I would have said "Putong Puti" on the title, but because I used several flavorings to come up with bite-size puto to bring tomorrow to my SIL's for Easter celebration, these mini-puto have pastel colors,and will be the right way to Filipinize Easter, I would say!
I used rice flour (to save time), and added coconut milk instead of plain water just because I love the flavor imparted by it. I also added fresh pandan leaves to the boiling water for additional flavor.
My kids liked them, tasting each and seeing which flavor they liked best. Hubby was likewise delighted.
I also experimented with using additional tapioca starch (added 1 tsp to 1 tbsp to one of the 4 colors) to see whether it would help prevent the "eruption"; I also tried to lessen the heat as soon as I placed the bamboo steamer, so as not to make "gulat" and create that erupted look. Not that I don't like the erupted top; I was just wondering how some puto vendors manage not to have any on theirs. These seem effective, and tapioca subtly changes the consistency to make it a little bit chewier (almost rubber-like, but not tough, whereas pure rice would result to a more crumbly texture, especially if batter is not thin enough, or if rice did not soak long enough).
I will have to make special mention of MaMely of PinoyAmericanRecipes for the puto molds and the wonderful Pinoy flavorings she sent to me. Thanks, MaMely!
1 package (16 oz or 1 lb) rice flour (regular, red writings on package)
1-1/2 cup water
1 can (14 oz or 13.5 oz) premium coconut milk (unsweetened, first pressing)
1-1/2 cup sugar
a dash or two of salt
1 tbsp baking powder
few drops of McCormick flavorings (langka, ube, pandan)
tapioca starch (1 tbsp for the whole batch, or 1 tsp for each after dividing)
pandan leaves for the boiling water
Next morning, add everything else except flavorings and mix very well until smooth. Batter will be very very thin. Do not be tempted to add any more flour.
Prepare water for steaming. Add pandan leaves if desired.
Divide batter into 4. Add a few drops of the flavorings to 3, leaving one white, so you end up with 4 different colors. You may add tapioca (1 tsp each) to each of these, or try one with tapioca and see if you like the result. If you don't, leave the rest alone.
Lay the puto molds on top of cloth lining as shown (I use the ones in the photo below; I bought it from Walmart, where the housekeeping/building stuff are). Pour the batter almost to the brim of the molds. When water is briskly boiling, steam the puto and time for 10 minutes for these bite-size puto (muffin size will probably take 15-20 minutes). If using metal pan, line the lid also with dry cloth to absorb moisture and prevent condensation. Do not steam the puto too long that the excess moisture gets absorbed by the cooked puto that might result to sogginess. In trying to figure out the right steaming time for your size of puto, try a few, steam for about 10 minutes, try it (or break in half to see the middle), before you proceed with the rest of the batter.
Once done, remove right away from the mold and cool on wire rack so excess moisture evaporates. These puto molds easily releases the puto; I just had to slip the tip of a toothpick at one side, the gently pull it out and drop onto the cooling rack. Store (what you will not eat right away) in airtight container when cooled completely.