Electric Lunchbox #38: Puto (Philippine Steamed Rice Cake)

And another Filipino food! I love Puto – steamed rice cake. I have been trying to get the authentic rice based recipe right to no avail. Rice, sugar, water/coconut milk…a few other ingredients but it’s never right. I got it perfect once but never got to repeat it.

The more modern flour based puto is easier to make and more predictable. So here itbis made for the ELB!

Toppings can be cheese or preserved, salted eggs, but I like to use both when I have them.

Hope you enjoy it!

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*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny Itaki cup, unless specified.*

Mix the following in a small bowl:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

Add in:

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

Pinch of salt

Grease the big bottom bowl or medium top bowl of the ELB. pour mixture in.

Top with the following:

salted egg and/or grated cheese

Cover with foil and add 3 ELB cups water in base. Cover and pet steam until done, about 55 minutes. Carefully open the ELB and insert a skewer to test doneness. If it comes out clean, it’s done. *Add more water and steam a little longer if necessary.*

Brush top with more:

Melted butter

Serve hot. Enjoy!

Banana Bread

I almost always have a couple of bananas that turn brown before we get to eat it. I usually just toss them in the Vitamix or Thermomix to make a smoothie. Or peel and toss them in a baggie in the freezer for later. But every so often I save some bananas on the side to allow them to really get ripe and spotty.

Those bananas end up as this banana bread that is so good I often wonder why I don’t make it more often. The extra ripe bananas make it so fragrant and flavorful. The brown sugar gives it a hint of caramel flavor, while the chocolate chips adds a lot of extra flavor. Feel free to use nuts instead, but I urge you to try it with chocolate chips at least once. 😉

I like to make this in pretty bundt pans, like the one pictured above, so it is ready to serve without any decorating as it’s already beautiful. A light dusting of confectioners sugar is enough if you want to dress it up. I have this bad habit of picking up pretty baking pans so often I still have some that haven’t been used. Need to bake more often! Feel free to use a 13”x9” pan or even muffin tins if you want to! I promise that it will still taste good!

If you have a Thermomix, this comes together in about 3 minutes. If not, a little elbow grease and maybe 10-15 minutes, is all you’ll need. It’s an easy recipe that kids can make with adult supervision when baking. Enjoy!

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar, mix and set aside 5 minutes

2 – 3 bananas, mashed (1 cup)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour a 10 cup bundt pan. (13”x9” pan or muffin cups will work too! Just adjust time.)

In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with brown sugar, milk and vinegar mixture, mashed bananas, oil, and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture and mix until just combined . Fold in chocolate chips (or nuts).

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (13”x9” takes about 30-45 minutes, cupcakes about 18-25 minutes.)

Baozi (steamed buns with pork and cabbage)

This is a familiar dimsum item that is easily prepared at home. Basically a meatball sandwich, it is portable and easy to eat so it is always a good thing to have in the house. You can prepare the whole recipe and freeze extras individually. My son loves this for breakfast and I like that I only have to steam it in the microwave and breakfast is ready! You can use a microwave steamer or just enclose the bun in a wet paper towel – to make clean up easier. We all lead busy lives, I won’t judge! 😊

I like this recipe because the filling tastes like a big ball of Gyoza, but my husband is not crazy for it, so I make it less often than the actual Char Siu buns (called Siopao in the Philippines).


2 recipes Lotus bun dough (recipe link: https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/06/15/lotus-leaf-bread-cua-pao-gua-pao-buns-he-ye-bao/)


1 pound ground pork

1 pound chinese cabbage, shredded

1 carrot, shredded

1 stalk green onions, chopped

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 egg

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

2 teaspoon shaoxing wine

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper


Prepare dough and let rest until doubled.

Prepare filling: brown half of the ground pork in a skillet, drain and cool. Mix with the rest of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

Divide dough into 20-24 balls. Keep dough balls in a covered bowl. Working with one dough at a time, roll out into a circle about 5-6 inches. Then go back and roll the edges thinner.

Place about 2 tablespoons filling in the middle. Pull up edges, fold over into pleats and press to seal. Continue until the filling is enclosed. Twist and pinch tops.

This are the photo illustration for the Philippine steamed bun, but the method is the same for rolling out, filling, and sealing the dough.

Place prepared bao on a piece of parchment paper and place in steamer tray.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover the steamer trays and let rise about an hour.

Remove steamer trays and set aside, covered with a dish cloth.

Heat water in the steamer and bring to a rolling boil. place steamer racks back onto the base and cover.

Red ones are filled with red bean paste as I ran out of filling for the last 2 dough balls. . Red dot was made using red food color.

Steam 20-25 minutes. Turn heat off and let stand for 5 minutes before removing baos to a cooling rack.

Makes 20 – 24 pieces. Feel free to halve the recipe to make less.

Enjoy it hot or cool completely before storing.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are one my favorite breakfasts! I’m pretty sure that I am not alone as every time I go to a bakery in the morning, there is always less cinnamon rolls than muffins and other breakfast goodies. I mean, who can say no to cinnamon rolls?

