A Tenderfoot's Foodventures

A beginner's adventures in cooking

Thursday, August 18, 2005

LASANG PINOY # 01:
BIKO NA MAY LATIK


Lasang Pinoy is a Filipino food blogging event that aims to feature Filipino dishes in its full glory. It’s the first of its kind in the Filipino Food Blogging Community and so I feel extremely honored to participate in this joyous episode in history (how very dramatic of me… Hehe…).

Stef was actually the one who first introduced me to Lasang Pinoy when she invited me to take part in the said event. I was hesitant at first, partly because I’m a novice cook who has never had any experience joining a food blogging event at the time she asked me to join, and partly because the 1st Lasang Pinoy focuses on the days leading up to EDSA-1, which I didn’t really have any recollection of as I was still very young during that period. However, because the primary goal of Lasang Pinoy is to showcase Filipino foods and culture, the organizers allowed entries to consist of the entrant’s favorite Filipino dish.

Regardless, I still really wanted to stay in line with the theme, so as described in my e-mail below, I decided to focus my entry on foods that rally-ists commonly consume to tide them over the long haul.

In spite of my desire however, my plan of making a coffee and/or pandesal/bread/biscuits entry was eventually shelved due to extraneous circumstances, and I was left to ponder another entry.

Fortunately, last weekend, my Mom was craving for some Biko, and because I thought it would make a perfect entry for Lasang Pinoy, I offered to make some if she would teach me how to do it.

I know you’re probably asking, ‘What makes you think it's a good entry?’ I took the liberty of answering that very question below.

1. Biko is a kind of kakanin that is made out of ingredients that are the primary agricultural produces of the Philippines (i.e. coconut, sugar, and rice)
2. Filipinos have a ‘merienda time’ habit, and Biko is amongst the more common traditional Filipino meriendas, not to mention this is also commonly served at Filipino gatherings and Fiestas.
3. Biko is a foodstuff that is peddled and also sold near wet markets (peddling food is a common practice in the Philippines)
4. Since Biko is a kakanin, it is not too farfetched to assume, as biko is both a common merienda and peddled food, that rallyists probably consumed this food at some time too.
5. The texture of biko, being sticky and tough to mix, is also symbolic of how the Filipino people rallied together and stayed resilient in the face of danger and adversary, to fight for freedom and what they believed in. The color of of Biko symbolizes the Filipinos as a race (beautifully brown in color), and the sweet taste of the dish also reflects the endearing traits of Filipinos (e.g. kindness, hospitality, thoughtfulness).

What I like best about cooking Biko is that it has very few ingredients, not to mention those ingredients can easily be found in the market and is available all year round.
However, while the ingredients are few and in between, making this dish actually takes a lot of time and effort as you have to mix the very sticky rice thoroughly which is tough and in effect, quite tiring. Nevertheless, this should not deter you from preparing this delectable dish.

Being a Bulaceña, my Mom is versed in a lot of merienda/dessert/kakanin dishes. This is one of my Mom’s specialties, and the procedure of making the latik balls that serve as both a garnish and adding extra flavor and bite to this dish, is a knowledge that is rare among those who cook this in their homes.


Biko na may Latik (Rice Cake with Latik Balls)

Ingredients:
Niyog (shredded or grated coconut)
Brown Sugar
Malagkit na Bigas (sticky or glutinous rice)
Water

Procedure:
Extract coconut milk from the niyog. This can be done by soaking the niyog in some warm water then squeezing it to juice out the milk. Some people prefer simmering the grated coconut in water before straining and squeezing it through a katya (cheesecloth), but we prefer to just pour warm water over the niyog and juice it before straining the extracted coconut milk.
Then in a saucepan, pour the coconut milk and let it boil until oil and some solids form (the coconut residue that forms when boiling coconut milk is called latik). Set aside some of the oil and solids to make the latik balls. Add brown sugar into the remaining boiled coconut milk before pouring the cooked glutinous rice in the saucepan. Mix until ingredients are completely incorporated. Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes, then spread on to a bilao/container that has been lined with plastic wrap.

To make the latik balls: In a frying pan, heat the oil and solids obtained from the boiled coconut milk that was set aside earlier over low heat. Once the latik browns, takes shape and forms into little balls, add some brown sugar and mix so the latik balls won’t stick together. Scoop out and spread on top of the Biko.

Tenderfoot's Note:

The oil and solids (coconut residue) that forms when boiling coconut milk is called 'latik', so the biko itself has latik apart from the latik balls used for garnish.

I think I spread the latik balls a little too sporadically than should be... Sorry about that... Evidently, I'm still not much of a cook. ;-) Here's to hoping I get better! :)

24 Comments:

Blogger Karen said...

Oh so Bulacan latik is also sweet?

Thanks for participating in Lasang Pinoy JeyC! Hope to read more of your posts

11:38 PM  
Blogger JMom said...

