Ginataang Bilo-Bilo or Halo-Halo (Glutinous Rice Dumplings in Coconut Milk) is usually served as a afternoon snack not as a dessert. Best eaten freshly cooked while the glutinous rice dumplings would be at its best, heavenly feathery pillow soft. This Filipino sweet snack consist of coconut milk/cream, glutinous rice dumplings, saba bananas (saging na saba), sweet potatoes (kamote), purple yam (ube), taro (gabi), jackfruit (langka) and sago/tapioca pearls (optional). The word “Ginataang” in tagalog means cooked in coconut extract (milk or cream form). “Bilo-Bilo” and “Halo-Halo” are terms used for this dish, you can use either one of them. I remember when my family went to Quezon, some people there call this dish “Ginataang Pinindot-Pindot”. Different parts of the Philippines have different name terms for certain dishes and for sure, this dish has other names not just the 3 names I have mentioned.
“Bilo-bilo” describes the round shapes of the glutinous rice dumplings while the “Halo-halo” describes the colourful ingredients liken to the cold “Halo-Halo”, a Filipino shaved ice dessert. “Pinindot-pindot”, describes the rolling and squishing of the dumplings while forming them.
My only request for the first timers on embarking this dish, please don’t put preserved kaong or nata de coco on this dish as they are not part of the main ingredients and I think, it is just gross. It is called “Ginataang Halo-Halo” but it doesn’t mean that you can add all the ingredients from the “Halo-halo” shaved ice dessert to this dish. Sometimes sticking to original works best and there are times tweaking the dish works wonders too. But in this dish I highly recommend to stick to the original main ingredients.
Please accept my apologies as I can only find sweet potatoes and saba bananas as I cannot find the purple yam (ube) and taro (gabi) anywhere in Inala. Usually some of the shops sells them but when I was gathering my ingredients I was unlucky on finding some. But still, even with 2 less ingredients you can still produced a yummy Ginataang Bilo-Bilo.
GINATAANG BILO-BILO OR HALO-HALO (Glutinous Rice Dumplings in Coconut Milk)
1/2 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 pcs of canned jackfruit (langka), sliced
2 ripe saba bananas, peeled and sliced
1/8 cup small clear tapioca pearls or sago
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
1 can (560ml) coconut cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
Dumplings: 1 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour + 3/4 cup water
*used AUS Measuring Cups & Spoons
~ Combine the glutinous rice flour and water together.
~ Mix till well combine and has a consistency of soft play dough.
~ Take a small bit of dough and place in the centre of your left palm and with your right palm over on top, just lightly touching the small dough, gently rotate your right hand clockwise. This will give you marble shaped dumplings, repeat the process till you’ve finished the entire dough.
~ Place dumplings on a big plate with spaces between them. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
~ In a large saucepan, pour in the water, coconut milk and coconut cream, bring to boil. Lower the heat into medium and add in the sweet potatoes cubes and simmer for 5 minutes.
~ Add tapioca/sago and cook for further 5 minutes or until the tapioca/saga becomes clear, while you’re cooking at this stage, always stir the contents of your saucepan to avoid the tapioca/sago sticking to the bottom of the pot.
~ Once the tapioca is cooked, add in the sugar, saba bananas and jackfruit (langka), simmer it for a minute and then drop in the dumplings. Keep on stirring while you’re adding the dumplings to prevent them from sticking to each other. The dumplings will float once they are cooked through. To make sure they are cooked, taste one of them (pls. let it cool first!), the dumpling should be silky soft when you bite and squashy in your mouth. Once done, remove the pot from the stove, ladle into individual bowls and serve.
- If you have purple yam (ube) and taro (gabi), reduce the sweet potatoes into 250g and use 250g of purple yam and about 150g for taro. Add the additional root vegetables when you add the sweet potatoes as they have the same cooking time.
- Purple yam (ube) will give the Ginataang Bilo-Bilo a purple tinge, don’t panic if you see the colour change.
- Ginataang Bilo-Bilo can be refrigerated, but when you reheat it in the stove or microwave and you find it too thick, stir in additional water till it have that same consistency when you freshly cooked it. The dumplings tends to get hard once you refrigerate this dish, that’s why this dish is best serve while it is freshly cooked.