Pichi-pichi is a Filipino delicacy made of grated cassava and coconut juice. Soft, chewy and coated with grated coconut, this steamed cake is delicious as a snack or dessert.
Filipino cuisine has a wide variety of kakanin and pichi-pichi is probably one of the easiest to make. Its process is as simple as combining all the ingredients in one bowl, steaming the mixture in individual molds, and then coating in grated coconut when cooled.
The hardest part is grating the tubers, but you can save yourself time and sweat by using frozen grated cassava which is available at most Asian supermarkets. Just plan ahead and thaw the package overnight and you’ll have your pitsi-pitsi or other favorite kamoteng kahoy recipes such puto lanson, suman, and cassava cake ready in no time.
Cassava-I used frozen grated cassava in this recipe. If substituting fresh cassava tubers, make sure to finely grate using the small holes of a food grater or a food processor.
Coconut juice-I like the taste of coconut juice, but feel free to use pandan water (read the short how-to below) or plain water and a few drops of pandan extract.
Sugar-you can swap with brown sugar to add a richer color and a hint of molasses flavor.
Salt-this may seem out of place in a sweet dessert but a few dashes will actually help balance flavors
Food-grade Lye water-used in various food processes such as in kutsinta and Chinese mooncakes, this strong alkaline gives the cakes a soft and springy texture. If you prefer not to use lye or don’t have access to it, you can read this article on how to use baked baking soda solution as an alternative.
Grated Coconut-when the pitsi-pitsi has sufficiently cooled, roll in the coconut to fully coat. You can also use shredded cheese for a delicious sweet and salty combination.
Flavor extracts and food coloring-optional but are an easy and fun way to make different pitsi-pitsi varieties.
How to Make Pandan-flavored Water
Rinse a couple of pandan leaves to remove any dirt or grit and tie into a knot.
In a pot over medium heat, bring 2 cups water to a boil.
Add the pandan leaves to the boiling water and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes or until water is fragrant and has turned a light green color.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain and discard the leaves. Use the infused water (1 1/2 cups) in the recipe.