This Filipino dessert reminds me of a summer cooler that I also love – halu-halo. Both have almost the same ingredients. The latter however, uses crushed ice as the main ingredient mixed with precooked or ripe fruits and milk and served as is, while the former uses rice flour and coconut milk, but all other ingredients are the same as halu-halo. Of course, ginata-ang bilo-bilo involves cooking.
I do not know any Filipino who does not like halu-halo or ginata-ang bilo-bilo unless you have a medical condition such as diabetes, which makes it necessary for you to watch your sugar intake. Yet, even if you are one of those people, you can still enjoy ginata-ang bilo-bilo in small portions, following the tip added at the bottom of the recipe.
In Iloilo, we refer to ginata-ang bilo-bilo as “linugaw”. When I was a child, “linugaw” was a star during birthdays because most of the people in my neighborhood could not afford to buy or bake a cake. This “linugaw” is paired with pancit-bihon or just plain pancit (egg noodles). When you have both and a liter of “Coke,” you could not be any happier on your birthday.
In Luzon, and maybe, in other parts of the Philippines, “linugaw” is better known as bilo-bilo. I have also learned to call it “ginataang bilo-bilo” since we speak Tagalog and English at home and my circle of friends here in North America are mostly from the different parts of the Philippines.
So here it is.
1 pack glutinous rice flour (454 grams)
1 cup refined cane sugar
1 jar stringed coconut/pack shredded coconut
1 can ripe jackfruit (sliced 2-3 cm)
1 can coconut milk
1 can coconut cream
2 cups water (add more if needed)
2 pieces ripe plantain (cubed)
1 medium size cassava (cubed)
1 medium size sweet potato (cubed)
½ cup tapioca pearls (precooked- skip this if using smaller pearls)
Ready in 45 minutes
Makes 10 servings (see photo)
- Add water to flour gradually to make dough. Roll it into balls, then set aside.
- In a stock pot, pour coconut milk, coconut cream, 2 cups of water and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Add the tapioca pearls(small ones) if not precooked. Let it simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring continually, so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Add stringed coconut and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add cassava, sweet potato and rice balls. Let it simmer for another 7-10 minutes.
- Add the sliced jackfruit and plantain and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add more water or coconut milk (as needed) and bring to a boil.
Tip: You can replace cane sugar with stevia and the bottled stringed coconut with frozen shredded coconut if you are watching your sugar intake. Just cook it a little longer because shredded coconut strips take a little time to soften.
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