Filipino Coconut Rice Cakes
An original recipe from The Tasty Page
A couple of months ago my sister posted a video on my Facebook page of Jo Koy hanging out and riding around with his mother. It was so funny that I instantly started laughing all by myself, hoping no one around me would notice and think I was losing it.
If you don’t know who Jo Koy is, search for him on YouTube or better yet, watch his Netflix special. He is a hilarious and genius comedian. And he’s Filipino, which in my opinion makes him awesome, but more importantly for this Filipino-American, relatable. Filipino or not, when you see him you will be crying because you’ll be laughing so hard. You’ll probably also find yourself saying, “Josep!”, “Elabate the peet!” and dancing around all Jabbawockez-like while saying, “It was always my dream…” multiple times when it’s over.
And if you’re like me, you’ll also start thinking about Filipino food and how insanely delicious it is.
Apparently, I’m not the only one that thinks that Filipino food is the shit. Filipino restaurants are popping up all over the United States and they’re hip and cool, and also very crowded. Restaurants like, Jeepney and Maharalika in NYC (Nicole Ponseca is my hero!) and Bad Saint in Washington, D.C. are getting a lot of recognition. Anthony Bourdain even said recently said that Filipino food “has a bright future “ in the United States. I mean, the man loves sisig, a traditional pork dish. And for a non-Filipino to say that and genuinely enjoy sisig – that’s a big deal.
Here are my two reactions to Filipino food now being recognized in the United States: excitement and IT’S ABOUT FRIGGIN’ TIME! For real, I always felt that Filipino food was something everyone should try and eventually discover they love.
I remember one of my first jobs as a teenager was working the food stalls at a festival. I wish I could say it was for a cool festival, like Coachella, but it wasn’t. I honetly, don’t know what it was for. But there were all different kinds of food being served and I was working the Filipino food section. I was helping sell plate after plate of lumpia Shanghai (Filipino spring rolls) and pancit (Filipino rice noodles). The Filipino food stall had the busiest and longest line. Back then, and up until recently, I always wondered why there weren’t more Filipino restaurants or Filipino types of food sold in stores considering all the Filipino food love that I was personally seeing.
Maybe it’s “Filipino timing”? (That’s a legit term because Filipinos aren’t known for always being on time.) Maybe it was as Nicole Ponseca said an interview that no one wanted to take a risk and introduce Filipino food to people that didn’t grow up eating it. Whatever the reason, the time has finally come and I’m so happy that it’s finally here.
And to celebrate, we should celebrate Filipino style: cooking and eating together.
One the of the best ways to celebrate is with cake. Though bibingka isn’t a traditional cake, it’s a rice cake with a great coconut flavor. It’s usually baked in banana leaves and served around Christmas time. But I think it should be enjoyed multiple times a year.
There are different types of bibingka, which use different types of ingredients and methods of baking. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on all the different types, but the ones that I know of are Biko, which is the sticky and sweet version, and the more sponge cake-like version. That’s what I’ve made here. But I can tell you for a fact, that all types are really delicious.
The recipe for this bibingka is light and airy, but full of really nice coconut flavor. I love that you can have it for a snack (“merienda” in Tagalog), dessert, and even breakfast with a cup of coffee. It’s best just out of the oven (or reheated in the microwave for about 30 seconds) and slathered with butter and a sprinkling of sugar or grated coconut (or both).
You can easily find the ingredients in an Asian market or online (like on Amazon). You can also bake the bibingka in a tart pan or ramekins.
Going back to Anthony Bourdain, I highly recommend watching the episode of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” when he visited the Philippines. I love that the episode highlighted Filipino food that makes you want to hop on a 24 flight to try sisig, bibingka, and pay a visit to Jollibee. But what I especially loved is that the episode also highlighted the spirit, hard work, and dedication of Filipinos. I got a little emotional after watching the episode, and that’s not just because I’m an easy crier. And, of course, I got hungry.
I hope you enjoy this binbingka recipe and also like how easy it is to make, and I hope it’ll encourage you to go out and check out a Filipino restaurant or food truck, and/or make Filipino food at home.
- 2 cups rice flour (like the Erawan Brand with the red label)
- ½ cup glutinous rice flour (like the Erawan Brand with the green label)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cups sugar, plus more for springkling
- 1 whole 13.5 oz. can Thai coconut milk (preferably, the Chaokoh brand)
- 5 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter, melted - plus more for brushing
- Banana leaves cut into 6-inch to 8-inch circles, depending on the size of your pan or ramekins
- Grated coconut, optional for topping bibingka
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Line the pan or ramekins with banana leaves and set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine the rice flour, glutinous rice flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add sugar and mix until well combined. Add melted butter to bowl and mix.
- Alternately add flour mixture and coconut milk to egg mixture. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated, making sure not to overbeat the batter.
- Fill tart pan or ramekins ¾ of the way full with batter.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Brush additional melted butter on top of each cake and sprinkle sugar on each cake.
- Broil on high for about 2 minutes or until tops are evenly browned.
- Let cool slightly and top with grated coconut, if using.
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