Puto pao is a type of steamed mini buns made out of rice and/or all-purpose flour filled with seasoned pork then topped with salted duck eggs, think of it as a cross between siopao and puto. This steamed cake is nearly like a siopao but instead of using a yeast dough this uses an airy batter made of fluffed egg whites with some aid from baking powder.
This Puto pao is a quite new addition in the Philippine cuisine, when I was young I never seen or even just heard about this and just started to become popular sometime in the early 2000’s. Not sure if that’s the case but these assumption was based on my observation when I was still living in Manila. Puto on the other hand has been existing for quite some time, I guess even earlier than the Spanish colonization of the Philippines as the name suggests it. Puto was derived from the Malay word puttu, which means “portioned”. Historically Malay was a common language in the Philippines prior to the Spanish colonization, it was also the language spoken by the aristocracy. From there puto variants started to emerge starting form a humble white rice cake to many versions like puto bungbong, Puto maya, Puto manapla, Puto lanson, Puto flan and this Puto pao to name some.
This recipe have been tried and tested a lot of times like our siopao recipe because both of them are the recipes we use in the ones we sell. Yes we sell these for extra income and its quite a hit with our circle of friends, it’s so popular we have to stop selling the siopao as it takes us the whole weekend to make them due to the tons of orders we get just from the people we know. The puto pao on the other hand is easier to prepare and make hence this is still on sale at this very moment. So if you’re lazy to make this at home and you are craving for some, well you can buy them as long as you are in Auckland.
- 2 cups flour
- 1½ tbsp baking powder
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup fresh milk
- 4 egg whites
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 250g pork shoulder, sliced into small cubes
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1½ cup water
- 2 tsp cornstarch mixed in 2 tbsp water
- 6 cloves garlic
- freshly ground black pepper
- salted duck eggs, sliced
- In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder and ½ cup sugar.
- Pour water and milk, mix until combined and free of lumps.
- On a separate bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Fold egg white mixture into the batter.
- In a pan add oil then sauté garlic.
- Add pork then brown on all sides.
- Add the soy sauce, brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until pork is fork tender.
- Pour diluted constarch then bring heat to high then cook further pulling apart the meat, cook until liquid is reduced to a thick consistency. Turn heat off then set aside to cool down.
- Prepare a steamer, bamboo ones work well if not prepare a muslin cloth with a size bigger than your steamer cover.
- Add water to your steamer then add 1 tbsp vinegar (this prevents your puto to become yellowish in colour). Bring to a boil.
- Slightly grease your puto moulds then fill it halfway with the batter. Add 2 tsp of the filling then top it up with batter to cover the filling. Place a small slice of salted duck egg on top.
- Arrange in your steamer then steam for 15 minutes, place a muslin cloth between the puto and cover to avoid dripping hot water, this will make your puto not to rise properly.
- Remove from heat let it cool, remove from moulds then serve.