Easy Puto Pao Using Hotcake Mix: The Perfect Blend of Sweet and Savory in Filipino Snacking

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Hello fellow parents and foodies! This gal April is back with another recipe to help make merienda time a breeze. As we all know, keeping everyone satisfied after a long day can be no picnic. But have no fear – I’m here with a twist on a Filipino street food favorite that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Now I know putting store bought bread on the table is as easy as toast. But sometimes the kiddos want something a little more exciting. And let’s be real – we parents could all use a break from the daily bread basket too! That’s where puto pao comes in. These traditional Filipino rice cakes stuffed with ground meat offer protein, carbs and all the comforts of a hearty handheld meal.

The classic puto pao recipe calls for steam cooking the rice flour which, don’t get me wrong, adds an incredible layer of flavor and texture. But it can be tedious prepping when you’re yawning at the kitchen counter. Thankfully, enterprising food brands like Maya have come to the rescue with convenience products like their Quick & Easy Hotcake Mix. This pancake mix lets you whip up puto pao in a jiffy right in your trusty steamer basket.

What is Puto Pao

Puto Pao takes the beloved Filipino steamed rice cake, puto, and gives it an exciting twist by incorporating a savory filling, much like its Chinese counterpart, bao or even Siopao. This fusion creates a delightful snack that’s both sweet and savory, offering the best of both worlds in every bite.

Perfect for merienda (afternoon snack) or as a party appetizer, Puto Pao is a crowd-pleaser that’s as fun to make as it is to eat. My aunts are known for bringing these Puto Paos to parties and people are always looking for them.

The Fusion Delight: What Makes Puto Pao Special?

At its core, Puto Pao combines the soft, fluffy texture of traditional puto with a heart of savory filling – usually seasoned pork, chicken, or even sweet bean paste for those seeking a vegetarian option. The result is a mini flavor bomb that explodes with taste and texture, making it impossible to stop at just one. What sets Puto Pao apart is its ability to marry the simplicity of steamed cakes with the complexity of filled buns, creating an entirely new experience for the palate.

The Puto Pao Shortcut

Since the Puto Pao is usually a labor of love, I wanted to share an easier way to enjoy this cultural icon using Maya hotcake mix. At first I was skeptical that the hotcake mix could work for something savory like puto, but decided to give it a try. After all, the key ingredients – flour, baking powder – are the same. I figured it was worth a shot to see if I could shortcut the process a bit.

You’ll be surprised how well the mix transformed into a puto dough! Just combine 1 pack of Maya Quick & Easy Mix with 3/4 cup water and stir until blended. No messing with glutinous rice – you’ve got puto batter in minutes!

Easy Puto Pao Using Hotcake Mix: The Perfect Blend of Sweet and Savory in Filipino Snacking 1
  • For the Puto Batter:
    • 1 pack MAYA Quick & Easy Complete Hotcake Mix 200g
    • 3/4 cup water
  • For the Filling:
    • 300 gms ground pork or chicken
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Toppings
    • cheese cubes/slices
    • slices of salted egg (red egg)

How to cook Puto Pao Using Maya Hotcake Mix

  1. Prepare the Filling: Begin by sautéing onion and garlic until they’re soft and fragrant. Add the ground meat, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and water. Cook until the meat is fully done and the sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the Puto Batter: Mix together the hotcake mix and water.
  3. Assemble the Puto Pao: Butter your muffin cups or puto molds. Fill them halfway with the batter. Spoon a bit of the filling into the center of each, then cover with more batter until about three-quarters full. If you’re using cheese and salted egg, place a small slice on top of each.
  4. Steam to Perfection: Arrange the filled molds in a steamer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the puto comes out clean. Make sure there’s a cloth under the steamer’s lid to prevent water from dripping onto the puto.
  5. Serving: Let the Puto Pao cool slightly before unmolding. Serve them warm or at room temperature, and watch them disappear!

The Joy of Sharing Puto Pao

Puto Pao is perfect for sharing, whether as a snack for your family, a unique offering at gatherings, or even as a homemade gift that’s sure to impress. The blend of soft, sweet puto with savory filling makes each bite a delightful surprise!

Now parents, I know finding time to home cook can be next to impossible when life gets messy. But simple, satisfying meals are so important for your family’s health and happiness. With this easy recipe, you can serve a traditional favorite even on manic Mondays. Just whip up the dough ahead of time and fill/steam when you’re ready to eat. No fuss, no stress – just comfort in a steamer basket!

Be sure to let me know if you give puto pao a try. And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter below for more quick weeknight recipes, stress-busting parenting tips and a chance to win cooking gadgets each month. Keep calm and keep cooking, friends!

P.S. For bonus points, serve the puto pao with a hot cocoa!

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