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Black Kutsinta - Instant Pot + Stovetop

Black Kutsinta is a Filipino sweet rice cake that's a sister version of the classic, orange-colored kakanin Pinoys are familiar with. This black kutsinta is flavored with blackstrap molasses, which gives it a dark, nearly black color, and a thick, sticky texture. The addition of molasses to the traditional recipe gives the rice cake a slight hint of bitterness, which is unnoticed when the toppings of coconut flakes, syrupy dulce de leche or rich coconut jam are added. This recipe was inspired by the Ang Sarap food blog by Raymund. Makes 14 to 16 pieces.
*I shared 2 alternate ways to cook this: In the Instant Pot or on the stovetop steamer. Cooking time indicated below is for the stovetop. In the Instant Pot, it takes 10 minutes.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Brunch, Merienda, Snacks
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Black Kutsinta
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 413kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Large 3-tiered steamer - for stovetop cooking
  • Instant Pot - 6 or 8 quarts
  • Round molds - 2-inch sized in diameter; use non-stick


For the Black Kutsinta

  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 2 teaspoons lye water
  • 2 cups water

For toppings

  • dessicated coconut flakes, toasted
  • Dulce de Leche, bottled or homemade
  • coconut jam, bottled


To cook stovetop:

  • Prepare the round molds by individually greasing them with cooking spray. Set aside.
    Prepare the steamer by filling the bottom pot with water that's 3/4 full. Over high heat, start boiling the water. Keep pot covered so it boils faster.
    Meanwhile, start mixing the kutsinta.
  • In a large bowl, combine together the ingredients: Potato starch, flour, molasses, lye water and water.
    Mix well with a wire whisk till smooth and there are no more lumps.
  • Pour the kutsinta batter into each mold, filling it 3/4 full.
    Place the molds inside the second layer of the steamer (the one with holes). Arrange the molds side by side, without overlapping.
  • Place the second tier of the steamer over the boiling water. Cover the kutsinta with a clean kitchen towel. Then place the steamer's cover over it.
    Steam the Black Kuchinta for 20 minutes.
  • To check if cooked completely, prick the center of each kutsinta with the tip of a small knife. If tip comes clean, kutsinta is done.
    Let the kutsinta cool on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, unmold each one on a dessert platter.
    Serve with toppings of either Dulce de Leche or coconut jam. Top each one with coconut flakes.
    Toasted coconut flakes: Serve the coconut flakes in its original fresh form. Or toast the flakes in a small, non-stick skillet, over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Do not leave unattended or it burns fast. Remove from heat and set aside.

To cook in the Instant Pot:

  • Combine all the ingredients for Black Kutsinta in a large mixing bowl.
    Using a wire whisk, mix till thick liquid is smooth and there are no lumps.
    Pour the batter into individual, pre-greased molds. Place these molds in a steamer basket that fits in the Instant Pot. Place the steamer basket over a trivet.
    Fill the Instant Pot inside with 2 to 3 cups of water. Water should reach the sides of the steamer basket.
  • Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Sealing.
    Click Manual + HIgh Pressure + 10 minutes.
  • When buzzer sounds to announce cooking is over, do a Quick Release.
    Unlock and uncover the lid carefully, setting it on a dry surface by the counter. Click Cancel. Unplug the Instant Pot if you are done cooking.
    Use silicone mitts and long tongs to remove the steamer basket from the inside pot.
  • Let the Black Kutsinta cool on counter. Then, unmold the kutsinta on dessert platters, served with suggested toppings.

Notes on the Instant Pot:

  • It takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before cooking time begins.
    For safety, use accessories recommended for the Instant Pot. Read the manual for complete information.
    Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multicooker that cooks in high and low pressure. This is not an ad. My opinions are my own. I was not paid to endorse the brand.

Cook's comments:

  • In the original recipe, Raymund of Ang Sarap used tapioca flour. I did not have this ingredient when I cooked these kutsinta, and I used potato starch instead.
    Lye water (lihiya) is sodium hydroxide, an alkaline subtance used in cooking to improve texture and color. It is what gives the kutsinta the gel-like consistency.
    Blackstrap is not the same as true molasses. While the regular molasses has a reddish hue, and acidic sweetness, the blackstrap molasses is inky-colored, salty and slightly bitter. A complete comparison is found in Serious Eats.

Dulce de Leche recipe:

  • A recipe for homemade Dulce de Leche is found here on my previous blog post for Yema Cupcakes. CLICK HERE.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg