Enjoy this simple yet delicious Ginataang Bilo Bilo! Perfectly sweet and creamy with loads of sticky rice balls, mini sago, and sweetened jackfruit, it makes a hearty and filling snack or dessert.
In celebration of the Chinese New Year ahead, I'd like to share with you this sweet and creamy ginataang bilo bilo recipe.
Chinese tangyuan, known as bilo-bilo in the Philippines, are sticky rice balls formed from a mixture of glutinous rice flour and water. They are commonly served during festivals, wedding celebrations, and other family gatherings to symbolize union and togetherness.
This ginataang bilo-bilo is a simplified version of ginataang halo-halo, prepared sans saba bananas and kamote. It's a simple concoction of glutinous rice balls, mini sago pearls, jackfruit strips, and sweetened coconut cream.
We live in the Hill Country, and driving to the closest Asian supermarket for perishable fruit and tubers takes a good hour and is not always convenient. So when ginataan cravings, I make it with these ingredients that I can stock up on.
Mini or regular-sized sago will work well in this recipe. You can use bottled sago in syrup you can buy from the store or make your own from dry pearls.
Check out my tips on how to cook sago. It takes a few steps but the pearls turn out super chewy and fun to eat!
- Combine glutinous rice flour and water into a pliable dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour; if too crumbly, add more water.
- Cover the dough balls with a moist towel until ready to use to keep them from drying out.
- Cook the coconut sauce in a gentle simmer and do not bring to a boil lest it curdles and separates.
- The sweetness will be stronger while hot but will mellow down when the ginataan cools.
- If using sweetened jackfruit, you can add the heavy syrup but decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe.
How to serve and store
- Ginataang bilo-bilo is a delicious and filling dessert or midday snack. Enjoy it hot, warm, or cold with a generous drizzle of coconut cream (kakang gata) on top.
- Transfer leftovers to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Although it can be frozen, I find freezing and thawing change the consistency and creaminess.
- ½ cup uncooked mini sago pearls
- 1 cup glutinous rice flour
- 4 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 cup ripe jackfruit shredded
For the Glutinous Rice Balls
- In a pot over medium heat, bring about 6 cups water to a boil. Add sago pearls and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until soft and translucent. Rinse and drain well.
- In a small bowl, combine glutinous rice flour and ½ cup water into a pliable dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour and if too crumbly, add a little bit more water.
- Scoop about a teaspoon of dough and using the palms of hands, form about 1 into smooth balls. Cover prepared balls with cloth until ready to use.
- In a pot over medium heat, combine coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook until slightly reduced.
- Add glutinous rice balls and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until they begin to float to top.
- Add coconut cream and stir to combine. Continue to cook until slightly thickened.
- Add sago and jackfruit and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through.
- Ladle in bowls and top with additional coconut cream, if desired.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”