To introduce more about Filipino foods, I have my dear friend Elizabeth Besa Quirino of Asian in America, a Filipina who lives in the US with her Putong Puti recipe. Being an Indonesian, when I hear or read the words “Putong Puti”, I immediately recognize them. Putong or Puto (steamed rice cake) is the Indonesian term for Putu while Puti (white) means Putih in bahasa Indonesia. I asked her what the difference between Putong and Puto. Her explanation, “Puto” is the noun while Putong” becomes an adjective when the “ng” is added. It’s the context. I believe Putu has influenced from South Indian cuisine, Puthu (Steamed Cake).

Living in Winnipeg is making me more aware about similarities Indonesian and Filipino foods. With nearly 37,000 Filipinos in Winnipeg is making them the third largest Filipino community in Canada. About 1 out of 10 Filipinos in Canada call Winnipeg home. Winnipeg is home to the oldest Filipino community in Canada with Filipino immigration to Winnipeg beginning before 1950.

Honestly with so many Filipinos in town, I don’t find it’s hard to cook Indonesian foods.

Please welcome Asian in America with her Putong Puti (Filipino Steamed Rice Cake). Also, find a variety of Filipino Puto and Indonesian Putu at the bottom of this post.

One of the popular snack cakes Filipinos love is called “Puto”, which translates to rice cake. It’s also called “Putong Puti” or white rice cake, a description of what it is. Made simply from white rice that’s been soaked overnight, then ground to a thick batter, it’s the easiest snack to make. Once the “galapong”, rice batter is ready, sugar is added to sweeten and it is steamed on banana leaves for a few minutes. The result is a scrumptious, hearty rice snack, fragrant from the banana leaves that encase it. And if available, a few tablespoons of freshly grated coconut make this rice cake simply superb!

Filipino Steamed Rice Cakes

2 cups rice, soaked
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt

1. Wash the rice. Soak the rice overnight in about 2 cups water.

2. The next day, drain the rice grains. Place in a food processor with about ½ cup of the water used for soaking. Process till rice becomes a fine batter, which is called “galapong”. Repeat twice if needed.

3. You should have 2 cups rice “galapong”. To this, add sugar, salt and baking powder. Blend well.

4. Pour into non-stick tart molds, about two-thirds full. Arrange in a bamboo steamer and steam for 30 minutes or till done. Test “puto” for doneness, with a toothpick. Water under steamer must be boiling briskly.
5. When “puto” is cooked, allow to cool on the counter for 5 minutes. Turn over quickly, and carefully on a platter.

Optional: Serve with freshly grated coconut as topping for the “puto” or rice cake. In the Philippines, grated coconut can be bought at the markets. Or else fresh coconuts are harvested from trees in one’s backyard, and the fresh meat is grated just before using on rice cakes.

Indonesia Eats Notes:
* Filipino Puto Bumbong is similar to Indonesian Putu Bambu; a steamed rice cake is made by steaming it in bamboo pipe and making a very loud and unique sound during the cooking process.

* Filipino Puto Pandan is similar to Indonesian Putu Ayu (Pretty Putu).

* Kerala and Tamil Iddiyappam is similar to Indonesian Putu Mayang and Malaysian Putu Mayam.

There are many different Filipino puto depends on the area and ingredients.


  1. What a great collaboration of cultures we have, Pepy! I ‘m thrilled at the many similarities between Indonesia and the Philippines. And gosh, I’m amazed at your info about the huge Filipino population in Winnipeg. I can just imagine the many available Filipino ingredients in your supermarkets. Thanks for inviting me to guest post, Pepy. What a great honor to share our culture with you, especially during the holidays! Cheers to us!

  2. Great post ! I made this months ago, but I failed. The recipe is slightly different from what I tried. I used coconut milk (now I know why I failed, it was the coconut milk !!). Mine turned out like kue mangkok !! :p

    Thanks to Elizabeth for sharing the recipe.

    • Hi Ray,

      Thank you for liking and visiting my site as well as being Indonesia Eats new follower. Asian in America and Indonesia Eats have been exchanged a great deal conversation about our passion of food so many time through twitter 🙂

      Have a great week!

  3. These rice cakes remind me of some steamed rice cakes my mom used to make for Chinese New Year’s. What kind of rice did you use? It looks like long grain white rice.

  4. Good question on the type of rice. For this Putong Puti, I used regular long grain white rice we had at home, which I used daily for our meals. This is a favorite rice cake among Filipinos because it is affordable, ingredients are easy to find, and though it needs an overnight soaking, the process is quite simple. Steam it, then when you eat, put butter on top and it’s YUMMY!

  5. […] 2. The next day, drain the rice grains. Place in a food processor with about ½ cup of the water used for soaking. Process till rice becomes a fine batter, which is called “galapong”. Repeat twice if needed. 3. Putong Puti | Indonesia Eats […]

  6. The origins of all putto/puttu can be traced to south india where three inche tall steamed rice cakes called putta (steamed with coconut scrapings) are eaten with vegetarian or non-vegetarian gravies but most often with ripe banana, sugar and a little butter all lightly mashed with fingers and eaten. DELICIOUS. Healthier versions are those made with atta (wholemeal flour)


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