Filipino Cuchinta (Kutsinta) Recipe



Now, how would I explain cuchinta to my non-filipino readers.  Well, it’s a sticky round dessert that you can eat alone or dip into dried coconut.  The texture would be like a tapioca ball/jelly like…. I don’t know how to explain it.  It’s a good dessert and quite popular at filipino parties.

Recipe #1:


1 cup rice flour
1 tsp lye water
3 cups water
2 cups packed brown sugar
Procedure: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl; beat well. Half-fill a muffin pan with the batter, then steam covered over 2 inches of water for about 30 minutes. Top with grated coconut.

Recipe #2


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1 tsp. lija (lye water)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
red food coloring


Add water to flour gradually while beating. Then mix in the remaining ingredients, plus a dash of red food coloring. Continue beating until well blended. Pour on ungreased molders (3/4 full). Cover with cheese cloth and steam for 30 minutes or until done. Serve with fresh grated coconut.
Note: Boil water in steamer before placing molds.

Thirty Something Mom – Vancouver Mommy Blog about Fashion & Food


61 thoughts on “Filipino Cuchinta (Kutsinta) Recipe

  1. botioksimon says:

    can i use glutinous rice flour?or just plain rice flour?i dunno really the difference though..and do i need to cover it with cloth?whats the alternative for the cheese cloth?

    • Lynne says:

      Here’s how to make homemade lye.

      Burn wood til all turns into ash. Sift and save fine dust. Place in abottle til needed.

      When needed, boil enough w/ equal part of water. Strain in double thickness cloth and save water. Use water as lye.

      Note: Use only minimal amt. of lye water, only 1/2tsp.-1tsp. cuz it can burn your stomach.

      Hope this will help you.

  2. Karen says:

    Lye water is a poison! Do not use it!
    Warning it can burn your throat, eyes, skin.
    People do not realize this is a serious poison.
    Inform yourself before you cook with it.
    It is not a government approved ingredient.
    Find an alternative ingredient!!!

      • martkhier says:

        hi adrian.. our product is very different in chemical compositions compared to the ordinary lye water which is a solution of caustic soda. we have modified the ingredients of the lye water and it does not contain caustic soda, so that it will become more safe, will give more taste to your food, and beneficial for you. so i can suggest you try our products. just send an email to for more information about our product.

  3. ChiChi says:

    “Lye water is a poison! Do not use it!”

    I’m sure the entire nation of Philippines would die. People eat this all the time, and from what I know… there are no alternatives. I guess you could try water w/ a bit of baking soda… only guessing. I’ll do some research on this and have a follow up.

  4. Karen says:

    Hi ChiChi,
    Thanks for replying. I am trying to find alternatives too! I love filipino desserts.
    Maybe using coconut milk might give the same effect? I don’t know. I hate to be the bearer of news, but it is true the drinking lye water is dangerous. I realize that most recipes only call for 1 or 1/2 teaspoon of lye water.
    These warnings are government findings.
    I’ll send you the link if you want. I’m from Canada and my parents are originally from the Philippines. I’m only starting to learn how to make these traditional desserts.
    I’ll look out for your research results.
    Thanks~ 😉

  5. K says:

    Poison is in the dosage. I know that it’s scary to cook with lye water at first, but the stuff is only really lethal if you drink it straight. There are a lot of other cultures that rely on bring the pH way up (something, I’m afraid, that only strong bases like lye can do well) in order to achieve the desired effect. In fact, even fluoride is a poison used to kill rats, but just enough seems to be good at preventing cavities. Arsenic is a poison, but in small doses it’s used to treat parasites. You can choose not to use lye, but don’t think that you’re really making cuchinta. (It’s like the difference between real cheese and cheese food.)

    It’s good to do the research, but don’t jump to conclusions too soon and scare yourself from creating something tasty! If you’re really paranoid, you could always get a pH kit, and test the end product.

  6. Mrs. Doubtfire says:

    Our family been eating cutchinta since time in memorial but none of the members of the clan died coz of lye water. Besides no one drinks lye water LOL. You just put it on minimal amount. Smoking heavy could kill you but eating tons of cuchinta with lye water don’t.

  7. bell says:

    Oh! my God? I ate a lot of kutsinta every time i go out for my Sunday off when i was in Hongkong? It was my favorite dessert in Phil. And last week i am thinking about it and wanted to try to do it here in Canada lucky that i read this message comments, now i stop even to think about it. thanks a lot/bell

  8. AmbrosiaAndHoney says:

    I have a homemade lye recipe but I don’t have the book now. All I remember is that you need to burn a small piece of wood till it become ash. Strain it. Add water then strain it again. And the result would be lye solution.

    Anyway, I’ll post the recipe here as soon as I have it.

  9. Elena Balingit says:

    Since long back that i am looking for lye water ? Can you advice me what is alternative ingrediance that i can use instead of lye?

    please let me know?

  10. malou says:

    hala… pero, alam n’yo every week akong nagluloto ng “kutsinta” at palagi akong gumagamit ng ” lye water” ….OK lang gumamit sa xactong measurement..

