How to make Kutsinta

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I have already shared some of my Favorite native Filipino dishes here on the blog. Then I thought that it is now the time to share my favorite snack I enjoyed as breakfast during my childhood in the Philippines. My parents and Lola would usually buy these for breakfast and snacks after school for my sibling and me to share. Kutsinta or Cuchinta is one of the popular Filipino sticky rice cakes, reddish-brown in color, made from flour, and served with shredded coconut.

How to make Kutsinta

Making Kutsinta is very easy. Just be careful in putting the lye water; too much and too little can ruin this great dessert’s chewiness. This is a tested recipe, and 1 teaspoon of lye water is the perfect amount for the rest of my ingredients.

Why use Lye Water (Lihiya)

Lye water is colorless and odorless strong alkali solution and an essential ingredient for some dessert cuisines in the Philippines. I used Lihiya in making Kutsinta; it is what gives color and chewy consistency to my Kutsinta, Pichi-pichi, and Suman sa Lihiya. Lye water is now commonly available in most Asian stores also here in Denmark.

How to make Kutsinta

Be careful about the amount of lye water you put in. If you put too much, your kutsinta will have a bitter taste. And it cannot be directly eaten because, in large amounts, it can be poisonous.

I don’t have Lye water

There are several approaches to make substitutes for lye water used in Kutsinta. But the one below is the most common substitute for lye water.

Baked Baking Soda: Bake 1/2 cup baking soda on a lined baking tray at 120 degrees Celcius (248F) for around 1 hour to turn into stronger alkali. Let it cool and transfer in an airtight container, now you are ready to make Kutsinta. Please do not touch it during the process to prevent skin irritation.

If you don’t have Lye water and want to make 12 pieces of Kutsinta, you can add 1/4 tsp baking soda to your Kutsinta mixture.

All-purpose flour and Tapioca (cassava) flour

I used the mixture of all-purpose and tapioca flour when making Kutsinta because I liked my sticky rice cake to be a little bit firmer and chewier. I also used tapioca flour because it makes the surface of my Kutsinta shiny and smooth.

But if you want a softer rice cake, you can substitute it with glutinous rice flour and rice flour mixture. It changes the Kutsinta texture, and honestly, it is really up to you what you prefer.

Red liquid food color

Traditionally, we use Annato or achuete to color our Kutsinta. But here, abroad, I usually used red natural food coloring. But if you have annatto powder or achuete, make sure you mix this with water first, then add the water into the flour mixture.

How to make Kutsinta

The molds that I used for Kutsinta are from the Philippines, it’s medium-size, and they are plastic.

Quick notes and tips

  • If you want a little bit firmer and chewier Kutsinta, use all-purpose flour and tapioca (cassava) flour. If you want a softer Kutsinta, you can use glutinous rice flour and rice flour mixture. It is up to you what you prefer.
  • You can use annatto powder (or achuete) to color your Kutsinta or red liquid food color.
  • Be careful about the amount of lye water you put in. If you put too much, your kutsinta will have a bitter taste.
  • If you don’t have lye water, you can use baked baking soda. Please visit my site for the procedure.
  • It would be best if you oiled the molds to remove the Kutsinta after cooling easily.
  • Cover the steamer lid with a clean kitchen towel to prevent water from dripping onto your Kutsinta.
  • If you need to refrigerate leftovers, make sure you re-heat either steam or microwave them before servings, as they are gonna be tough when refrigerated.

If you wanted to make Kutsinta in your very own kitchen for you and your family to enjoy, check and follow the basic recipe below. 😊

Please refer to my page – Common Baking and Cooking Conversions if you’re using other baking measurements.

If you have tried this recipe or any other recipe on my blog, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below. I love hearing from you! 😊

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You will need:

  • 110 grams (approx. 1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 355 grams (1 1/2 cups) water
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) lye water (lihiya) *see Notes
  • 70 grams (approx. 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 65 grams (approx. 1/2 cup) tapioca or cassava flour
  • 3 drops of red food color (or achuete)
  • vegetable oil, for greasing the kutsinta molds
  • freshly grated coconut, for dipping *see Notes

Procedure (video):

  1. Boil some water, then melt the brown sugar in hot water. Add the lye water.
  2. Sift and add the all-purpose flour and tapioca flour, then mix to dissolve flours thoroughly.
  3. Add the red liquid food color and in another bowl, using a fine strainer or colander, strain the kutsinta mixture to remove lumps. If you want to make sure that there are no lumps, you can strain the mixture two or three times. Strain properly to ensure a smooth mixture.
  4. I usually let my Kutsinta mixture sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours. But if you’re in a hurry, you can steam the mixture right away.
  5. Before steaming, grease your puto molds with oil to avoid sticking the mixture to the mold.
  6. Make sure to stir the mixture first before pouring it into prepared molds. Pour the mixture at your molds, about 2 to 3 tbsp.
  7. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel and steam for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes or so before removing it from the mold.
  8. Serve with grated or shredded coconut as a dip. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If there are any kutsinta leftovers and you decided to refrigerate it, make sure to re-heat it for a few minutes so it won’t be that tough (make at) eat.
  • Lye water is a strong alkali solution and an essential ingredient for some dessert cuisines in the Philippines, such as suman sa lihiya, pichi-pichi, and kutsinta. This liquid makes the cake firm and elastic in texture.
  • Be careful about the amount of lye water you put in. If you put too much, your kutsinta will have a bitter taste.
  • Freshly grated coconut is the best dip for Kutsinta but living abroad makes it quite difficult to find them in any store. You can use desiccated coconut, but it is not the same as using freshly grated coconut.
  • It would be best if you oiled the molds to remove the Kutsinta after cooling easily.
  • Cover the steamer lid with a clean kitchen towel to prevent water from dripping onto your Kutsinta.
 

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