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 or what we call 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.
Ginataang bilo bilo is a simplified version of ginataang halo-halo, prepared sans the saba bananas and sweet potatoes. Like the latter, this simple concoction of glutinous balls, mini sago pearls and jackfruit strips is also widely enjoyed as a dessert or midday snack. Although this ginataan will keep safely in the refrigerator for a couple of days or so, it is best consumed fresh from the pot as the rice balls tend to harden when cold. Not a problem, really, as I hardly have leftovers with everyone happily digging in to the last drop.
- ½ cup uncooked mini sago pearls
- 20 to 25 pieces glutinous rice balls
- 5 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 cup ripe jackfruit, shredded
- 1 cup glutinous rice flour
- ½ water
- 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 deep pot over medium heat, combine coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved.
- 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. Add sago and jackfruit and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.
- In a small bowl, combine glutinous rice flour and water into a stiff but pliable dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour and if too crumbly, add a little bit more water. Using the palms of hands, form about 1 teaspoon of dough into smooth balls. Cover prepared balls with cloth until ready to use.