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Puto in banana leaf liner
|Place of origin||Philippines|
|Serving temperature||Warm , Hot or Room temperature|
Puto is a kind of steamed rice cake in Philippine cuisine. It is eaten as is or with butter and/or grated fresh coconut or as accompaniment to a number of savory dishes for breakfast (most notably, with dinuguan).
The most common shape used for making puto is round, the exact size of the steamer which is actually named after puto itself in Filipino, putuhan, and can range from 30 cm to 60 cm in diameter and between 2 cm to 5 cm in thickness. These puto steamers are actually rings made of either soldered sheet metal built around a perforated pan or thin strips of bent bamboo enclosing a flat basket slats of split bamboo sticks. The cover is almost always conical to trap the condensing steam and allow it to drip along the perimeter instead of on the steaming cake. To steam puto, a muslin cloth (katsa) is stretched out right on the steamer ring and the prepared rice batter poured directly on it. The alternative method uses banana leaf to line the steamer. These large thick cakes are then sold or served sliced into diamond or lozenge shaped individual portions.
Traditional method of preparing puto takes time although most of it involves inactive waiting and resting periods. The process spans three to four days from initial soaking of rice to taking the finished product out of the steamer.
Taste and texture 
Properly prepared puto is soft, moist, has fine uniform grain and imparts the slightly yeasty aroma of fermented rice batter overladen with a light whiff of anise seeds. It should be neither sticky nor dry and crumbly. The essential flavor should be of freshly cooked rice, sweetened a bit more if being eaten as stand-alone snack instead of as accompaniment to certain savory dishes. Since most puto as cooked in the Tagalog speaking regions of the Philippines may contain a tiny quantity of wood ash lye and from time to time may be steamed and served on sheets of banana fronds, it is not rare at all for puto aficionados to seek also the subtle flavors of these two last elements in well-made traditional puto.
In the last few decades, a lot of experimentation has been carried out by both home cooks and producers to improve puto’s already general appeal by introducing ever new variations in shape, texture, flavoring and color. It could very well be that deficiencies in the essential flavor and texture of unsatisfactorily made puto resulting from short-cuts and decline in the quality of ingredients used that might have prompted them into trying out new and alien flavors and flavorings such as vanilla or to the tarting up of its immaculate whiteness with garish coloring to mask and compensate for qualities that are sorely missed in imperfectly made puto.
Variations of puto 
Since puto making is one of the most widespread food preparations commonly practiced in the entirety of the Philippines, it is therefore a field fertile for experimentation and actually affords much variations, differentiations and creativity from place to place and even from household to household. It is common knowledge among discerning rice consumers that the best tasting rice is newly harvested rice and if by necessity, only rice from the previous harvest is available, a trick commonly employed to impart the flavor of new crop into aged rice is to throw in a knot of pandan leaves into the pot. Since there seem to be common agreement among puto makers too that aged rice is more suitable for making puto, this farm fresh flavor is therefore absent and it is quite appropriate and even necessary to use water in which pandan leaves have been boiled and steep in to capture, impart and enhance an otherwise perfectly made puto with this desired flavor.
Certain towns of the Philippines most notably, Biñan City, Laguna; Polo (now Valenzuela), Bulacan; Calasiao, Pangasinan and Manapla, Negros Occidental have excelled in the production and marketing of their particular style of puto that these place-names now modify the word puto to designate particular varieties of puto that originated in these towns. These specialized puto are prepared in various sizes ranging from bite-sized morsels to individual cup-sized cakes portioned and steamed in individual molds which in olden times were porcelain bowls that nowadays have all but completely supplanted by plastic.
- Puto bumbong (Malay: putu bambu) - Traditionally made from a special variety of heirloom sticky or glutinous rice called Pirurutong which has a distinctly purple color, soaked in salted water and dried overnight and then poured into bumbong or bamboo tubes and then steamed until done or steam rises out of the bamboo tubes. It is served topped with butter or margarine and shredded coconut mixed with sugar. It is commonly eaten during Christmas season in the Philippines along with bibingka, another type of rice cake.
- Puto Lanson - Puto found in Iloilo which is made of grated cassava, and is foamy when cooked.
- Puto Manapla - A variant of puto that is cooked specifically with Saba banana leaves underneath for the flavor.
- Puto Mamon - A puto mixture that does not include rice but combines egg yolk, salt and sugar. One mixture of milk and water and another of flour are alternately mixed into the yolk mixture. Egg whites are beaten and folded in before the mixture is poured into muffin cups and steamed for 15-20 min.
- Puto Maya - A puto mixture of glutinous violet rice (called tapol) soaked in water, drained and then poured into a steamer to steam for 30 minutes. This rice mixture is then combined with coconut milk, salt, sugar and ginger juice and placed back into the steamer for another 25 to 30 minutes.
- Puto-Pao - A combination of siopao (meat-filled dumpling) and puto. It uses the traditional puto recipe but incorporates a meat filling.
- Puto seco, literally "dry puto" in Spanish, made as a cookie
- Puto Popsicle cake, a culinary delight.
See also 
Lipardo's Puto Seco is a Philippine butter cookie made of cornstarch, all-purpose flour, baking powder, white sugar, powdered milk, egg and butter. The recipe creator, Maria Lourdes V. Lipardo-Ayub a.k.a. Mariam Ayub, named her puto seco recipe using her maiden surname Lipardo. Maria Lourdes V. Lipardo-Ayub is a Filipino author. Lipardo's Puto Seco is a popular recipe online from Allrecipes.com.
- "Puto Recipe". Retrieved 2008-08-26.
- Alvin Elchico, Gracie Rutao and JV Dizon (2010-12-24). "Filipinos go for ham, bibingka for Christmas". http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- "Dreaming of Rice Cakes". Retrieved 2009-03-21.
- Micky Fenix (May 31, 2007). "Dreaming of rice cakes". Philippine Daily Inquirer - Lifestyle section. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
- Cordero-Fernando, Gilda; Baldemor, Manuel D. (1992). Philippine food & life: Luzon. Anvil Pub.
- Schlau, Stacey; Bergmann, Emilie L. (2007). Approaches to teaching the works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Modern Language Association of America.
- Puto Cheese Recipe
- Puto Recipes
- Authentic Filipino Food Recipes
- Enliven Christmas with Puto Bumbong and Bibingka
- Easy White Puto Recipe