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Puto Bumbong (without bamboo tubes)

Puto Bumbong is a traditional Filipino dish that is basically an aromatic purple colored rice cake that’s steamed inside a bamboo tube or in this case a steamer. Puto bumbong is a beloved dish that you can easily find in the holidays especially in Christmas where rows of street vendors sell them outside churches. Where an aromatic smells and freshly made desserts are ready to be consumed after the sermon.

What makes up a Puto bumbong?

Puto Bumbong is well known for being made inside a bamboo shoot that’s referred to a “bumbong ng kawayan” when translated toTagalog. This may be the reason where ‘Puto’ which is a rice based cake  that’s steamed and ‘Bumbong’ got its name. it a traditional dish you eat in the Christmas season found outside churches where street vendors can be seen pressing the rice cake dough inside bamboo shoots and placing them in a puto bumbong steamer, which is then placed on a banana leave as a makeshift platter spread some butter or margarine on top of the steamed purple cake with a side of freshly grated coconut meat or dried coconut meat mixed with some brown sugar, or muscovado sugar. As much as it’s a Christmas season treat, it has a big cultural significance in majority of Catholicism in the Philippines. Aside from being an after church treat and it being eaten as a breakfast dish in the Christmas season. Its associated with Simbang Gabi, a traditional nine day novena or ‘Night Mass” practiced by most Catholics in the Philippines. Daily held within December 16 to the 24thoccurring as early as 3am to 5am with the last day, on Christmas eve having a service called ‘Misa de Gallo’ of ‘Rooster’s Mass’ that plays an important role in Philippine culture,

Puto Bumbong while well known for its vibrant purple color is made out of rice flour and glutinous rice flour colored by ube flavoring or violet food coloring which gives it a subtle taste. The dough that makes up the texture but most of the flavor comes from the grated coconut which gives it a nicely creamy and slightly sweet flavor and the margarine or butter added on top just added a nice sheen extra flavor, the aroma come from the steaming process in the bamboo and banana leaves that has a slightly earthy flavor. While some do the traditional puto bumbong is made with white rice soaked overnight in slated water to give it a bit of an acidic fermented aftertaste, that they would blend themselves and the addition of other flours, placed in bamboo shoots greased with coconut oil. Most of the homemade recipes like the one below use a mixture of glutinous rice flour and rice flour, grated coconut meat, ube flavoring or violet food coloring, some even add condensed milk or coconut milk instead of water, add of these are then mixed to a dough like ball and formed on a banana leaf with the option of adding cheese inside for an extra surprise. This is then steamed in a steamer as most Filipino household do not have bamboo tubes as well as the special steamer used to make Puto Bumbong, this is then unwrapped, to be decorated with butter or margarine, brown sugar and coconut meat, and for a healthier option muscovado sugar.

This Christmas treat while popular in the holidays can be enjoyed anytime of the year especially on days where you want to reminisce on the fun December holidays.

Puto Bumbong (without bamboo tubes)

Course: DessertCuisine: Filipino



a sweet vibrantly colored purple traditional dessert


  • 1 cup glutinous flour

  • 1/3 cup grated coconut meat

  • 1 teaspoon condensed ube flavor (or more)

  • ½ teaspoon violet food color

  • banana leaf for wrapping

  • ½ cup rice flour

  • 1 cup water

  • cheese

  • butter


  • In a bowl, mix the glutinous flour, rice flour, coconut meat, water, condensed ube flavor, violet food color. Mix till it become dough like in consistency.
  • On a foil, sprinkle flour to avoid the dough from sticking. Place the dough and form this into a rectangle. Slice the dough to make it into a log shape.
  • Add cheese in each log. And set aside.
  • Spread butter on a banana leaf. Place the dough In the middle and spread butter over it. Wrap the dough in banana leaf.
  • Prepare a steamer and place a white cloth over the 2nd layer where the dough will be placed. This helps avoid the dough from getting wet. Steam it for 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve topped with shredded coconut, brown sugar, and butter.

Puto Bumbong recipe (tagalog)


  • 1 tasa glutinous flour
  • 1/3 tasa ginadgad na karne ng niyog
  • 1 kutsaritang condensed ube flavor (o mas madami pa)
  • ½ kutsaritang lilang food color
  • dahon ng saging pangbalot
  • ½ tasa rice flour
  • 1 tasa tubig
  • keso
  • mantikilya

Paano lutuin

  1. Sa isang mangkok haluin ang glutinous flour, rice flour, karne ng niyog, tubig, consed ube flavor, lilang food color. Haluin hanggang magmukang masa.
  2. Sa isang foil wisikan ito ng harina para di dumikit ang masa. Ilagay ang masa at I porma ito ng rectanggulo, hatiin ng pahaba para mangmukang torso.
  3. Ilagay ng keso sa gitna ng bawat torso. itabi.
  4. Igrasa ng mantikilya ang dahon ng saging. Ilugar ang masa sa gitna nito at igrasa ang itaas ng mantikilya. Balutin ito ng maiigi ng dahon ng saging.
  5. Ihanda ang steamer atlagyan ng tela ang papatungan ng masa. Kailangan ito para di mabasa ang masa. Isteam ng 15-20 na minuto.
  6. Ihanda na may karne ng niyog, kayumangging asukal, at mantikilya.
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