Hi jeyc! I have been on a quest to perfect my bico recipe, but I just can't get it to taste like my lola's. I guess it's because of the latik. The canned coconut milk is just not rich enough to make good latik, I think. I remember my lola would have our help stirring her biko in one of those big pots whenever there was a party. O they also used to make their own brown sugar (I am having brain freeze on the correct name - the one in the bao?). I guess that also makes a difference in the taste. You just made me want to try making this again ;-)

11:43 PM  
Blogger drstel said...

thanks jeyc...this is truly a great snack item, one of the things i remember most vividly. my ma used to buy fr palengke (wet market) on Sat. a.m.'s ahahahay...thanks for sharing your mom's recipe. what a treasure trove you must have for kakanin secrets!
(JMom panucha ba?)

12:19 AM  
Blogger dexiejane said...

"The color of of Biko symbolizes the Filipinos as a race (beautifully brown in color), and the sweet taste of the dish also reflects the endearing traits of Filipinos (e.g. kindness, hospitality, thoughtfulness)."

Couldn't have said it better myself :) This post is making me want to have a cup of coffee at 4pm on a 98 degrees weather. The power of Biko :)

4:21 AM  
Blogger jeyc14 said...

Karen - thanks for the warm welcome. :) Well, for this particular dish, it calls for sweet latik balls. I don't know though if Bulaceños use latik in other dishes that require it to stay in its solid residue form without any sweetener. I'll ask my Mom. Hehe. :)

jmom - fresh is definitely better. I've seen some canned coconut milk that really isn't the same in consistency and taste. But I suppose it's a little difficult to find fresh shredded coconut in the US? :) Wow! Homemade brown sugar! I hope you can figure out the recipe and share it with us. Hehe. :)

drstel - thanks for the compliments, although my Mom really deserves all the credit. :)Just wait until I post my Mom's egg white leche flan. Yes, it's possible. :)

dexie - thanks for dropping by. :) I enjoy reading your food blog as I always find the dishes you post so very enticing. Wow 98 degrees! Hope you guys don't get another heat wave.

7:28 AM  
Blogger celia kusinera said...

Nice post, jeyc. I just hope you did not get sore from all the mixing. ;)
I couldn't remember if our latik in Cavite is sweet as well. I think if ever they put sugar it would be very little. Also in our place the biko is almost always coloured purple as in ube colour. Hmmm, good to compare the variations of food in diff provinces.

7:50 AM  
Blogger jeyc14 said...

Celia - actually, I suckered our cook into doing most of the mixing for me. I'm lucky we have her. :)
Purple colored biko. Interesting... Although I think I have seen one being sold at a wet market before.


Just talked to my mom.
The the oil and solids (coconut residue) that forms when boiling coconut milk is called 'latik', so the biko itself has latik apart from the latik balls used for garnish.

9:48 AM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

It's my first time to hear about latik balls..'gotta try it sometime especially if the recipe is coming from a Bulakena.

I think ours is sweet too..oh depending on the cook. Oh yes, we use panucha.

9:53 AM  
Blogger jeyc14 said...

Ting - Thanks! :)
Hmmm, I wonder how the biko will taste like if panutsa is used?
Our biko is sweet but is not 'nakakasuya' (saturating). Kaya marami akong nakakain kahit na ni-lilimit ako ng Mom ko. Haha! :)

By the way, I modified my post to incorporate the info about the 'latik'. Also I reread my entry and edited a part of the procedure. It should be brown sugar into the boiled coconut milk before adding the rice. Sorry about that. It was late and I was trying to make the deadline. :)

10:01 AM  
Blogger Thess said...

Hi jeyc! i could almost taste your biko!
in san juan, our biko is also of purple color and sweet, with a salty/sweet latik on top.I've tried making biko here, unfortunately the canned cocomilk doesn't give that kick- grated fresh coco is next to impossible to find *sigh*

I love how you compared the brown biko to our brown color, a beautiful race *napangiti ako *

wonderful entry!

thess of:
http://eetsmakelijk.e-writings.com

3:32 PM  
Blogger stefoodie said...

naku, nakakalaway naman 'to! i think i need to make a trip to the international food store next week while hubby's gone -- ito ang magiging comfort food ko LOL. thanks so much for joining us for LP!

3:43 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Celia's right, it's good to compare the different variations of our food. I forgot that I have my own bico post, hehehe! Our bico is always orangey-golden because it has to have culubasa or squash. The seeds are even included and they taste like nuts when thoroughly cooked. If a lot of coconut cream is used, then it doesn't need latik but it's usually nice to have some on top. Our latik is also without sugar.

Galing! Perhaps we should have a kakanin/biko theme sometime!

5:13 AM  
Blogger ChichaJo said...

This looks really yummy jeyc! I love bico and remember eating a lot of it as a child...haven't had it in the longest while...too long! Your post is making me crave for it again...aargh, it's just too yummy! I love kakanins :-)

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7:06 PM  
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Iv'e been looking for great content like this,
it's hard to find some times ;-)
Your post this post was an awesome read!
Thanks!

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I have all kinds of articles so far,
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If the mood strikes you, stop by, K?
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Thanks again for the read!!
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Blogger Nicole Schauder said...

Here's a recipe for those of us in the US where we can't find the real deal coconuts
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10:44 AM  

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