Gaya-gaya Puto Maya!

puto maya kkk 1024x681 Gaya gaya Puto Maya!

Gaya-gaya Puto Maya!

Folks of my circa would remember this– Filipino limericks that kids would shout at play. We teased playmates gaya-gaya putomaya (copycat!) but never knew what putomaya was. On my first ever trip to Davao sometime back, I found out it was neither a puto (steamed rice cake) nor a maya (native brown sparrow)!

I read in a travel magazine that it was a must-try in the city’s wet market more popularly known as the Bangkerohan. The must-accompaniment is the thick hot chocolate, we fondly call tsokolate eh! or chocolate espresso. I loooooooove  tsokolate eh and a good one is a heavenly sip in the morning.

Putomaya is this great energy-giving carbo snack. It can be all white glutinous rice or speckled with the distinct black-purple variety which gives it not only character, but somewhat a nutty flavor. It’s served by molding it with 2 saucers, forming a disk and slipped into a banana leaf sleeve, ready to go. Or you can leisurely eat it with your hot and steaming chocolate drink.

In my last trip, my suki was so generous in teaching me a trick or two in making authentic putomaya. I bought the special glutinous rice nearby and brought home to Manila a couple of kilos.

It somewhat bears a resemblance to biko but as my Mom so correctly pointed it out, the lovely-lovely result is makunat (al dente) and not malata (mushy). In this case–I urge you to copy and make this recipe, and this time being gaya-gaya puto maya (a copy cat)n is a good thing!


  • 4 cups white glutinous rice (soaked overnight)
  • 1/4 cup purple glutinous rice (soaked overnight)- OPTIONAL
  • Coconut cream form 2-3 coconuts, first press only
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • pinch of salt

Tip number 1: It is so critical to soak your glutinous rice overnight.

Step number 2 which is also tip number 2: Steam your rice. Line your steamer with a cheesecloth and cook your rice here for about 1 hour. It should be cooked al dente. If not, cook for about 30 minutes more.

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While the rice is in the steamer, squeeze out all the creamy goodness of your coconut at the first press. This is also called “kakang gata”. Mix in 3/4 c sugar and stir till the sugar is dissolved. I don’t put much sugar because I find that the coconut has its own sweetness.Add the pinch of salt last.

In a big bowl, while the rice is hot, slowly pour in the coconut cream-sugar mixture and keep stirring. You will get a whiff of delicious fragrance from the coconut and rice. Stir until the mixture is absorbed. This is tip number 3: the result is a more fragrant and glossy mixture that is easy to handle and yet the al dente, firm to the bite is still there.

Put it back in the cheese cloth and steam for another 30 minutes. Not only will you cook the coconut through, the flavors I believe get to seep into every bit of grain of rice. Serve warm.

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© 2012, Kitchen Kitchie Koo. All rights reserved.