Bibingka malagkit is a Filipino rice cake made of glutinous rice glazed with caramelized sugar-coconut syrup on top. This sweet and sticky cake is a favorite holiday dessert eaten on Christmas and New Year.
Here you will learn how to make a homemade version using simple ingredients that you probably already have in your Filipino pantry.
Bibingka Malagkit vs Biko
"Isn't bibingka malagkit the same with biko?" is the question I often get when talking about sticky rice cakes. And, my answer has always been inconclusive, yes, and no.
You see, the ingredients and process of making both rice cakes are so similar. Both are sticky and sweet with rich coconut flavor. The rice in the bibingka is sweetened with white or light brown sugar while biko primarily uses dark or brown sugar.
What differentiates bibingka malagkit with biko is the topping–bibingka malagkit is glazed with latik syrup while biko, the "traditional biko" that is, is topped with latik curds.
However, many biko recipes nowadays include latik syrup. Call it "modern-day" biko, if you will. There's definitely nothing wrong with that. It's really a matter of personal choice.
Bibingka Malagkit Recipe
To make bibingka malagkit, you will only need five ingredients.
- Glutinous rice - also known as sweet rice or sticky rice. You can find this in many Asian supermarkets and popular online stores.
- Coconut milk - to make it simpler, I used coconut milk for both the rice and the latik. For the latik, coconut cream is recommended. Use that, if available.
- White Sugar - is what I used for the rice to make lighter in color.
- Muscovado sugar - or dark brown sugar is highly recommended. It's rich in natural molasses, makes the syrup darker in color and nuttier in flavor.
- Salt - vital ingredient in any sweet dessert recipe. It gives balance to the latik and makes it not cloyingly sweet. In short, "pangtanggal umay".
Tips on making your bibingka malagkit at home
Making bibingka malagkit is not complicated. A little bit time-consuming, yes, but nothing you can't handle.
Here are a few tips that will help the cooking process as smooth as possible.
- Use a rice cooker to cook the glutinous rice. It's convenient and so much easier. But if you want the "dukot" (burnt/ scorched) texture, use a regular stainless pot.
- Cook the latik syrup in low heat to achieve the caramel consistency. This takes time. You'll need patience and occasional stirring. Don't try to increase the temperature as it could burn the sugar and make coconut milk produced too much oil.
- Line the baking pan with banana leaves - even if your bibingka is not cooked in charcoal or clay pot, it will have that familiar "bibingka kakanin" smell and flavor.
Storage and Shelf life
Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. It should last for 3 to 5 days if properly stored. To reheat, microwave for 30 to 40 seconds per piece.
Frequently asked questions
It is natural for the latik syrup to become watery because it contains coconut milk. The process is slower if the bibingka is broiled until the latik on top becomes stiff.
Use brown sugar. Note that the color of the latik will be lighter.
Broil it longer, as in 30 to 40 minutes in the oven. Yes, it will take that long.
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Watch the video on how to make it
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Latik (coconut sugar syrup)
- 1 ½ cup coconut milk, see note 2
- ¾ cup dark muscovado sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Make the latik syrup
- Place all the latik ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Set the heat to low and cook until sauce thickens to a syrupy caramel consistency. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Cook the malagkit (glutinous rice)
- Grease baking pan with oil, including the sides. Line with a banana leaf if using.
- Rinse glutinous rice with water then drain well. Place in a pot and then add 2 ½ cup water, salt, and pandan leaf. Swirl to combine. Bring to a boil with the lid on. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 to 22 minutes until rice is cooked through. Stir and scrape the sides occasionally. Remove and discard the pandan leaf.
- Place coconut milk and white sugar in a wide pan. Let it simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the cooked glutinous rice in 2 to 3 increments, stirring every addition. Use two wooden spoons if necessary.
- Once the liquid is completely absorbed and the mixture becomes stiff, pour the rice onto a baking pan. Flatten with a spatula.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f for 10 minutes. Pour the latik syrup on top of the sticky rice and spread evenly. Place in the oven, middle rack, and bake for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, lower temperature to 160c/320f. Move the rice cake to the top rack and broil until latik is caramelized. This could take about 20 to 30 minutes (see note 4), longer depending on the type of oven. For compact ovens broiling time may be lesser due to higher temperatures.
- Slightly open the door of the oven every now and then to release some heat. This ensures that the latik doesn't burn.
- Let it cool completely. Cut, serve, and enjoy!
- Glutinous rice – also known as sweet rice or sticky rice. You can find this in many Asian supermarkets and popular online stores.
- Coconut milk for the latik syrup – coconut cream is recommended. Use that, if available.
- Muscovado sugar/ dark brown sugar – can be substituted with brown sugar. Note that latik syrup will be lighter in color.
- For a stiffer/caramelized latik syrup - broil longer up to 40 minutes.
- Measurement: Use BAKING CUPS, not the cup that comes with the rice cooker.
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