  11. ben says:

    I know of someone who accidentally drank lye water. She transferred the lye water into an empty water bottle and completely forgot that she did that. She was rushed to the hospital and she survived but it took months to for her to heal. Moral? LEAVE IT IN ITS ORIGINAL CONTAINER SINCE IT LOOKS SO MUCH LIKE PLAIN OLD WATER. Better yet, wrap it in a bag, label it, and push to the very back of the fridge or pantry.

  12. Phoebe Wye In Dubai says:

    In Dubai lye water is sold in Filipino Stores (Debelchior). I did not try the recipe yet and I am planning on testing it tomorrow. A friend in Doha is also waiting how it turns out. Most Filipino Restaurants here sell the dessert here. Private individuals cater it in parties.

  13. Phoebe Wye In Dubai says:

    For all of you who have tried it, is there a problem using aluminum molds without coating them with butter. Will the product not stick on the mold. Is plastic mold better?

  14. DUuuuhH!! says:

    If it really is POISON as you claim it to be… explain why there are still bottles of lye solution around? Most of them are even imported from the Philippines, do you think that FDA would approve the import and sale of such “POISONOUS PRODUCTS”?

    Cguro lasing k lng nuon, u picked up the wrong bottle instead of the san mig beer. Kaya k cguro nalason… hahaha!!! pa “inform – inform urself” ka pa… YOUR MAJOR MAJOR WRONG!!

  15. Mandy says:

    Lye water is used in food to cause a needed chemical reaction. Once the chemical reaction happens, the NaOH, which is lye, is gone.

  16. JUNDELYN says:

    KUTCHINTA has always been my favorite filipino snack even when I was a kid and until now I still love it and will always be….the thing about the lye water being a poison, well I have been roaming around the country asking if they have already heard of somebody who died eating kutchinta since the time of Magellan and guess what? NONE … nobody … and nobody was even stupid enough to drink or use more than what is required. Just take proper precautionary measures when using it and everything will be just fine, better yet discard unused lye solution by pouring it in the drain, it only cost P30 per bottle so just buy a new one every time you need it for cooking.

  17. erica reyes says:

    sa mga PARANOID na iniisip ang lye water is poison, kung ibubuhos nyo nga ang isang boteng lye water sa kakainin nyo malalason nga kayo! anything in excess is fatal. people use your common sense please. bakit sa palagay nyo buhay pa kayong mga nagsisikain ng kutsinta? dahhh! i’m just trying straighten some minds of people eating kutsinta using lye water. also, walang pamalit sa lye water. its either kumain ka ng kutsinta using lye water or wag ka ng kumain ng kutsinta…ganong kasimple lang yun mga kababayan. bow.

    • AkoSiKhe says:

      ….For those who want an alternative for lye water, here’s the most closest thing to it: Mix 1 tsp. milk to 1/4 tsp. Baking soda (if you want the consistency more closer to lye water, bake the baking soda for a few minutes inside the oven to raise its alkalinity level before mixing to milk), then use an equal amount of baking soda solution as an alternative…. Note: Milk and baking aoda combined together can create same alkaline as the lye solution that gives chewy consistency to kutsinta without the risk of the so-called “lye poisoning”….

  18. ML says:

    can someone tell me what exactly is the effect of lye water on the kutsinta and the pichipichi and other delicacies? And what happens to the taste of these delicacies if there is no lye water? Will the delicacies be a “failure”?

  19. mariamenchulikiyan says:

    evrything in excess is dangerous,,,theres no news yet or sickness that was reasearched because of prolonged use of lye solution…
    but fats causes higblood,heart attacks
    sugar causes diabetes
    salt causes stones
    …….so is there any news that cause sickness because of prolonged eating of kutsinta,,,,,,

  20. luz says:

    Lye water is not exactly poison,If you use the exactly measurement of lye water will be fine.All chemical use for food is poisonous,Dont say that lye water is a poisonous only,how about the baking powder,baking soda,vanila, and other ingredients.If you know how to use all the ingredients it will be fine but if you dont know how to use ingredients that is realy dangerous.

  21. eleonor says:

    ung recipe #2,sa halip n 2 cups,..gawin nyong 1 3/4, tapos wag nang lagyan ng lye water,..mabubuo p rin yung kutsinta,..gagnun di ang consistency nya,..cheer!….

  22. zendrick says:

    thanks guys for useful info about cuchinta and specially info for using of lye water!,..i try to make cuchinta without lye water and i tell guys the result!,..hehehehehehehe,…=)

  23. Monty says:

    Here in Saudi, nagluluto ako ng kutsinta na may Lye water. Pag napasobra, may pagka bitter ang taste at may scent siyang kakaiba n dimo gustong amoyin pag sumobra kya nga the best kahit 5 cups of any flour lagay 1 tbsp Lye at maganda ang result- see nyo ang texture ng liquid, meron changes cmpare sa walang lye, di ‘makunat’ or di firm ang texture. Kung poisonous yan di dapat wala sa market for sale, basta wag sobra ang ilagay.

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