These rich sweet bread swirled with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon makes any breakfast special. My son and I just love it with a thick slathering of cream cheese frosting. My husband though, he just wants it plain, or with a tiny, tiny dab of frosting, if we insist.

I first made cinnamon rolls when I was about 13 years old and followed a recipe I wrote down from a TV program. I never really baked then so I used a coffee cup for a “cup” measure, a small dessert spoon as a “teaspoon”, and a spoon we used to eat for a “tablespoon”. I was hooked after that and have tried dozens of recipes and a lot of buns sold by famous bakeries wherever I went.

The perfect cinnamon rolls for me has a good bread structure, buttery, just a little sweet. The filling should be generous, and I like it to have raisins in the swirls. The brown sugar/cinnamon/butter mixture should be oozing down the bottom of the bun where it meets perfectly roasted pecan/walnuts. Perfection! Rarely do I find one that checks all the boxes so I usually bake it at home and my son’s eyes always light up when he realizes we are having cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning! My little clone!

Years ago, I would even add chopped apples with the raisins before rolling up the dough and it would taste lovely. You can omit the raisins, or the pecans if you wish but I hope you try it this way once and with a generous coating of the frosting, if I may suggest!


95 grams whole milk

2 large eggs

95 grams sugar

190 grams active starter

355 grams all purpose or bread flour

7 grams salt

100 grams softened butter


1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

20 grams all purpose flour

135 grams dark brown sugar

30 grams butter

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup chopped pecans


50 grams butter

100 grams cream cheese

100 grams powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

30 grams milk

Procedure for the dough:

1. Place the milk, eggs, and sugar in the Thermomix bowl, cover and set to 30 seconds/speed 3.

2. Add starter, flour, and salt and set to Knead/2 minutes.

3. Add butter and Knead 2 minutes more.

4. Transfer dough into a large bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place until double, about 3-4 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare filling:

5. In a medium bowl, mix cinnamon, flour, and sugar. Cut in butter until it resembles crumbs.

6. Grease a 13”x9” pan and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Set aside.

7. Roll out dough to about a 12×15 rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon mixture and evenly spread raisins over it. Roll up from the long end so you’ll have a 15 inch log. Cut the log into 12 1.25 inch rolls. Place on top of the pecans in the prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Or you can leave on the counter until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours and bake).

8. Next day, leave cinnamon rolls on the counter to come to room temperature for about an hour or 2.

9. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake rolls for about 25 minutes, tenting with foil if it browns too fast.

10. Prepare the frosting: In a bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar and beat well. Mix in vanilla and milk to thin out the frosting a little. Beat until fluffy. This has a frosting consistency as I prefer that over a thin drizzle. If you would like a drizzling consistency, add more milk.

11. Cool buns on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan one at a time, invert onto a serving plate and generously frost with cream cheese frosting.


Electric Lunchbox #24: Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

I have been craving a lot of desserts lately and kept testing them out in the Itaki. I think I am not the only one that can devour a dessert meant for several people all by myself. This is where the Itaki comes in handy. Portion Control! Or so I’d like to think, as the desserts I make tend to be enough for 2-3 servings but I still am likely to eat it all, specially the not-too-bad failures during the recipe development and testing phase.

So Itaki bread pudding was made! I added chocolate chips because I had some, but you could add anything you like to have in a bread pudding. Or even omit it completely for a plain version. I added instructions for a cinnamon raisin one below.

Although I miss the golden brown, crispy edges of the baked version, I think this is a pretty good substitute for when you just want a small serving of bread pudding quick and without heating up the oven. I might try using my torch if i have left overs next time.

Serve warm, or cold, as is, or garnished with whipped cream, or go all out and add a scoop of ice cream. Whatever makes you happy! I know I am surely going to be in a good mood after I have my dessert! 😊

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny Itaki cup*

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon melted butter

100 grams (3-4 slices) bread, cut into 1 inch cubes or smaller

1/3 cup chocolate chips

3 Itaki cups water for the base, about 50 minutes

Beat egg in the bottom Itaki bowl (or the medium Itaki Jumbo bowl if you are cooking a full meal). Add milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and butter. Mix well.

Add the bread and stir until all cubes are coated with the milk mixture. Let it absorb for a few minutes. Add chocolate chips and stir again. There should be just a little liquid left in the bottom of the bowl.

Cover with foil and place in the base. Add 3 cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 50 minutes.

Carefully remove from the lunchbox and let cool. You can serve this warm or cold.


Cinnamon Raisin: replace the chocolate chips with raisins. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with the sugar.

Peanut Butter Jelly: replace chocolate chips with peanut butter chips. Serve with a side or drizzle of grape jelly.

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See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/theresa

Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake

Today is my husband’s birthday, and to celebrate it I am baking a cake! Simple but really delicious, I encourage you to try making this cake if you have a pint of blueberries on hand. It’s the perfect pick me up! I am used to blueberry lemon pairings but this blueberry almond tandem is mouthwatering!

I lined my springform pan bottom with a layer of thick aluminum foil, wrapping excess foil up over the sides to prevent leaks. If you have a deep round pan, that will work too!


