Kutsinta or kuchinta is an orange brownish sticky jelly textured rice cake made from a mix of rice flour (sometimes mixed with all-purpose flour), sugar and lye water served with freshly grated coconuts. This rice cake is one of the most popular rice cakes in the Philippines and every morning almost all Filipinos have a chance of having one of this, the walking street vendors that strolls in the streets early morning on villages with their hand horn tirelessly sell these on a daily basis alongside puto.
Kutsinta comes from the Chinese word ‘Kueh Tsin Tao’ where ‘Kueh’ in Hokkien language means a cake, bite-sized snack or dessert foods. If you are Malaysian, Singaporean or Indonesian I guess you can relate as Kueh or Kuih are these various rice cakes popular within the region. It was believed that the Hokkien Chinese brought this over to Philippines during the 9th century when the Chinese started trading with the Philippines. Coconut was added later on as a Filipino adaptation to give it more flavour and texture.
Back home we barely make them as they are available almost every day right at your doorstep, it is also so affordable so there was no point making them at home. Today I live outside of the Philippines so making them is our only option, luckily this is also one of the easiest rice cakes to make.
- In a bowl sift together rice flour, flour and brown sugar.
- Add water gradually until mixture is free of lumps and smooth.
- Combine hot water and annatto powder, mix well until free of lumps then combine it into the flour mixture together with lye water. Mix until colour is even.
- Pour mixture in individual lightly greased moulds then steam for 45 minutes or until cooked and firm.
- Remove from moulds then serve topped with freshly grated coconuts.