- Updated as of April 29, 2023 by Ziggy Naguiat.
What is Puto Bigas?
Puto bigas, or putong bigas, is a popular Filipino merienda dish that is traditionally made with galapong, or fermented sticky rice. It is a rice cake that’s cooked in a steamer until it’s soft and fluffy. This puto bigas recipe uses plain rice flour, which is a great substitute for when you can’t get galapong! Alternatively, you can also use all-purpose flour instead of rice flour, but the texture will be slightly different.
If you can’t find rice flour, you can prepare the rice in the old-fashioned way: soaked overnight in water and then liquify the softened rice and the water in the blender to start the batter.
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How to Serve Puto Bigas
You can serve puto bigas by itself cold, or warmed with some melted butter on top. It’s super tasty dunked in hot tsokolate de batirol or coffee. Most commonly, it’s served as a side dish to savory dishes like dinuguan, where you dip the puto into the sauce as you eat the blood stew.
How to Make Puto Bigas
Puto bigas is easy to make. Just mix all the ingredients together and let the mix rest overnight. When ready to cook, prepare the steamer by filling it up with water and getting it to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce it to medium. Meanwhile, greae some puto molds and fill them up with batter. Add to the steamer, and steam them until the puto have fully risen, fluffy and white.
Tips to Make the Best Puto Bigas
1 Mix the ingredients thoroughly and allow it to rest with enough time before cooking
Good puto bigas have a consistent grain and mouthfeel, so as much as possible the batter has to be fully mixed through. Allowing the batter to rest lets gluten relax so it won’t be tough once it cooks in the steamer.
2 Use toasted banana leaves as liners for the puto mold
Using banana leaves adds a nice scent and mild flavor to the cooked puto once they are done. Grease them with a little butter or oil so the puto won’t stick as much to the leaves.
3 Add some cheese or salted eggs as toppings right before steaming
These not only add color to the usually white puto, but flavor as well! The saltiness of the cheese and the salted eggs are a nice contrast to the puto’s sweetness. You can also add grated cheese or coconut instead when you serve the puto.
4 Use brown sugar instead of white for variance in flavor and color.
Using natural brown sugar and muscovado will add a nice caramel taste to the puto’s flavor profile, as well as imparting an appetizing brown color to it!
5 Leave the steamer alone!
Let it do its job while the puto cooks. Opening up the steamer to check on your fluffy babies is tempting, but this will cause the cooker to lose heat, and possibly make the puto unevenly cooked. Do something else while you wait, like look up more puto recipes!
How to Store Puto Bigas
1 As much as possible, fresh puto should be eaten right away.
Storing puto bigas in the refrigerator will cause it to dry out quickly in a few days. If stored in a refrigerator, the puto can be restored by steaming it again, but it won’t be as good as fresh.
2 Freezing the puto, however, works like a charm.
Freezing, unlike refrigerating, works because doing so locks in the moisture before it has time to dry out. You can keep puto this way for a few months, and they can be easily reheated in a steamer again with the same quality, or for a few seconds in a microwave.