Palutang - in Tagalog literally means 'about to float'. In our corner of Cavite, this is our version of what others call palitaw. Not only is there a difference in name but palitaws are flat and oval shaped while palutangs are round with a dent or hole in the middle. Actually, I think the palutangs look like belly buttons, no?
This kakanin or snack/dessert is one of the traditional food of Filipino families during the New Year. It signifies rising fortunes and good luck in the new incoming year. I often cooked these with my late grandmother who follows this tradition every year.
It is very simply made with very few ingredients. For the palutang itself, it only has one ingredient, well two actually, if you use the flour form. Then you just serve it with fresh shredded coconut and sugar. And it is this simplicity that I now crave in contrast to the rich and indulgent complicated dishes and Western desserts we had in the Christmas season just gone.
Below are pictures of the stages in making palutang:
1 cup malagkit (glutinous rice) flour
1/2 cup water
fresh grated coconut
brown or white or muscovado sugar
- Mix the rice flour with the water in a bowl to form into a dough. Add more water if needed to make the dough a bit sticky but comes away clean from hands and fingers.
- Form into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls. Poke a finger in the middle but not all the way through, just enough to make a dent that will help it float.
- Bring a pot full of water to boil. Once it is in rolling boil, carefully drop the shaped palutangs in the pot. Keep the water on high heat.
- Once the palutangs float, they are already cooked. Remove with slotted spoon onto a serving dish.
- Serve warm or cold with fresh shredded coconut mixed with brown sugar.