Friday, February 25, 2011

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo (Glutinous Rice Balls, Tropical Fruits and Yams Stewed in Sweet Coconut Milk)

Ginataang Bilo Bilo

A big winter storm is heading down this weekend and it's bringing some pretty chilly temperatures along with it.  You know what that means?  Yup.  I'm gonna need some serious comfort food to warm my belly.  My all-time favorite comfort food has got to be my grandma's ginataang bilo-bilo (also known as sampelot in the province of Pampanga, where I grew up). It's a sweet and hearty stew made with coconut milk, tropical fruits, tubers, tapioca pearls and glutinous rice balls.  This luscious dessert really sticks to your ribs, which makes it so perfect for the cold weather.  Mmmmmmm...

bilo bilo

My Lola Do taught me how to make ginataang bilo-bilo when I was a little girl, but my memories of learning how to make it weren't exactly fun and happy.  It was more like being grounded because instead of playing and watching cartoons with my brothers and sister, I was stuck in the kitchen. But my grandma insisted that I be the one to help her so I wasn't gonna argue with her.


Lola Do would always assign me to the most incredibly tedious task of rolling the bilo-bilo.  They're little balls of dough made with glutinous rice flour and water, very similar to Japanese mochi.  They're so delicious but mind-numbingly boring to make.  I'd reluctantly sit at the kitchen table and stare at the bowl of dough in front of me.  I'd pinch off a small amount,  roll it in between my hands to form a ball and place it neatly on a plate.  It was so time-consuming rolling those little suckers one by one.  By the time I finished rolling them, my palms were covered with this thick layer of rice flour paste.

sweet potato

One day, I tried to speed things up a little.  While  Lola Do was busy preparing the other ingredients, I made the bilo-bilo bigger than they were supposed to.  But my grandma caught me right away.  She looked at the plate, plucked off all the "rejects" and put them back in the bowl. "Do them again," she said.  I just sentenced myself to more work and rolled some more bilo-bilo.  I definitely learned my lesson then. Never ever mess with Lola Do. Never.


I might not have appreciated it back then, but I'm so lucky that she took the time to teach me how to make ginataang bilo-bilo.  It's definitely one of those family recipes I'll hold near and dear to my heart and I hope it would get passed down from generation to generation :-)

Ginataan Bilo-bilo

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo
Makes 12 - 16 servings

dough balls:
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. Mochiko sweet rice flour
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups water

4-15 oz. cans coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 ripe saba bananas, peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups sweet potato (kamote) or yam, peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups purple yam (ube), peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups jackfruit (langka), cut into strips (reserve the syrup)
1/2 cup tapioca pearls (sago), soaked in water for 30 minutes

To make the dough balls:
In a small mixing bowl, combine sweet rice flour with the 2/3 cup water. Mix together to form a dough. Roll the dough in to marble-sized balls. Place the dough balls in a plate and cover with a damp tea towel or paper towel. Pour 6 cups of water and 1/2 cup sugar in to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Then, carefully drop in the dough balls. When they float to the top, scoop them out and place in a bowl.

To make the stew:
In a large pot, combine coconut milk, water, reserved syrup from the jackfruit and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Add the sweet potatoes and purple yam. Cook till tender. Add the burro bananas and tapioca pearls.Cook till the bananas are tender and the tapioca pearls are translucent. Add the jackfruit and rice balls last. Cook till the jackfruit is soft.

Note: To keep the purple yams from getting overcooked and turning the coconut milk purple, you can cook them in the sugar water right after you cook the dough balls.

Please note: I am not a paid endorser nor did I accept any freebies of the brands or products mentioned in this post.  I just love them and wanted to share it with you :-)


jehan said...

Mmmm, my mom used to make this when I was little, too. So good :)

Unknown said...

i love ginataang bilo bilo, especially if the soup is thick and there are lots of bilo. yummy!

Satya said...

Nice yummy dessert, hey u have an award waiting at my blog please collect it.

Kamaile said...

oooh...I love this stuff! My friend linked me your blog because my son has food allergies. Never thought I'd get a dose of nostalgia as well. :)

Islander Girl said...

Oooh, lovin' your blog! I think I'm gonna make some of this this weekend! Just what I needed, another reason to gain more weight. LOL!

Samantha @ Food Fitness Family Friends said...

This sounds like something I would love to try. I have never heard of it before but it sounds yummy! Thanks for posting the recipe!

Anonymous said...

How much water would you put in the stew? I'm a bad cook, always needs exact measurements. Always like making your recipes. Thanks.

Anna said...

I, too, am an expat who spent my childhood in the Philippines and have been living in the States for decades. I just found your blog searching for 'tibok tibok'. I was in the Philippines last month and I am feeling very homesick for my childhood desserts which I tasted again when I was there. Thank you for posting these recipes and a compliment on your beautiful blog!

Pathy Moreira said...

Oi, adorei o seu blog! já sou seguidora e queria convidar você para conhecer o meu cantinho!!! Vou amar receber a sua visita!! Beijos!!!

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog & it's soo nice to see this recipe! I've enjoyed the Filipino desert recipes-I tried karioka balls & they were a hit! Your step-by-step instructions are very easy to follow & the tips are wonderful. Next adventure -gonna try this dessert now -wish me luck. Luv it!



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