Puto Kutsinta

We spell it “kutsinta,” “kuchinta” or “cuchinta.” However you spell it, it still refers to the same member of the Filipino kakanin family.

Kutsinta is steamed rice cake with a chewy, sticky, jelly-like consistency, a favorite all around snack or merienda among the list of kakanin or native delicacies in the Philippines. It is frequently paired off with puto, or white steamed rice cake.

Its main ingredients are rice flour, brown sugar, all purpose flour, lye water, annatto seed, water and grated coconut.

The kutsinta is enhanced with colors like orange, yellow but most commonly brown to make it more attractive.

Kutsinta is sold in the markets everywhere, usually by packs but there are retailers who sell them individually, too. If there is none nearby, you can make your own kutsinta at home.

Back at our newsroom on Saipan, a regular vendor used to deliver kutsinta and other native delicacies to the office everyday. Kutsinta and other kakanin are also available at the street markets and a few Filipino stores in the island.

Kutsinta is usually topped with a spoonful or two of fresh grated mature coconut meat.  Some even pour a generous amount of latik, or caramelized coconut cream to it for a sweeter variation.

Creative individuals are coming up with more flavors of the kutsinta in addition to the old fashioned recipe. There is ube kutsinta, pandan kutsinta, kutsinta with cheese, and more variations.

Kutsinta is just one of the many native delicacies that are an integral part of the Filipino food culture. Other mouthwatering kakanins like the all-popular biko, puto, sapin-sapin, ginataang bilo-bilo, suman, and more.

The green version pictured above is kind of a kutsinta version displayed at a streetside at Cai Rang market  in Can Tho, about 3 hours by car from Ho Chi Minh or Saigon. Sadly, I didn’t get to taste the Vietnam version because there was so much food to eat I didn’t even know where to start.

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