I went to a small get-together last weekend and had the best-tasting biko on the planet! Not mine, admittedly.
One of my friends brought a tray of this classic Filipino rice cake to the party, and it was so perfectly sweet, creamy, and sticky, I just had to beg her for the recipe so I can update mine on the blog. 🙂
There are a couple of ways to make this local delicacy. One method is steaming the glutinous rice first until partially cooked and then finishing it off in a coconut milk-brown sugar syrup.
The second method which I previously used is cooking the sweet rice straight in the coconut mixture. Although this results in a richer flavor as the rice gets to absorb more of the coconut milk during cooking, I find that it lacks the chewy texture characteristic of a good biko.
So, today, I am updating this post first published in 2013 with a new technique, more photos, and a few helpful tips in time for the holiday season. 🙂
What are the Ingredients of Biko?
- Glutinous rice (sweet rice)-the white variety is the traditional ingredient but feel free to swap with black or purple sweet rice for a more festive color
- Brown sugar-for a deeper caramel color, use dark brown sugar. You can use also use muscovado or panutsa for a more authentic flavor.
- Coconut milk-you’ll need 3 cups to finish off the sweet rice and 1 cup to make the latik
- Water-the ratio is1 1/2 cups of water to 2 cups of rice which yields a dry and partially cooked texture
- Salt-a small amount is added to balance the richness and creaminess of the rice cake
How Do You Make Biko
Biko involves three steps which, albeit simple, do require a bit of sweat and attention as the rice needs constant stirring when finishing off in the sweetened coconut mixture to prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Make the Latik-remember to save the extracted coconut oil and use to grease the pan and rice cake
- Steaming the rice until partially cooked. You can add a few strips of pandan leaves when cooking the rice in the water to add aroma.
- Cook the steamed sweet rice in sweetened coconut milk. This is where the bulk of the work comes in. Please do not leave the biko mixture unattended lest it burns. To make stirring more manageable and to minimize sticking, use a wide non-stick pan as well as silicone spoon if you have. The whole process will take about 30 to 40 minutes; the rice cake is done when it’s very sticky and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
I have a recipe for bibingka malagkit which has very similar ingredients and procedure, and one of the regular questions I get from readers is, what is the difference between the two?
If I am mistaken here, please feel free to chime in below in the comments, but from my understanding, bibingkang malagkit is another version of biko which is topped with a thickened coconut milk-brown sugar syrup instead of coconut curds as in this recipe.
Btw, the pan I used in the photos is from the Philippines. It’s pretty small at about 5 x 8-inch size and yields about twelve small slices which are plenty enough for me. If you’re making this for a crowd, I suggest doubling the recipe.
Biko made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar is the ultimate snack or dessert. This classic Filipino rice is deliciously sweet, creamy, chewy, and gluten-free!
- 4cupscoconut milk
- 2cupsglutinous rice
- 1 1/2cupswater
- 1cupdark brown sugar
In a pan over medium heat, add 1 cup of the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid starts to thicken.
Lower heat and simmer. As oil starts to separate and solids begin to form, regularly stir and scrape sides and bottom of the pan to prevent from burning. Continue to cook and stir until curds turn golden brown.
Using a fine mesh sieve or colander, drain latik. Reserve oil.
Wash glutinous rice until water runs almost clear and drain well.
Grease bottom and sides of a 5 x 8-inch baking dish with coconut oil. Set aside.
In a thick bottom pot, combine rice and water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed. Allow to cool to touch and fluff with a fork to separate grains.
In a wide skillet over medium heat, combine the remaining 3 cups of coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt. Stir until blended and bring to a boil.
Add rice, gently stirring to evenly distribute. Cook, stirring regularly, until mixture is very thick, sticky, and pulls away from the pan.
Spoon biko into the prepared baking dish and pat down with a spatula to even out. Allow to cool and set.
Lightly brush top with coconut oil, cut into portions, and top with latik.