Biko

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!

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 biko or otherwise known as sinukmani in the Northern region. 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 kakanin.

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- if want a deeper caramel color, use dark brown sugar. You can also use muscovado or panutsa for a more authentic flavor.
  • Coconut milk- to finish off the sweet rice
  • Coconut cream-to make the latik
  • Water-the ratio is1 ½ 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

  • This Filipino rice delicacy 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 an hour or so; 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.

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