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Puto at Kutsinta, saan nagsimula?

Kutsinta is a traditional Filipino rice cake often paired with shaved coconut.
Cuchinta: Origin and Benefits
By: Mary Joy Dellota
Posted on October 27, 2014 by Juan's Kakanin


Kutsinta or cuchinta is a steamed rice cake made from ground rice, sugar and lye. The latter, according to Fernandez, gives kutsinta its light brown (almost muddy orange) color as well as its opaque, “jelly-like texture.”Sta. Maria refers to it as “a steamed rice pudding.” Kutsinta is usually sold in packs and served with grated coconut. Modern kutsinta are served thickly sliced and topped with latik and langka.

The ingredients are same as suman and puto so it must exist alongside these rice cakes though it could be a later concoction. However, the etymology of the word remains sticky. The word and spelling is mysteriously missing from my trusty first edition UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino.

While American kids grew up on peanut butter and jelly, their Filipino counterparts had puto and kutsinta. Much like the puto, kutsinta is also made with ground rice and sugar, with the addition of lye (sodium hydroxide) to give it its distinct muddy yellow color and jelly-like texture. Usually sold in packs alongside mounds of puto, the kutsinta is normally served topped with grated coconut.

The kutsinta was thought to have sprung up at the same time as its pasty counterpart, but the origins of its name remain a mystery. It has been theorized, however, that its name might have a connection to an obsolete piece of kitchen equipment responsible for its flattened, saucer-like shape. Unfortunately, the name of the said instrument has also been lost to history.

Kutsinta or Cuchinta is one of the popular Filipino sticky rice cakes, reddish-brown in color, made from rice flour and served with shredded coconut.

It is made from a mixture of rice flour, brown sugar and lye, enhanced with yellow food coloring or annatto extract, and steamed in small ramekins. The cooked cakes are topped with fresh grated meat from mature coconut. It is consumed year-round as a merienda or snack, and is frequently sold along with puto. Unlike its counterpart, which has a doughy texture, kutsina has a jelly-like, chewy consistency. It can be also enhanced by adding latik for a sweet and more delectable taste of the kutchinta .


History

Kutchinta is an all-time favorite Filipino snack or breakfast food originally made from rice flour, sugar, lye water, and achuete (annato) seeds for coloring, served with grated fresh coconut.

The word ‘Kutsinta’ comes from the Chinese word ‘Kueh Tsin Tao’. The word ‘Kush’ in Hokkien language means a little cake or cookie for snack, more often steamed than baked. Hokkien originated from a dialect in Southern Fujian, China where most of our early Chinese ancestors came from.

The earliest date known for direct Chinese trade with the Philippines was around the 9th century (at the turn of the Sung and Tang dynasty). Since then kutsinta in its early form has been around. Serving it with grated coconut is a Filipino adaptation later on.

Another Chinese snack that the Chinese merchants introduced at that time was ‘kueh putu’ (steamed rice cake) which later became our favorite ‘puto’. Thus, we have the popular ‘puto-kutsinta’ snacks served together.  Ancient trade with the Chinese was always carried out wholesale with incredibly low price. None of the trading ships came with the aim to conquer or declare.

Health benefits

Like many grains, sticky rice is low in fat, according to DietFacts.com. The website notes that sticky rice contains just 0.33 grams of fat per cup. Although fat is high in calories and sometimes suggested to be a driving force in obesity, it is an essential nutrient. The National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health explain that dietary fat promotes proper growth and helps your body absorb vitamins.

Sticky rice contains 3.5 grams of protein per 1-cup serving. This is about 8 percent of the 46 grams of protein women need each day. Protein is an essential nutrient because it is involved in the structure of your skin, muscles and other bodily tissues. The main source of calories in sticky rice is carbohydrates.

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