Puto – Filipino Steamed Rice Cakes
Adapted from Pinterest: http://hubpages.com/food/philippine-dessert-recipes
Prince passed away three days ago. Like everyone else that admired him, I have been listening to his music non-stop since the heartbreaking news was announced. I always knew he was great and incredibly talented. But it’s times like these, as I listen to song after song that I truly appreciate how much he – along with David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran, and John Lennon – contributed to the soundtrack of my life.
I spent my 7th grade at the Martin Luther King, Jr. middle school in Roxbury, MA. My homeroom teacher told us that we could decorate our homeroom however we wanted. We all brought in posters of our favorite singers. I remember sitting at my desk and seeing Michael Jackson look at me in his yellow vest and matching bow tie. I think I looked at his poster long enough that his outfit inspired me to buy a pair of bright yellow pants from The Limited – with a matching yellow sweater, of course. In that outfit, I looked more like a human banana than MJ, but whatever.
My contribution was a poster of Madonna. It was from her Lucky Star video and she was wearing a gazillion black rubber bracelets.
The back wall, which had the most space, was mainly dedicated to Prince. The poster that came with the Purple Rain album was up there, along with pages ripped from magazines that had pictures of Prince from the movie. The boys in my homeroom especially liked the pictures of Apollonia.
I wasn’t the happiest girl in the 7th grade and being surrounded by these posters and singing almost every song with my friends from the Purple Rain soundtrack made me forget for a little while that I was miserable.
Take Me with U was my favorite Prince song. Still is to this day. For a thirteen year-old it gave me this sense of freedom because I really did want to escape. Whenever I heard Prince and Apollonia sing, “I don’t care where we go. I don’t care what we do. I don’t care pretty baby – just take me with U,” I would picture a faceless cute boy (there were no cute boys in the 7th grade) taking me by the hand and us driving off to amazing adventures with the wind blowing through my hair as I sang the song.
That image stayed with me throughout high school too. But I still had to dream about it.
Then in the summer when I was 19 my boyfriend at the time picked me up in his green Volvo station wagon. The windows were down and we were driving on the Jamaicaway in Boston, wind blowing through our hair. Take Me with U came on the radio and I felt like my life was suddenly complete. (We weren’t driving to an exciting location or anything like that. We were probably just going to our favorite Chinese restaurant. But still…)
Five years later my boyfriend and I got married and Jon has taken me on many adventures – and continues to. And whenever he does Take Me with U is playing in my head.
But now Prince is gone and I am so sad.
Hearing Prince sing during the happy times in my life makes his passing two days ago all the more heartbreaking.
Along with music, comfort food always makes me feel a little bit better. Over these past few days, I’ve wanted to have something from my childhood. I thought of puto, which is a Filipino steamed rice cake. It’s great for mirenda, or snack. The puto gets its color from using ube, which is a purple yam and a popular ingredient in Filipino cooking. It’s not so easy to get here in the US though, so I did the next best thing and used food coloring, which is something I don’t usually use. But I considered it a special occasion.
It’s very easy to make and I love that you mix all of the ingredients in one bowl. My mother used to make it for my sisters and me when we were little girls. This isn’t my mother’s recipe, but it is close.
Puto is such a colorful snack to bake and seeing the colors come together will instantly make you happy.
I made mine purple. For Prince. As my way of saying thanks for all the greatness.
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup grated coconut (or coconut flakes)
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- Grease a mini-muffin pan(s).
- In a mixing bowl, sift rice flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar together. Add coconut milk to sifted ingredients and blend well to make a smooth mixture. Mix and blend thoroughly and fill greased muffin pan(s) 2/3 full.
- Place muffin pan(s) in a roasting pan and fill with water to about half of the muffin pan(s). Cover and seal the roasting pan with foil.
- Place in the oven and steam for 30 minutes. Test for doneness. Puto will be done done when toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
- Serve hot topped with grated coconut, or butter.