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Steamed rice flour cakes (puto) with papaya compote

Here is a family recipe of steamed rice flour cakes with papaya compote that brings a shaft of tropical sunshine and aromatic sweetness to British tea time.


For the papaya compote

2 ripe papayas, deseeded, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes (about 400g)
75g molasses sugar (we like Billington’s)
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground mixed spice
50ml orange juice

For the rice flour cakes

300g rice flour
1 medium free-range egg
400ml tin coconut milk
80g unrefined caster sugar
1½ tbsp rosewater
Small drop of pink food colouring
1 tbsp baking powder
Desiccated coconut to scatter

You will also need

A large steamer
About 15 silicone cupcake cases


Put all the compote ingredients into a medium pan and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring, for around 20 minutes, being careful not to let it catch on the bottom of the pan. Leave the compote to cool, then pour into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge (see tip). 

For the rice flour cakes, mix all the ingredients, apart from the desiccated coconut, together in a large bowl to form a thick batter.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then place the steamer over it. Put the cupcake cases into the steamer (in batches, if need be), then fill each one two-thirds full with batter (my ice-cream scoop is the perfect measure). Scatter with

desiccated coconut, then put the lid on and steam for 20 minutes until the cakes are firm to the touch. Remove and repeat with the remaining cases/batter.

Serve the puto warm with the papaya compote

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