cream.

    But better still if you can grate your own coconut and get the cacng gata…but you would have to grate ALOOOOOT of coconuts to get at least 7 cups cacang gata….

    Hey, why not ask your sister to grate the coconut if she doesn’t want it to lend it to you telling her you will give her PATIKIM!!!

  58. Oww, I did discovered Savoy brand, even before this post, and yes I like it. Another is a Spanish brand, which primarily uses for Pina Colada; a little sweeter, kaya sa kakanin lang mabuting gamitin.

    As for my sister, hindi na rin niya kayang mag-kayod, ako naman, 1-whole lang, pagod na ang hand ko. So I will settle for the Savoy na lang. Experiment on how to do it, then when I get home to Pinas next summer, I will ask my staff to do it.

    Thanks ha.

  59. hi there MM,

    Ive been reading your blog for quite sometime now and i noticed your love for PUTO. I love kakanins and puto in particular because we literally grew up eating puto. I come from a family of puto makers from Binan, Laguna and it was my lolo who started puto making in early 1900’s (around 1905 as my old relatives say). The kind of puto that we make is made of rice (ground rice) that is been fermented overnight and was made to rise using levadura (natural yeast). Im sure you have tried this moist, fluffy (light) and light brown colored puto in the past.The family puto business did well and was passed on from one uncle/aunt to another and it was one of my uncles who dedicated his time researching and improving the art of making puto in such a way that the Puto our place (Binan Laguna) is known for became synonymous to the Reyes brand. My uncle’s sudden death in the early 80’s caused the family puto making tradition to slow down and stop operation in the early 2000.

    I decided to revive the business in 2005 and did a lot of research about puto making and philippine puto. I even had the same traditional “pugon” made to be sure that we will be able to recreate exaclty the same puto everyone loved.Lucky enough i was able to get ahold of my uncle’s “kanan-kamay’s” wife who knew the puto making process pretty well (my uncle’s assistant is already dead, and for yrs before he died they(with his wife) made puto and taught traditional puto making in the past). We were able to re-create the puto my uncle was making for a yr and have had plans of making gourmet puto and puto ube etc. Yes, i tried almost all of the puto available around including Michelle’s (it was good but tasted too commercial for me)

    Sadly, my puto maker left without any reasons, leaving me behind and the puto production.(Its a long story but all i can say is that its hard to help people and i realized that no matter how much and how hard we try help them, theres no way they ever get satisfied). As one saying says, you give them a hand and they want the whole arm.

    If u wish to learn to make traditional fermented rice cakes (technically speaking its called sourdough rice cakes based on my research) i will be very happy to share with you the recipe and all the secrets. I also have photos i took when we were still in production and would love to share them too. Traditional puto making is a dying trade, even here in Binan. I guess its because fermented rice cake making is a very laborious and tedious process. But it was all worth the effort because the puto is damn good! I ate puto daily when i was still in production and never got sick of it. A lot of people tried engaging in puto production but failed to recreate the taste and texture or simply backed out because of the painstaking process.

    Best Regards.

  60. Rod, thank you for your wonderful comment. I too wish that traditional recipes and methods of cooking such classics as puto are preserved. Finding a proper recipe for a fermented rice puto has eluded me for years. I would love to hear about your recipe if you would be willing to share it… I think puto is one of the hardest things to get right, even though it has so few ingredients… All of the commercial putos have tricks involved, and you can taste them… but since good artisanal versions are hard to find, folks settle for the lesser quality examples…

  61. I would be more than willing to share with you the process and its secrets.

    “I think puto is one of the hardest things to get right, even though it has so few ingredients”.- This is very true, even expert puto makers occasionally make mistakes and end up cooking “bad puto”. The fermented type of puto relies alot on environmental temperature since we use natural yeast (levadura). A lot of balikbayans who are based in the US tried making fermented puto but end up with rock-hard puto because the puto batter do not rise in cold temperature, thus, i would say that fermented rice cakes can be considered as a “tropical puto”. Im revealing the secrets one by one now ;) hehe. Sometimes i feel like wanting to write a book about puto, its varieties, traditions behind it and secret recipes. :)

    Feel free to message or email me and lets cook puto!

  62. Rod…I know too well about the cold weather and as such, anyone who lives up here have learned to improvise and adapt…like simulating a proofer and/or putting things near the furnace where it’s nice and warm! MM, will you be posting this white puto chronicles? I will be anxiously waiting for this if you and Rod decide to do so!!!

  63. Rod, I will be forever indebted to you if you will unravel the secret of puto making. There is a lady here that makes puto like the ones we have in San Fernando, Pampanga or the ones in Pangasinan. They have a bite to it and fluffy made from real galapong. I believe the weather or environment temperature is not a contributory failure factor – puto making can be done in the West. It is doable believe me. All I can say, she uses muffin thin both the small and regular ones because I have seen her evacuating the puto from the tin.. For now she makes them in three different flavors – the regular plain, itlog na maalat and pandan. She sells them for a living so asking her how to make puto is very insensitive and offensive. She is from Nueva Ecija which part of town she hails from that is beyond me. The reason I want to learn puto making, I never know when this lady’s time is up so she could be gone and take the recipe with her. Her kids look like they are not interested in this avenue since they are all doing well in their chosen career. I hope this puto making session will go through and will follow each session with deep interest. Again thanks Rod, BettyQ and MM.

