Puto pao

Filipino food is bonkers. This is the country that gives us macaroni in desserts and considers a cocktail cherry to be the height of sophistication in a fruit salad. Meals have no boundaries in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner, and this is how we end up with a corned beef and cheese dessert made with fermented rice. Yes, really.

Puto is traditionally made by fermenting rice overnight and then grinding it into a dough known as ‘galapong.’ This is then steamed in portions with a multitude of different fillings. In the Philippines, puto is served as breakfast or dessert, regardless of what it in it. If you ever wanted cheesy beef for afters, then now its your chance.

Puto pao

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By Ann Marie Eastmond Serves: 12
Cooking Time: 25 mins


  • 1x 200g pack White King puto mix
  • 200g canned corned beef
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 handful cheese (e.g. Cheddar), grated
  • Butter to grease



Grease some muffin or barquette moulds with butter. Put a bamboo steamer over water in a wok and heat.


Heat the corned beef in a small frying pan and cook until all the liquid is gone.


In a mixing bowl, blend the puto mix with 250ml water. Add the sugar and oil and mix until completely smooth. Portion half of the mixture between the moulds, add a spoon of corned beef to each mould, and then fill up each mould with the rest of the batter,


Place the moulds in the steamer and cook for 25 mins. The puto are coked when the surface is shiny and will bounce back when lightly pressed.


Once done, brush with some melted butter, and sprinkle over the cheese. Put the steamer lid back on and cook until the cheese has just melted.


Allow the puto pao to cool slightly before turning out. Serve slightly warm. Puto can be refrigerated overnight and gently warmed in a steamer or microwave to serve.

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