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Puto Maya And Sikwate

Puto Maya or Sticky Rice Cake is a traditional dish from my region (Cebu). It’s normally served in banana leaves shaped like triangles. The fresh texture of the grated ginger and the creaminess of the coconut milk with the sticky rice is amazing. My mother used to buy this for me when I was a child. It brings back so many memories. Paired with Sikwate or Filipino hot chocolate is a fun Filipino Breakfast treat. Normally Sikwate is made with Tableya which means literally tablets of cacao. The cocoa beans are dried, roasted, milled, and then formed by hand into tablets. Since I didn’t have any Tableya I improvised. I really hope you enjoy this Cebuano/Bisaya traditional dish. I know I did.

Puto Maya And Sikwate Recipe


  • ½ cup black glutinous rice, soaked overnight
  • 2-3 gallons of tap water (at room temperature), for boiling
  • 1 ½ cup white glutinous rice
  • 1-2 tsp ginger root, freshly grated
  • ½ cup drinking water (mix with the glutinous rice + another ½ cup as needed)
  • 1-2 round perforated parchment paper
  • 10-12 (10” Lx4” W) sheets of Banana Leaves + wider sheets for lining (optional)

Coconut Milk Mixture

Hot Cocoa or Sikwate

  • 2 cups drinking water (at room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 2 tsp Brown Sugar (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ tsp coconut oil or shavings from hardened oil (adjust to taste)

Item’s you’ll need

  • Steamer
  • Perforated parchment paper
  • Deep large pot
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups, bowls, and spoons
  • Wooden or rubber spatula
  • Banana Leaves (optional)
  • Small saucepan
  • Spoon and Fork
  • Cutting board and knives


Soak the Black Glutinous Rice

Black Glutinous rice being soaked for puto maya recipe

Put the black glutinous rice in a small bowl. Rinse 3-5 times until the water is clear. Soak in water and let it sit on your kitchen counter overnight.

Undercook the Glutinous Rice

placing water in a pot to steam rice for puto maya recipe

The following day, boil some water in a deep pot over high heat. Make sure the steamer fits on top of it for steaming. Drain and rinse the soaked black glutinous. Mix in the white glutinous rice. Rinse them very well until water runs clear. Drain but leave about ½ cup of the water (do not drain it dry). Add the freshly grated ginger root. Mix well. Transfer into a perforated parchment paper-lined steamer tray (use two perforated parchment paper on top of each other). If using banana leaves, place at least a couple of sheets wide enough to cover the bottom of the steamer tray. If the steamer tray is small, it’s best to divide the rice mixture into two and put them into separate steamer trays. Place them on top of the pot with boiling water. Steam over high heat for 45 minutes to an hour or until they are undercooked.

Make the Coconut Milk Mixture

adding coconut milk to bowl for puto maya recipe

In the meantime, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Mix well until well blended. Then set aside

Mix in the Coconut Milk Mixture

Mixing coconut milk with rice for puto maya

After an hour or so, remove the steamer and transfer half-cooked sticky rice into a large mixing bowl. Gradually pour the coconut milk mixture. Mix well. Slowly pour and mix until well combined. Make sure the mixture does not get runny. If using a small steamer, divide it into two separate steamer trays. Steam them again for another hour or so under the sticky rice is cook. After an hour, pour the remaining coconut milk mixture into the sticky rice while steaming. Continue cooking until the sticky rice is cooked through.

Make the Hot Cocoa or Sikwate

Adding cocoa for sikwate recipe

In a small saucepan, boil 2 cups of water over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to medium then add and dissolve the cocoa powder. Add some sugar to your desired amount. Mix well. Simmer for another 2 minutes and turn the heat to low. Add a little bit of coconut oil to have that inviting texture. Cover and keep it warm until ready to use.

Clean and Wilt the Plantain Banana Leaves

cleaning banana leaves for puto maya recipe

Using a wet paper towel or soft sponge, rinse the banana leaves with soap and water. Then wipe them down with a clean paper towel or kitchen cloth to dry. Pass one leaf at a time over a low flame until wilted and becomes glossy. Put the wilted leaves on a tray and set them aside until ready to use.

Wrap the Rice Cake

folding banana leaves to wrap puto maya rice cakes

Use 4” x 10” L banana leaves. To shape a cone, hold the leaf in the palm of your hand with the smooth side facing you. Fold the thicker end (were closest to the midrib) into half a triangle. Fold it again the second time until a cone shape forms. Adjust the cone to your desired size. Scoop some rice cake and stuff it into the cone. Shape it, fold the top and wrap it around to close. Repeat the process until the rice cake is consumed. Puto Maya or Steamed Rice Cake is best to serve warm with a slice of mango and Hot Cocoa or Sikwate! Enjoy!

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Jocelyn Phillips
Jocelyn Phillips
Jocelyn Phillips

This brings me back to my childhood as well. Very easy to follow along!