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Ginataang Bilo-Bilo

This dish is known as a merienda in tagalog (a snack eaten between meals) and is typically made with coconut milk or cream, jack fruit, Filipino saba bananas, tapioca and glutinous rice balls. The name ‘bilo bilo’ refers to the rice balls but the dish shares similarities with the more well-known halo halo dessert made with shaved ice, condensed milk and plenty of sweet toppings like candied fruit and jello. This version is coloured purple and flavoured with ube, but you can make it with different yams which are available in your region.

Time: 20 mins (prep), 45 mins (cook)

Serves: 4

Equipment: 1x chopping board, 1x wooden spoon, 1x sauce pan, 1x mixing bowl, 1x spatula

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 400ml hot water
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • 200ml water
  • ½ cup condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour (Bilo-bilo)
  • water to mix
  • 50g langka / jackfruit
  • 60g ube
  • 60g plantain/saba banana
  • 50g sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup sago/tapioca
  • pinch anise seeds
  • pandan extract or Leaves

Method

Step 1

This coconut pudding is a great snack. Firstly, make sure your sweet potatoes and yams are cut into equally-sized pieces.

Step 2

Add your rice flour into a mixing bowl and then gradually add water until you have a clay like paste! Mix well.

Step 3

Grab a small amount of the clay like dough and then begin to roll them into small bowls. Once rolled, place them on a plate which is lightly floured.

Step 4

Prep the pandan leaf or if you are using extract we can add this into the liquid later.

Step 5

Into a high-sided pan add the coconut milk, condensed milk, 200ml of water and then add all of your root crops. Next add the plantain (or Filipino saba banana) and jackfruit - mix well, then leave to cook until they soften.

Step 6

Mix well and then add the tapioca, pandan and finally our rice balls. Stir again and then add some fennel seeds. Leave to cook.

Step 7

Add more water if it's needed, and then add a pinch of salt. Once everything is soft, serve it into a bowl and enjoy!

Gene's Notes

Step 1


This is the perfect recipe to eat when you need something between lunch and dinner time. It’s bridging the hunger between meals.

Feel free to use canned jackfruit if you cant find it fresh. It's also perfectly fine to only use one type of yam or sweet potato.

Step 2

Gradually add your water to the rice flour. I added some more flour to dry it out a bit, but we need to be able to form it into balls.

Step 3

This dish has endless variations, we have over 7000 islands in the Philippines all putting their own spin and regional variation on this and other recipes.

This recipe is fairly carb-y, due to the farmers needing lots of energy with their taxing work in the fields but you can use less root vegetables if you're after a lighter version.

Step 4

Pandan leaf

  • Use the back of your knife to bash the leaf and release its oils.
  • Fold and knot the leaf before using in the broth.

Step 5

The condensed milk helps bind your porridge.

We add all the vegetables into the broth leaving them to cook and help thicken our broth.

Step 6

Make sure you place the rice balls away from each other so they don’t stick.

In my province we add a large pinch of fennel seeds to add a light aniseed flavour to the dish.

Add water as and when you feel it’s needed.

Step 7

Serve warm in a bowl and enjoy.

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Gene Gonzalez
I'm here to share my love for Filipino food with the world. I'm also the founder and president of the Center for Asian Culinary Studies.