Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)

Hello Everyone! So this is kind of unrelated, but related at the same time – I typed puto into Google because I wanted to know the English name for it (well I knew what they were in English, I just needed confirmation). To my surprise, Urban Dictionary was the first result. Puto is a Spanish word used to describe a male prostitute and is sometime’s offensive for homosexuals. In Mexico, the word is used for cowards and traitors. Anyway! Sorry but this post will not be about male prostitutes, but instead, it’ll be of a recipe for a steamed rice cakes. Before I begin, if from this point onwards you see me write put instead of puto, it’s because my laptop automatically autocorrects it to put. I have tendency to just keep typing without going back and reviewing what I’ve written.

Anyway, here’s an interesting fact about puto that I myself did not know until I did some research for this post. Puto is believed to have been derived from from Indian puttu of Tamil origin. These steamed rice cakes are usually eaten as a dessert, but most Filipinos much prefer to have them for breakfast with coffee or hot chocolate, or for a mid-afternoon snack with dinuguan (blood stew). The recipe that I will be sharing today is not, in a sense, the traditional puto you’d find in the Philippines. It is non-traditional because, self-raising flour is used instead of rice flour. Texture wise, it has more bite and is less airy than what I’ve had before. To be very honest, these are the best-tasting putos I’ve ever had and I am glad that I came across this recipe.

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)
the photo above was taken when I made these cakes for a family dinner in Brisbane. The silicone moulds I used here were a bit smaller so I think I was able to make a good 4 dozen mini cakes that time

I actually learnt this recipe from my Mom’s high school friend when we visited her and her family in Melbourne a few months back in early June. She runs her own catering business, together with her mother and sister, and while spending time at hers, I learnt how to make these delicious non-traditional putos. I think I made quite a hefty batch over the two days that they needed to be made, and I missed out on making a hundred of them for a special order because that was the day my family and I left and flew over to Brisbane.

I’ve made these rice cakes numerous times after having learnt from my Mom’s friend. I’ve made them for a family gathering in Brisbane and they were a big hit! I’ve also made them for a few family friends here in Brunei and they too loved it. The last time I made these, which was for this blog post as well, was a big hit when I shared them amongst my friends too. I’m pretty sure that you’ll love these cakes too when you get around to making them. If you for some reason don’t like them, then I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends *cheeky grin*.

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes) Ingredients


*Cooking time depends on how big a steamer you have. Mine is quite small and therefore I had to work in 3 batches to steam all cakes for this recipe.

**Serving size depends on the size of the moulds that you use – as stated above, when I used smaller moulds, I could easily get about twice the serving size from the bigger moulds that I used for this recipe post


  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup fresh milk
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3-4 pcs sliced cheese, cut into thin strips
  • 3 large free range eggs, well beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter (I used olive butter)
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Prepare your steamer by wrapping the lid with cloth and tie it in place around the handles. This will catch the water vapours from dripping onto you cakes and prevent them from getting wet and soggy.
  2. Add water to a pot and bring it to a boil.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk it together until combined. Next and in the butter and mayonnaise, and using the whisk, mash it into the flour mixture until moist crumbs form. Next, add in the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
  4. Line your moulds in the steamer and carefully pour the batter into the moulds and top, making an X, with the sliced cheese strips (see photo above).
  5. Carefully place the steamer over the top of that pot and cover with the cloth-wrapped lid. Steam for about 20 minutes.
  6. Once done, remove the steamer from the pot and place on a heat-proof surface. Remove the cooked rice cakes and repeat steps 4-6 for a fresh batch (because my steamer is quite small, I had to do three batches altogether).
  7. Leave the cakes in their moulds aside until they have cooled down slightly. Once they are quite cool, they will easily pop out from their moulds.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm – either for breakfast, dessert, or an afternoon snack. Share and enjoy!

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)


– Ally xx



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