Kutsinta (cuchinta) are Filipino steamed sweets made with tapioca flour and brown sugar. Soft, chewy and topped with grated coconut, they make a delicious breakfast, snack, or dessert.
Kutsinta with grated coconut on a large serving dish
I have always been looking for a good kutsinta recipe, but my research and my experiments in the kitchen had been very disappointing. That was until last weekend when my kumare posted on Facebook a picture of the kutsinta she made and how she finally got the recipe right after two years of trial and error.
Flour mixture for kutsinta in a clear glass bowl
A couple of bites of the steamed cakes I made following his method and I had to agree; has really hit the mark! While most of the recipes I’ve come across in the past are made from rice flour, its version uses universal flour and tapioca flour which, along with the addition of lye, produces the soft, chewy texture that I like.
What soda water does in kutsinta
Food soda water is a strongly alkaline solution used in various cooking processes such as salting and cooking. As a key ingredient in the preparation of kutsinta or pichi-pichi as well as in Chinese moon cakes, bagels, pretzels and ramen noodles, increase the pH level of the dough for a richer color and a more elastic texture.
If you’d rather not use soda or don’t have access to it, you can read this article on how to use a baking soda solution as an alternative.
Tips for cooking
- Aksuete is mainly added to intensify the color and you can use more or less depending on the cane sugar you use.
- I use silicone molds for steaming; if you are using tin molds, you may need to lightly grease the inside to make it easier to remove the steamed cakes.
- Steam over low heat to prevent the kutsinta from sinking in the middle.
- They are mini cuchinta; the yield of the recipe depends on the size of the molds you use.
- Be sure to mix the mixture between pours into the molds as the flour tends to settle to the bottom.
How to serve
These steamed rice cakes are traditionally served for breakfast, midday snack, or after meal dessert.
To keep them, transfer them to a container with an airtight lid and put them in the fridge for up to 3 days. For durability, cover with coconut when ready to serve
▢ 1 ½ cup of flour
▢ ½ cup of tapioca flour
▢ 1 ½ cups of dark brown sugar
▢ 3 cups of water
▢ 1 tablespoon of atsuete powder
▢ 1 tablespoon of water lye
- In a bowl, combine the flour, tapioca flour, sugar, and water. Mix well until dissolved and blend is smooth.
- Add atsuete and mix until well dispersed and the desired color is achieved.
- Add the soda water and mix.
- Lightly grease the inside of the molds with melted butter (if using silicone molds, skip this step). Fill the molds about ¾.
- Add water to the steamer and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Steam the kutsinta for about 40-45 minutes or until the mixture is ready. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Gently remove from the molds and serve with grated coconut.
- Move the mixture between one pour and the other in the molds because the flour tends to settle on the bottom.
- Steam over low heat to prevent the kutsinta from sinking into the center.
- Nutritional information calculated at 2 pieces per serving.