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Steamed Sweet Cassava Cake

Pichi Pichi

Simply delicious steamed sweet cassava cake covered in freshly grated coconut meat. This Vegan sweetness is great as a snack or dessert!

What is Pichi Pichi?

Pichi pichi or Pitsi pitsi is made from grated cassava or manioc mixed with water or coconut milk and sugar. The mixture is poured into molders and steamed until it’s cooked. It’s cooled down and served with freshly grated coconut. Pichi pichi are sometimes flavoured, some with pandan or in this recipe I also used ube or purple yam flavouring. It’s usually eaten as a snack or dessert.

Pichi Pichi is considered a kakanin although it’s made with cassava it’s still known as kakanin. The word ‘kanin’ meaning rice as many steamed cakes are made with rice grains or glutinous rice flour. There are many varieties of sweet steamed cakes and desserts. This dish is originally from Quezon, Philippines and eaten for merienda or snacks. I remember having Pichi pichi as a snack during school breaks when I was living in the Philippines.  It was affordable and delicious!

Let’s talk about ingredients

I used frozen cassava as it’s readily available to me and it’s less for me to do. You can buy fresh cassava or manioc in Asian or Caribbean shops, I’m not sure about prices but the frozen bought is pretty decent and I didn’t have to deal with the mess. Both fresh and frozen are good to use.

Lye water is a must in this recipe, it’s commonly known as sodium hydroxide. It is used in pichi pichi to get the right glazy texture. I bought my lye water from Chinatown, London. You can get lye water is most Asian shops.

Flavourings are optional, I use Pandan and Ube (purple yam) in this recipe. The colour didn’t turn so well but it was fine, it still tasted fantastic!

Pichi Pichi Molder

I have some plastic molds to use for pichi pichi and other Filipino steamed cakes bought from Philippines. I also have some silicone cupcake molds which I also used and it turned out really nicely too. If you use the medium size plastic molds from Philippines you can make up to 30 pieces with this recipe. Using the silicone cups if you fill it just over half, you can make up to 24 pieces. 

I would love to see your Pichi Pichi! It would make my day if you tag me on instagram @foodwithmae or use the hashtag #foodwithmae



454g 1 packet frozen cassava, defrosted
130g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lye water
400ml 1 can coconut milk
200g freshly grated coconut
1 teaspoon ube extract (optional)
1 teaspoon pandan extract (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
pichi pichi molder XL or silicone cupacake standard size


In a large bowl add cassava, coconut milk and sugar. Mix all of the ingredients well until incorporated. Add lye water and again mix it well.
If you want different flavours for your pichi pichi, divide the cassava mixture into three or two depending how many flavours you want. Add the flavours of your choice in each bowl of mixture. If you only want one flavour just add that flavour into the whole mixture. Pour the mixtures into your mold. You can grease the molders with oil but really you don’t have to. They come out easily from the mold.
Prepare your steamer, place the molds into the steamer and cook them for 40 minutes until the cassava turns translucent. Take them out of the steamer ant let it cool down on the side. If you have a smaller steamer, repeat until all of the mixtures are cooked. Allow them to cool down for about 30 minutes before taking them out of the mold.
Prepare the grated coconut on a plate, once the pichi pichi is cooled down, take each pichi pichi out of the mould and roll them into the coconut covering all sides. Place them into your serving plate and it’s ready to serve!

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