  64. This really brings back so much memories. I think one of the secrets to this traditional puto is the yeast culture they’ve continuously kept. I’ve seen the puto makers have a coconut bao which they never wash. Apparently, this has the yeast on it. My great grand lola had her version of puto pandan but sadly nobody in the next generation was interested enough to take it up. If you’re giving lessons, I’m interested to attend one.

    As for the ube, someone should try this with the ube from Bohol which has a more intense color. Though food color may make it better looking, I still think going natural is better. This idea just popped into my mind a sec ago, how about mixing ube with beets? I think I’ll try this before Christmas and let you know how it went

  65. The fermented rice cakes (puto made out of galapong)owe its fluffyness and texture to the kind of rice use and the quality of levadura/sourdough (natural/wild yeast). The quality of Levadura/Sourdough is the most important factor in the success of traditional puto making.

    Traditional puto making is synonymous to sourdough baking very common in the US up to now and in the olden days when no commercial yeast was available. Im sure you have heard of San Francisco Sourdough Bread. Sourdough baking notably creates better tasting breads and this is also true with puto. Breads baked using sourdough and rice cakes/puto produced using levadura/sourdough has a distinct smell, texture and taste not found in commercially produced ones.

    I can imagine the smell now and it makes me hungry, for a puto lover like me im telling you, its heavenly!!

    The wild yeast present in the levadura/sourdough apparently is sensitive to weather/temperature and acidity of the fermented slurry/galapong..Yes, we deal with acid-base reaction in puto making and puto making has always been an art, but my knowledge of chemistry and microbiology being a biologist by education allowed me to understand the science behind puto making. I have yet to hear successful (with all the desirable quality of the traditional puto we all know) puto making by people based in temperate countries.

    Yes, we try different means to make our galapong slurry to rise during cool/cold months of the year (all traditional puto makers try different tricks to salvage a batch of puto that hasnt risen well or hasnt risen at all, but normally, reviving a batch of puto that hasnt risen bec of a bad levadura/sourdough (caused by temperature and/or acidity) is almost always impossible). Its always heart breaking whenever cooler months come and you end up with bad puto (hard and chewy). Believe me, temperature plays a big role in traditional/fermented puto making.

  66. i decided to read through previous blog entries by Marketman and read this comment by Paolo which is what i was talking about. Just to add, once you have the mother liquor or levadura it can last for months or yrs if you know how to take care of the levadura by feeding it (its the yeast in the mixture that we feed)and making sure that you always have your levadura teeming with wild/natural yeast. Creating the levadura/sourdough/mother liquor takes at least a week or longer (more or less) depending on how you do it. If you know puto makers who cook puto daily, try to buy levadura from them so that you dont need to start from scratch making levadura and wait for a week or so just to be able to cook puto.

    “paolo says:

    Maria Clara, You just wrote the “hidden gem” in puto making. The LEVADURA or the MOTHER YEAST which my mom calls Mother Liquor, added to the new batch and given time (a couple of hours) to ferment before the steaming process.

    My guess is, one needs a week of fermenting the rice flour mixture to obtaining the LEVADURA. I suppose, the process is similar to SOUR DOUGH recipes.

    Filipino ingenuity or something passed on from generation to generation?

    Worth a try for the Die Hard puto makers.”

  67. Thanks Rod. I can imagine how finicky these yeasts are as I’ve worked with them in school but I haven’t tried this harvesting wild yeasts from the air thing. So I just let galapong sit outside for a week to get some wild yeasts? If it’s too much trouble, I think I’ll start first with using some baking powder or cultured yeasts afterwhich I can graduate to this wild yeast thing :)

  68. Liz, you can harvest yeast just by letting your diluted “galapong” or flour and cover it with muslin cloth or “katsa” stand in the kitchen counter and monitor it daily by checking for bubbles.Bubbling means yeasts are present since air (bubbles) is a product of fermentation. Feeding it with more starch or sugar daily would make the yeasts grow and multiply until you see further or more distinct bubbling which is a sign that your sourdough/levadura is alive and healthy.Aside from the bubbles, you can also monitor the smell, the smell has to be sour and tangy. soon as you notice no sign of bubbling specially during the first few days and the rotten smell which shouldnt be then discard the mixture and create a new one. ratio of flour or galapong should and water is 1:1. For sourdough recipes and preparation, you can search online and use a method whichever suits you. Even sourdough (starter mixture)making is a trial and error process. Patience is the key to doing this. Its all worth the effort once you have created one and you get to cook a great tasting and smelling puto..

  69. Dear MM,

    I have just discovered your website and so far I have been very satisfied with your kitchen tested recipes, with special mention on Putong Ube, Maja Blanca.

    Please do me one big favor – Please ask ms. Betty Q. to post her recipe of Cuchinta (I prefer the rice powder recipe to flour). I have been craving for a good cuchinta here in Dubai, but could not find one that tastes like that from home.


  70. rod of binan: i’ve just read your puto-post, rod. am very thankful for the inputs you shared. maybe we can have a demo-cooking? i live nearby and hope we can make the native puto the olden way… how can i contact you, sir? my email add is cal_child_inc@yahoo.com. god bless!

  71. Hey guys I am new to ube making and I find all your comments very interesting and helpful. It takes off a lot of guesswork. MM congrats for a simple recipe which I am going to try for sure. After all that’s why I happened to land on this site to search for a simple puto ube recipe. If anyone would be kind enough to post a simple cassave ube recipe bless you.

    Thanks everyone



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