Kutsinta is a brown (sometimes orange) and sticky cupcake which is made from rice flour, brown sugar, achuete (which is used to add color and flavor), water and a little lye water. It is cooked by steaming and is served with grated coconut. It is a traditional Filipino snack that’s very easy to make, and can be found almost anywhere. Kutsinta is my mom’s favorite and she would always buy dozens of it everytime she goes to the market. She would also make it at home whenever she finds the time. This recipe I’m sharing with you is my mom’s as I remember it. I think the only difference is I used annatto powder instead of achuete juice because I couldn’t find achuete seeds here. The result, however, is basically the same except for the tiny particles of annato powder that settled in the bottom of the kutsinta. So if you can find achuete seeds, soak about 1 Tablespoon of it in 2 Tablespoon of water for about 10 minutes. Get ½ Tablespoon of that juice and add it to the kutsinta mixture instead of the annatto powder.
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp annatto powder
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp lye water*
- 1 cup grated coconut, for topping
- In a bowl, mix rice flour, all purpose flour, sugar and annatto powder until well combined.
- Gradually add water and continue mixing until free of lumps. Add lye water and mix until well combined.
- Pour mixture in molds. Arrange in steamer. Put a cloth under the steamer cover to prevent water from dripping to the kutsinta. Steam for 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool down for about 10 minutes before removing from molds. Serve with grated coconut.
*Lye water is a strong alkali solution (caustic soda) and an essential ingredient for some rice cake cuisines in the Philippines such as suman sa lihiya and kutsinta. This liquid makes the rice cake firm and elastic in texture. It is a common ingredient in Chinese cooking which is used for their noodles and dumplings. Lye is also used to cure and preserve olives, fish (especially in the nordic regions), and seafood like squid. It also gives hard pretzels their characteristic brown color and texture and is also used in bagel making. However, it can also be harmful when swallowed drectly. It can also burn or irritate your skin. So be sure to take precaution when using it, and use the exact measurement. When properly cooked and mixed into the batter, the lye is reduced to a harmless state, and it serves its function of giving the rice cake a good texture and added color.
© 2012, Tina a.k.a. PinayInTexas. All rights reserved.