My first ever impression of buchi (pronounced: boo-chee) was that it looks exactly like the deep-fried sesame balls in my favorite San Francisco dim sum shop. And maybe you're connecting the dots like I am... but similar to pancit, buchi is a delicacy that's made its way to the Philippines through trade with China. Turns out, Chinese jian dui and buchi are both deep-fried rice cakes made from glutinous rice flour and filling. They were created in the 7th Century during the Tang Dynasty, which was around 200 years before Chinese goods began to consistently flow into the Philippines during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Neat!
Now, buchi is very common to find in the Philippines and can be purchased at any Chowking—a popular Chinese fast food chain. The snack's popularity didn't stop me from avoiding it all-together in the states though. As a previously picky eater, I cringe at admitting that I avoided foods with unknown filling. This is coming from a woman who only started liking burritos in 2016. Yeah, I know... *shrug*
Buchi is a Filipino merienda (snack) that this post is dedicated to. I've also seen spellings include "butsi" and "butse." The most common spelling that I've seen on the interwebs is the one I'm writing with today "buchi," which comes from a dialect spoken in Northern and Central Spain called Castilian Spanish. Did I mention that the Spaniards colonized the Philippines in the 1500s? I'm pretty sure I did. Anyway, this snack's components include glutinous rice flour and fillings such as ube halaya, lotus paste, red bean paste, and more. I used glutinous rice flour and sweet potato for today's recipe. But first, more about glutinous rice flour!
So, what is glutinous rice? I learned that glutinous rice (also known as malagkit "sticky" in Tagalog) is a type of rice mainly grown in Southeast and East Asia. It gets its stickiness from its proportions of starch content, rice having two components of amylose and amylopectin. Medium and long-grain rice tend to have a higher proportion of amylose and short-grain glutinous rice has more amylopectin—creating a moist and sticky texture. Glutinous rice is also known as "sweet rice" because it's seen in many sweet Asian desserts (suman, bibingka, puto, etc.) and not because it's actually sweet. When milled down, it's known as "galapong" in the Philippines. Milling provides a powdery texture, which gives today's merienda a chewy, elastic texture.
*Glutinous rice also doesn't have any gluten, for those who may have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or those who simply buy into food industry fads without doing their research :)
Sweet Potato Buchi Recipe
1 1/2 Cups Glutinous Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Mashed Sweet Potato
1/2 Cup Raw Sesame Seeds
1/3 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cups Water
Drop your sesame balls into frying oil that has been heated to 350*F. You will know when your buchi is done once they rise to the top of your cooking oil. Transfer the cooked buchi to a paper towel-lined plate to catch all the excess oil. Then, enjoy while hot!
The recipe I'm used today is adapted from PagkaingPinoyTV's YouTube video. They have been a huge help when learning new recipes.