Biko is a Filipino traditional sweet delicacy made up of glutinous (or sticky) rice cooked in coconut milk with brown sugar. It is especially served during Christmas, New Years and birthdays. But nowadays, this can be conveniently own through pasalubong store outlets and of course in public markets.
I may not crave to eat it but once I cooked, I cannot help myself but to eat them all. Cooking may differ according to geographical location of the Philippines but since the origin of this delicacy is from the southern part of the country, I cook it the way the south does.
Biko plays an important influence from a southern friend to become fan of rice cake. It was taught to me and since then it changed my impression in this delicacy from plain, ordinary and underrated sweets into lovable and loyal dessert. I thought it is difficult to prepare but it’s the other way and here how it goes. On my preparation, I had the following ingredients:
- 2 cups of sticky rice
- 4 cups of coconut milk
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- Small piece of ginger
- Salt to taste
The preparation starts by steaming the sticky rice and ginger chopped and pounded in one and a half water which is intentionally to cook the rice half-cooked. Put a dash of salt to taste, then once done set aside until needed. It has to note that in some areas other than the southern part, Biko has no ginger. But if you want an exotic version, ginger will help.
In a big pan, boil the coconut milk and brown sugar, stir occasionally until thickened. This will look caramelized coconut milk. Mix the half-cooked rice and stir continuously until the liquid evaporates. This is the most physical part of this cooking, the continuous stirring until it feel tough to mix. This part is about 20 minutes in a medium heat, then you will have the cooked Biko.
Transfer into serving plate and flatten the top, then cool down. This is the finished product. For toppings you can choose your choice. You can use the powdered peanut as toppings, grated cheese, but the most popular is the coconut curd.
This is the plain Biko. As variation, you may add sweet jackfruits while you are boiling the coconut milk and brown sugar.
This is best served with hot tea.
And lastly, just eat right.
By Alex V. Villamayor