Lasang Pinoy 7 theme this month is ALMUSAL… breakfast. Now on its 7th edition hosted by fabulous Joey of 80 Breakfasts.
Did I have a hard time thinking what to prepare? No of course not… I thought of one of my favourites, a breakfast that will take me back to my childhood. My carefree life growing up in a small town of Cebu.
Puto (puto maya in Tagalog) paired with a slice of sweet Cebuano mango and hot chocolate. For the benefit of non Filipino readers, it’s glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk (pretty much like the Thai sticky rice pudding).
See, when I was growing up my mother gave us a chance to taste cereals, oat meals and since we did not own a fridge we had those powdered milk IF I remember well it was either Anchor, Birch Tree or Nido brands.
Milo the chocolate drink was a treat.
We didn’t just have fried rice, dried fish, occasional sausage (another treat) or sometimes freshly caught fish… we lived near the sea and the wives of the local fishermen would walk towards our place early morning, with booming voices… PRESCO ISDA NANG… fresh fish!!!
We even had bread everynow and then with cheese. Processed cheese of course…..
That bread dunked in hot cocoa is heaven.
The bread am talking about is called FRANCISCO. I searched high and low for a recipe but alas no one has one.
I even emailed and text my family in Cebu, still nothing.
I called every Cebuano I know here in Athens… still no recipe.
So what we had for weekends in Cebu? I always wake up last in our household that even my mother would pour cold water on my feet or face just to shake me from my deep slumber. But when she says it would be my turn to buy the puto, believe me, I would get up on time.
I know this meant we would have ripe mango for breakfast too.
We have 2 ladies who sold puto, Nang Josie (2 streets down) who ran a “putuhan” in the morning and a hairdressing salon for the rest of the day
The other lady who was a lot older and who during my mother’s youth was already selling the best puto in town was Nang Bating.
The saying early bird gets the worm is so applicable to these two putuhan. They disappear so fast, so you had buy early morning. There were times I would run or borrow my cousin’s bike just to make it to their little putuhan.
Then dash back home to enjoy the warm puto with my mother’s fresh hot chocolate/sikwate. No breakfast in Cebu is complete without the hot sikwate.
Sikwate is made from tableya, blocks of cocoa powder, made from cacao beans.
To re create this kind of breakfast, I rang up and visited every Cebuano I know here in Athens. I needed a confirmation that our puto has luy a/ ginger.
I am not mistaken indeed as I still have that scent of ginger when Manang Josie nor Manang Bating would their clay pots (huge one that is like a double boiler with wooden fire blazing).
So one friend gave me her basic recipe which I adapted and tweaked to suit my taste.
Cook the rice with coconut milk and sugar.
Don’t forget to add ginger, skinned and sliced.
As soon it cooks transfer to banana leaves and steam for 15 mins.
I shaped the banana leaves into a cone.
Here is what I did.
1)I cut the amount of coconut milk
2) It is so creamy and lessened the sugar just a little bit
3) Instead of cooking the rice with the coconut milk, I cooked the rice into the rice cooker with half the water needed.
4) Then I prepared the coconut milk, adding a bit of ginger then boil it gently.
As soon the rice is half cook, I transfered them to the coconut and mix well
Then scooped them to the banana leaves.( I steamed the banana leaves a bit)
Basically I put them into the steamer to finish the cooking and then to keep them warm.
When I opened the banana leaves, oh my I was transported to my hometown.
Then I took the photos, sent them to my sister in UK, then she said, “can we have that when we come?”
So I did not have the ambiance I was alone.. I shooed Swiss Cheese away.
He could not understand anyway why I would pour hot chocolate over the sticky rice and scoop ripe mangoes and add them to the concoction
I needed to be alone to savour it and with closed eyes.. I was a little kid again.
I will be cooking this puto again when my sister arrives in few weeks, at 2am, yes we will have a Filipino breakfast and I would transport her back to her childhood too.