By Michellene Mae Trava*
Whenever I pass by the small eatery situated near Villa plaza (known as “La Villa de Arevalo” during the Spanish settlement), I feel nostalgic. The place brings some childhood memories I spent with my aunt. I remember how we used to go at Dac’s when I was still in grade school. I used to work at my aunt’s hardware store as the cashier/assistant, that’s why I looked forward to my summer vacations. The hardware store (now family-owned) is located near the Arevalo public market. During afternoons, we would usually go to Dac’s to have our merienda or we would sometimes “take-out” the food and eat at the hardware store instead.I can still remember the first time I tasted Dac’s kutsinta and how much I loved it (I still love it now!). That’s what I always order at Dac’s. I have also tried their other food items which are hamburger (beef & longganiza), siomai, spaghetti and palabok. My family still buys kutsinta from Dac’s but not as often as we used to since we’re all busy. Their store hours is from 1:00 pm-6:30 pm only.Doing this art research made me reminisce about the things that I enjoyed when I was young. One of these is finding Dac’s kutsinta. Kinda like a treasure (if you know what I mean). For a number of years, I haven’t really given much thought as to how Dac’s began. As a young child, I was only aware of their great delicacy. Dac’s kutsinta is now a successful business. Have you ever wondered how their wonderful business started? Let me tell you a short story about it
…The tale of Dac’s Kutsinta
A long, long time ago (well, not really that long. It was the year 1994).
A man named Danilo A. Corteza left his job as an accountant at Hyatt Regency in Baguio (he was 38 years old then) to seek for greener pastures. The following year, on April of 1995, Mr. Corteza (fondly called as “Dac’s”) decided to venture into the food business because cooking is his hobby. He used his family-owned lot as the location for his small business. It is situated along the highway leading to Oton, just at the edge of Villa plaza.He first started selling cookies and pastries but later on, he shifted to kutsinta because the ingredients used are simple and cost-efficient. He got the recipe from a cookbook and later developed it into something he can call his own.
With only 3-4 workers in his eatery, they can make 1,500 pieces of kutsinta everyday.
He also added hamburgers, siomai, spaghetti and palabok in his menu to have a variety of food for his customers to choose from. Thirteen years after, his business has become a success.In my opinion, Dac’s makes the best kutsinta. Many people like the taste of Dac’s kutsinta since it is made out of rice flour rather than the all-purpose flour that others use.
Another reason why people honor it is because it is affordable (it only costs Php1.25 per piece!). I know it sounds great but wait till you hear this: The price hasn’t changed ever since. Now, don’t you think it just keeps getting better? It is affordable for everyone since it doesn’t cost much and all. So that is the story behind Dac’s kutsinta. ;o)
The secret ingredient
Can you keep a secret? Modern day kutsintas are made out of all-purpose flour. What is a kutsinta, you may ask? Well, it is a native rice cake in the Philippines made from rice flour and lye water. It is brown in color and sticky in texture. Anyway, I’m not saying that the kutsinta that is made of all-purpose flour doesn’t taste good but in my opinion, it has a less appealing taste to me. Unlike rice flour (now this is the secret that I was talking about. Well, not really that much of a secret now haha.), it makes the kutsinta delicious. The stickiness of the kutsinta (thanks to lye) gives texture to it, therefore making it feel good to eat. The sweetness is just right and best topped with grated coconut. It is also best served when cold since it would become firm and easier to eat. Kutsinta makes a very good dessert or “pang yam-is” and is also served during meriendas. In our family, we serve it when there are big gatherings or even just simple family get-togethers.The big question markHave you ever thought how kutsinta is made? I know you’ve been thinking about it when you began reading the first page, so stop thinking and keep on reading. I’ll tell you everything that you need to know on how it is made, from what ingredients to use to how to serve it. This is the recipe that was told by Mr. Dac’s himself. Now let’s start the show…What do I use?
- First of all, rice flour (this is the most important, by the way).
- Lye water (added to make the kutsinta sticky)
- Brown sugar
- Grated coconut
One step at a time… Now this is what Manong Dacs said.
1) First, mix the sugar, flour, lye water and water using the spatula.
2) Strain it using a strainer.
3) Place it on kutsinta molds and steam for about 30 minutes.
4) Wait for it to cool before serving.
5) Top with grated coconut.
*** Makes about 150 pcs.
From another point of view.
Since the recipe that came from Mr. Dac’s doesn’t give much info on exact measurements, here is a kutsinta recipe from the cookbook “Filipino Cooking Here & Abroad” by Eleanor Laquian and Irene Sobreviñas to give you an idea of what measurements are followed by others. It is quite similar to Mr. Dac’s recipe, the only difference is that they use all-purpose flour (as I have said earlier, Mr. Dac’s uses the rice flour). Wanna know how they make it? Well, here it goes…
A KUTSINTA RECIPE
What do I need?
- 1-½ cup water
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp. lye water
- Grated fresh coconut
What to do?
1) Bring water and sugar to a boil. Let cool. Add to flour, stir until smooth. Add lye water and mix well.
2) Fill greased muffin pans ¾ full with mixture. Steam for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool before removing from pans. Serve with grated fresh coconut.
*** Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes. Makes 10.
So there you go. Just a bit of patience is needed and voila! You have kutsinta. What are you waiting for? Grab your plates and forks and get ready for one amazing experience you’ll surely never forget.
Me, myself & II am Michellene Mae T. Trava. I’m a second year student at University of the Philippines Visayas taking up B.S. Management. I am fond of eating, although it doesn’t show in my body that I eat a lot, haha. Singing and dancing are two of my many hobbies. J