I have fond childhood memories of my grandma making big batches of Biko for family parties.
She’d cut them into squares and place each portion in little foil cupcake liners. Because of its gooey texture, there were always some leftover pieces (the ugly ones that didn’t make the cut). She’d scoop those into a separate bowl, to leave at home, knowing full well that my siblings (and even cousins sometimes!) and I were waiting for our chance to dig in. And although she’d remind us to share, it was hard to have self-control when it came to one of my favorite childhood treats.
What is biko?
Biko (pronounced bee-koh) is a sticky rice cake from the Philippines. It’s made from glutinous rice, brown sugar, and coconut milk. Traditionally, biko is garnished with latik (cooked coconut milk residue), but my grandmother’s recipe calls for a garnish of coconut flakes, sugar, and sesame seeds instead.
Since I live in a two-person household now (and I don’t see very many other people because of COVID), I adapted this recipe to: 1) accommodate a smaller rice cooker and 2) make a smaller amount. Because the original recipe makes a lot. Unless you’re trying to feed a large party, this amount will be much more manageable.
This is an incredibly easy recipe for a dessert that is so delicious. No, really, I am trying to have more self-restraint than younger me and not eat this whole batch in 2 days. They’re sweet and satisfyingly chewy, with a nice coconut flavor throughout. Perfect if you’re looking to try something new!
Biko (Filipino Rice Cake)
- 3 cups sweet (glutinous or mochi) rice
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 box dark brown sugar (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Prep the rice overnight:
- Place 3 cups of sweet rice in the pot of your rice cooker (make sure it will fit 3 cups of rice). Wash thoroughly and drain. Add a little under 3 cups of water. Let soak for a couple of hours.
- Before going to sleep, turn rice cooker on and cook as you would normal rice. Let it sit in the rice cooker until you're ready to make the biko the next day.
Make the biko:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- In a large pot, combine your coconut milk and sugars. Place over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugars. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add your cooked sweet rice. Make sure to mix well, so there are no clumps of rice. You want the syrup and rice to be well combined.
- Place mixture into a 9-inch square pan. You want to leave about 1-inch of space because it will bubble in the oven (use a larger pan if needed).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. If you're worried about the mixture bubbling over, place a baking sheet on the bottom rack just in case.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!