Hello Everyone! Christmas is in five days! I hope that those who are on holidays right now are enjoying every bit of it and making the most of the festive season. Well, we’ve reached the end of the first week of our 12 days before Christmas! Another 5 more recipes to go until I wrap things up for Amcarmen’s Kitchen – yes, after Christmas, you won’t be hearing from me until the weekend of the first week of January. I’ll be spending the festive season here in Brunei with my family with endless feastings and, of course, getting fat as usual.
Anyway, tonight, I will be sharing with you another recipe that I picked up from my travels with my Mom to Canada back in the Summer of 2007. Pichi-Pichi (pronounced pee-chee pee-chee) is one of the delicious cakes enjoyed by many Filipinos during special occasions such as Noche Buena, but is not limited to just festive celebrations. It is a gelatinous dessert, or even a heavy mid-afternoon snack, made from grated cassava (or locally known to Filipinos as Kamoteng Kahoy) and freshly grated coconut. The mixture is poured into a mould, then steamed until it forms a sticky-gelatinous texture, and finally coated in grated coconut for an extra added flavour.
Cassava (kamoteng kahoy) before and after it is peeled
To prepare the cassava, first wash the root to get rid all the dirt; then, peel off the brown and white silky outer skin. Using a fine grater grate cassava, removing the hard stems in the middle and discard. Keep on grating until you’re done with all your cassava. My Mom and I went to the wet market in the morning to get it grated – much quicker as they have a machine to do it for us, and just for a dollar per kilo grated. Just as an extra precaution, cassava is considered a dangerous food if consumed raw, or it is not prepared properly. The consequences are fatal. If prepared incorrectly, the cassava plant can produce cyanide, a deadly compound when consumed, and if you are allergic to latex rubber, you may want to consider a different dessert (source: Time Magazine). Just make sure that when you are working with cassava, make sure that you prepare it properly!
PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-30 MINS | SERVES 6-8
- 1 & 1/2 cups cassava, grated
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp lye water
- 1/2 tsp pandan extract*
- Freshly grated coconut
- Red, yellow, and green food colouring
*You can use bottled pandan extract, or you can extract your own from pandan leaves. Here’s how you can do it: Place the pandan leaves and water into a blender (1 bunch (12 leaves) to about a half cup of water). Blend until the leaves are chopped very finely. Pour contents through a fine sieve and press against it using a spoon to draw out any extra juice. Discard the leaves. Tip: if you keep the extract in a sealed bottle, you can keep it for up to one week in the fridge. Do not freeze though.
- Add the sugar, pandan extract, and warm water in a large mixing bowl. Mix until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once dissolved, add the grated cassava, together with the lye water, to the sugar mixture and give it a good mix.
- Divide the mixture equally into three moulds. Add a few drops of red food colouring into one of the moulds, then yellow, and green in the remaining two. Mix well until the colour is fully blended into the cassava mixture.
- Cover each mould with foil and place it in your steamer. Steam for about 15 to 20 minutes or until translucent. Once done, remove from the steamer and set aside to cool down.
- Once cooled, cut the pichi-pichi into bite-sized chunks. Coat each chunk with the freshly grated coconut and serve immediately. Share and enjoy!
– Ally xx