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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Biko (Sticky Rice Cake with Fried Coconut Milk Curd Topping)

It's the first day of May...and in the Philippines, it's the start of the monthlong Flores De Mayo (Flowers of May). It is a religious celebration held in honor of the Virgin Mary, wherein devotees gather together every afternoon or evening to offer prayers, songs and flowers to Mary. After the ceremony, the Hermanos or Hermanas for the day will give away homemade delicacies and snacks to the participants. I remember that whenever my family was the Hermana, my mother would always make Biko, a sticky rice cake similar to Bibingkang Malagkit, but is brown in color and has latik (fried coconut milk curd) topping. Aside from being my mom's favorite kakanin, biko is also very economical to make, and I guess that's why she loved making it. With just glutinous rice, sugar and coconut, you'll have a yummy snack or dessert in no time. It's usually served during New Year, Christmas and other special occasions and (for my family back then), during Flores de Mayo. :)

Yesterday, the hubs was working from home and when he was drinking coffee during breakfast, he suddenly said he misses biko and wants me to make it. It's so good with coffee, and the hubs really like it. It has been a while since I last made it, so I immediately checked the pantry to see if I have the ingredients. Luckily I did, and I was able to accommodate what seemed like a simple and reasonable request. By around 3 p.m. yesterday, this yummy rice cake was ready...
...and the hubs enjoyed his afternoon coffee break! :) 

Biko is a favorite Filipino delicacy that has a very simple yet delightful taste. It requires very few ingredients and requires no baking unlike the Bibingkang Malagkit.If you love Filipino kakanin (sweet rice delicacies), you should try this!

Yield four 6" round biko, 1½" thick
For the rice cake:
  • 3¾ cups malagkit (glutinous or sticky rice)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups coconut milk (fresh or canned)
  • 1½ cup brown sugar or more depending on how sweet you want it
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • ¼ cup salted butter plus 2 Tbsp for greasing
For the latik (fried coconut milk curd)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh coconut cream or one 14oz. can coconut cream

For the latik:
1. In a saucepan, pour coconut cream. Bring to boil over medium high heat. When it boils, turn the heat down to low and simmer until all the liquid evaporates and only the curds and oil are left. The curds will start forming and you can start stirring to prevent uneven browning. Remove from heat when desired brown color is obtained. Drain from oil. Transfer to a small serving bowl or put in a sealed container for future use.

For the rice cake:
1. Lightly grease baking pan/dish with butter. (I used  four 6" round aluminum pans.) Line with wilted banana leaves (if available).
2. Wash sticky rice three times then drain. Transfer to a pot or rice cooker. Add water and cook the same way you cook regular rice. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool down.
3. In a pan over medium heat, cook coconut milk, sugar and molasses with constant stirring until it starts to thicken. Reduce the fire to low then add the cooked glutinous rice. Mix until well incorporated. Continue cooking while stirring constantly until you can hardly stir it. Add butter and stir until well incorporated. Divide the rice mixture between the prepared baking pan/dish. Using a greased spoon, smooth the top until the surface is even. Allow to cool down.
4. Top with latik. Slice and serve.