Saturday, July 25, 2015


Bibingka is a local delicacy - a rice cake, or a cake made from rice, in general.  When I was little, we would more often see the bibingka during Simbang Gabi (midnight mass) at Christmas time.  Gradually it became more popular and available even off-season.

There are several variants, depending on the what is used (regular rice, glutinous rice, kamoteng kahoy or cassava), what mix-ins or toppings it contains (salted egg, kesong puti/white cheese, buko/coconut, etc.), or the region that it comes from - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilonggo (2 kinds even!), Ilocano, and I've been told there's Visayan, too...  The one I really like is the one from Iloilo (not the puto-kind) followed closely by the one I grew up with... the one from Via Mare!

I've finally decided to try and make a homemade one!  But I wanted mine to be simple (no cheese or salted eggs), maybe just fresh buko strips, and topped with grated coconut and butter!

And based on a tindera (saleslady) at a tiangge stall, who I interviewed, the real secret is the butter that is slathered on the bibingka immediately after it is cooked (well, aside from the special bibingka oven that is).  According to her, in the province, they would use Star margarine (since this was what was widely available) but here they could buy large tubs of "generic" butter (or margarine)!

I preferred to use my homemade butter, of course!

The recipe is a forgiving one...if a slightly chewy texture is desired, add glutinous rice flour.  If a more spongy, less compact cake is desired, add 1/4 cup more coconut milk...

List 1
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup glutinous rice flour (optional)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
6 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

fresh buko strips (or kesong puti, salted eggs, etc.)

melted butter, for brushing
1/8 cup sugar, for topping
grated fresh buko

Prepare 4 to 5 4 or 5-inch (disposable, aluminum) tart pans.  Brush with butter and line with (heated) banana leaves.
Mix everything in List 1 together.  Divide batter and place in prepared pans (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup per pan).  Add the buko strips to the pans.  Bake at 375F for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.  Sprinkle sugar on top of the bibingka and bake 5 minutes more.  Immediately brush with butter upon taking out of the oven.  Top with grated buko and enjoy while hot!

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