(also spelled as ampaw)
ampaw – (ám-paw) [n.] puffed rice \pop-rice.
Home-made ampao is made of bahaw rice that is sun-dried and then fried to puff.
Special or commercialized ampao is processed using a long-tubular steel with a cover designed like that of a pressurized cooker, installed with a safety device that would prevent the lid from catapulting as soon as it is opened under high pressure. The rice grain and small amount of cooking oil are put into this cooker, covered tightly and cooked under heated pressure on a stove. After several minutes of heating and shaking, the lid of the pressurized cooker is loosened at once and the rice would pop aloud as soon as the pressure is released. The sudden release of pressure makes the rice grain to pop and become puffy as it enlarges the size of each grain in a snap.
The popped-rice is then blended with melted sugar or caramel. The sugar-coated puffed rice is either shaped into ampao balls (the size of a tennis ball) in different colors using food coloring, or molded into big rectangular shape and sliced into blocks or bite-size bars.
In Carcar, Cebu and in Western Samar, a slice of rectangular ampao is topped with a whole piece of roasted peanut. Unlike the ampaw mentioned above, the ampao Carcar is made of cooked rice that is then dried and fried crisp
A bite of ampao nga may mani from Western Samar;
A similar ampaw na may mani from Carcar, Cebu and it is called ampao Carcar.
Ampao Carcar bought in Cebu City
A man peddling ampao balls along EDSA in Munoz, Quezon City; An old lady selling ampao balls at the foot of a footbridge along Commonwealth Avenue in Batasan, Quezon City.
Ampao balls from a sidewalk stall in Bicutan, Taguig
For more about Pinoy foods, see also my OPEN & FREE food dictionary.