For the Streusel:

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

⅓ cup chopped almonds

For the Cake:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup almond flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup whole milk

½ cup sour cream

2 cups fresh blueberries, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 10 inch round springform pan with aluminum foil, clip on the rim, and bring the edges up the sides of the pan. Spray with a nonstick spray with flour.
  2. Streusel: In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles crumbs. Add almonds and stir to mix. Set aside.
  3. Cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in extracts.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in sour cream. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1½ cups of blueberries, top with remaining batter and smooth the top. Top with remaining ½ cup blueberries, and sprinkle with streusel.
  5. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of cake to loosen sides. Invert onto a plate, and then invert again onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Sourdough Pancakes

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all the brave serviceman and woman for the freedom we have!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last used my sourdough starter. Last night I thought of serving pancakes for today’s breakfast since it’s Memorial Day and we are all off. I usually want a slow breakfast on days we have nothing planned. I decided to go with a sourdough discard recipe, that way I can have pancakes AND feed my starter too. A well fed starter is a happy one, and to me that means great tasting sourdough bread when I make it!

This pancake recipe needs a cup of sourdough discard so it’s perfect for when you have excess discard on hand. Otherwise, just feed your starter without discarding any of it. When it rises after a few hours, take 1 cup and you can store the remainder in the fridge until needed.

This recipe makes really nice, flavorful, fluffy pancakes that I hope you’ll love as much as my family does!

1 cup sourdough discard

1 1/2 cups milk

1 large egg

2 tablespoon canola oil, plus additional for cooking pancakes

1 teaspoon vanilla, optional

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Place sourdough discard, milk, egg, oil, and vanilla (if using) in a large bowl. Mix well to break up and incorporate the sourdough discard and other liquid ingredients.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Mix until just moistened and no traces of dry flour is visible.

Preheat a 10 – 12 inch skillet or a griddle over medium high heat and spray with non stick spray. Add a little oil or butter to the pan, swirl it around so it evenly coats the pan. Let it heat up for a couple of minutes.

Add about 1/4-1/3 cup batter for each pancake. I can usually fit 2 to 3 in a 12 inch skillet at a time. Let cook until bubbles appear on top and edges seem dry. Turn pancakes over and cook for a minute or two more, until nicely browned. Adjust the heat as needed.

Repeat with remaining batter. Keep cooked pancakes warm until serving.

Serve with softened butter and maple syrup. And/or jam…or sausages and bacon….however you want to enjoy your morning treat!

**In the Philippines, I saw pancakes slathered with softened margarine, sprinkled with sugar, and sometimes doused in evaporated milk. I serve it like that once in a while. Try it, it’s good!**

Makes about 15 4-inch pancakes.

This is how the batter looks like after it is mixed. It still has a few lumps. Do not over mix.
Flip the pancake once it looks like the pancake on the bottom left – it has bubbles on top and edges are dry.
I love pancakes with butter and maple syrup!

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns!

Happy Easter! This year’s Easter is different from previous years in that we cannot go see and celebrate with family. The Coronavirus pandemic has truly changed our everyday lives and I believe when everything goes back to normal we will appreciate all that we have even more. This does not stop us from celebrating though. Although grocery runs and supplies are very limited, I still have everything needed to make Hot Cross Buns in my pantry!

So to celebrate Easter, I am sharing this easy, yummy recipe that I hope you’ll try one day! It is perfect for breakfast, or even an afternoon snack! Feel free to replace the sultanas and apricot jam with whatever you have on hand. I used orange marmalade this time as that is what I have in the fridge. Mixed dried fruits would also work instead of just sultanas or raisins. This recipe can be adapted to whatever you like or have, just like we are adapting to what is happening right now.

Stay safe! Happy Easter! 🐣🐇


250 g whole milk

1 Tbsp dry active yeast

60 g light brown sugar

60 g butter

1 egg

500 g plain flour

1 pinch sea salt

1 tsp mixed spice (allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg)

150 g sultanas


4 Tbsp flour

3 Tbsp water


50 g apricot jam


Place the milk, yeast, and light brown sugar in the mixing bowl.

Warm 2 Min. / 37°C / Speed 2. Add the butter, egg, flour, mixed spice, salt, and sultanas. Knead 3 minutes

*If you don’t have a Thermomix, place the milk, yeast, and brown sugar into a large bowl. Stir at with a wooden spoon. Add the flour, butter, egg, mixed spice, sultanas nd salt (in this order!) and knead until smooth. This process might take up to 10 minutes. Continue with the recipe.

Leave to rise until doubled in size, about an hour. Then remove the dough and place on a floured surface.

Cut into 12 individual buns and shape them into balls. I weigh the dough and divide the number by 12, that way, they’re all about the same size. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper not too far apart if you want them to touch each other. Cover with a towel and leave to rise for 1 hour until doubled in size again.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400F.

Make the flour paste by mixing the flour and water in a bowl and stir until blended. Fill into a piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe over the uncovered buns in a cross shape.

*you could also just use a plain sandwich bag, twist the top after filling and pushing paste on one corner. Snip a little off that corner and pipe onto dough.*

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan until runny. Using a brush, glaze the buns with the melted apricot jam immediately after removing from the oven.