Puto Maya-A A +A
By Artie Sy
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
TOMORROW is Todos los Santos, Undas, All Saints’ Day. The feast day of Todos los Santos or Undas as locally known, is a public holiday in the Philippines and is celebrated as the Roman Catholic and Anglican feast to honor all Saints, known and unknown. This was moved from its original date in May more than ten centuries ago to offset the pagan autumn festivals held at that time of year, specifically, the pagan Mayday festivals.
All Saints’ Day in the Philippines now revolves around remembering all the dead, when relatives visit the graves of their loved ones in the cemetery to clean and decorate the graves with flowers and remember the dead by lighting candles. Extra public transport is generally laid on in the larger towns, and florists more than double their sales compared with any other time of the year. In Baguio, the flowers and their vendors are the most courted item in the market.
It is a particularly large event in the entire country, where most of the towns and villages of the country enjoy a week of festivities. Most families also take the opportunity to go back to their homes for family reunions, especially if Christmas and New Year would be inopportune.
As with religious festivals and other festivities in the Philippines, there are a number of dishes which are typically seen at this time of year. The most traditional are the KAKANINS, none of them too complicated to make at home, but all of which are on sale in local bakeries.
Originally, going to the cemetery to clean and spruce up the graves was a whole day affair, hence the need for bringing a lunch for the entire family. Traditionally, the dishes prepared had to have staying power and be substantial enough to last the day, while cleaning and painting the area surrounding the plot of your family. The day before kakanins are made. The most simple and traditional are the following, but one can chose the simpler ones.
In Filipino cuisine
• Puto is a steamed rice cake prepared practically all over the country and eaten alone, with butter or butter substitute and/or grated fresh coconut or as accompaniment to a number of savory dishes for breakfast, as morning or afternoon snack and as finger food for gatherings and festivities such as the various pancits and dinuguans.
Properly prepared puto is fluffy, light, soft, chewy, moist, has fine uniform grains and imparts a slightly yeasty aroma of fermented rice batter overlaid with a light whiff of anise seeds.
• Suman is made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, and often steamed in banana leaves.
• Bibingka is a type of rice cake made with rice flour and coconut milk or water and lined with banana leaves. It is traditionally baked using specially made clay ovens and preheated charcoal.
• Espasol is made from rice flour cooked in coconut milk and sweetened coconut strips, dusted with toasted rice flour.
• A common snack or merienda in Filipino culture, Filipinos have created many different kinds of rice cakes. In local language, it is called kakanin, derived from the word kanin, meaning cooked rice. Aside from those mentioned above, examples include kutsinta, biko, palitaw, sinabalo, enkiwar, puto bumbong, binalay, tupig and suman.
A recipe for what is known as Puto Maya. We can’t get simpler than this.
• 2 kilos of malagkit (gluten rice)
• 1 grated young (must be young) coconut
• water for cooking
Cook the malagkit in a thick pan (use the amount of water 1 1/2 to 1 measure of rice) bring to a boil and covered tightly and cook on super low fire for 15 minutes. Be sure that the grains are al tender. When cold, wrap in softened banana leaves, (soften the leaves by passing over a fire).
Grate the young coconut and pack it in a separate container. Pack brown of muscovada sugar. When you serve the rice, pass the grated young coconut and sugar. Have lemonade with ice ready, its healthier the soda pop.
You can augment the packed lunch with dinuguan and puto, you have the choice of so many foods to cook and take. So go ahead, stick to the traditional or go modern and have salads and cake and ice cream. The point is...
REMEMBER THE ONES WHO PASSED WITH LOVE AND ABOVE ALL REME MBER THEM IN YOUR PRAYERS. After that... have fun with the family.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 31, 2012.