Coconut and glutinous rice are both plenty in Asia, especially in the Philippines. The supplies of these two are so bountiful that Filipino foods are mostly based on these ingredients. In this segment, we will share with you how to make the best Ginataang Bilo-Bilo.
This dessert, just like any other ginataan version, is losing its popularity to the younger generations nowadays due to many westernized foods to choose from that can easily be bought in the market. So, to make this appeal to the younger generation, we will teach you how to make Ginataang Bilo-bilo that your children will surely love.
Lucky for you, this dessert has evolved into many variants as time goes by. So, be with us as we take you to the wonders of this dessert and know what Ginataang Bilo-bilo meant for the Filipino.
What is Ginataang Bilo-bilo
The term “ginataan” (also guinataan) indicates any dish or food that is stewed or cooked in coconut milk (gata). As mentioned above, coconut is a fruit that is plenty in the Philippines. So many dishes in this country are made with it, ranging from savory to sweet.
Ginataang Bilo Bilo is a sweet, creamy, and smooth dessert soup filled with various yummy root crops. The soup consists mainly of coconut milk (gata) and a variety of different tubers and fruits. “Bilo-bilo” is the glutinous rice shape into round tiny, chewy, and sticky balls by using hands.
This delicious recipe originated in Luzon, which is in Tuguegarao City, situated in the northern Philippine island.
In addition to that, it uses sugar to sweeten the mix, tubers like cassava that helps make the sauce reach its thick consistency by its starchy properties. This root crop is cut into diced cubes. Also, it uses jackfruit to add that organic layer of sweet taste, shredded into strips.
Another fruit that has that mildly sweet taste is Saging na saba (Saba banana). It is sliced into thin pieces to add to another soft texture in the mix when it’s cooked. Another tuber is the sweet potato or kamote in Filipino. When cooked, this crop gives that sweet, mushy character to this recipe, adding another distinct texture to the mix.
Some people add tapioca pearls to it, but some prefer this recipe without it. Tapioca pearls is another way of adding texture to this dessert. Not only it helps with making this dessert pleasing to the eyes but also appealing to the children.
There are many variations of this dessert soup, depending on what province you are in the Philippines. On this note, we will share with you what is Ginataang Bilo-bilo to the people of different regions in the Philippines.
Ways to cook Ginataang Bilo-bilo
Before we jump to the variations, let us help you cook this dessert snack in different cool methods. If you have these cooking pieces of equipment at home, then you’re in luck! Because we will explain to you why it is better to use them.
Instant Pot – If you have Instant Pot in your kitchen, then you’re in luck! This method will help you cook this recipe the easiest way because all you have to do is put everything inside the Pot and simply walk away. Instant Pot is the mother of all cooker Pots with its many options and functions.
It has a preset mode where you just need to press and then leave it. These modes were built to avoid undercooking and to burn your food just in case you had no time to stay in the kitchen while your food cooks. By this, your Ginataang Bilo-bilo will cook graciously without too much effort on your part.
Is this type of cooking method healthy? The answer is a definite yes. It is healthy. The Instant Pot cooks food in a shorter time by maintaining a high temperature inside the Pot, cooking the food in a short time, and at the same time, keeping it fresh and the nutrients sealed in each of the ingredients.
However, be very careful when you use it, especially right after you let the steam out. Don’t make a mistake by quick-releasing the lid, or you just might get a severe burn. As you may know it there is still steam accumulating inside the Pot. So just let the steam smoke out naturally.
So, after all the waiting, you will surely have a hot, delectable and nutritious Instant Pot Ginataang Bilo-bilo in your hand.
Crock-Pot – Crockpot, unlike the Instant Pot, can do the cooking for 20 hours max. But this doesn’t mean you have to wait for the food to wait for that long because Crockpot, too, has preset modes, depending on what you are cooking in it.
The Crock Pot does not cook the food at a very high temperature; instead, it maintains enough temperature to process the food inside. This method will now lengthen the time in cooking. Fortunately, this will cook all your ingredients at a slower pace, thus making your food extra healthy.
With this equipment, you can cook your Ginataang Bilo-bilo. This home appliance will keep all your root crops, and other ingredients tender and nutritious as ever.
Pressure Cooker – this home appliance has almost the same mechanism as that of the rest of the cooking pieces of equipment mentioned here. What it lacks are the sophisticated setting modes that the others have. Still, this equipment can produce an ooey, gooey, yummy Ginataang Bilo-bilo.
In its Pot, toss everything, and just leave it to cook on its own. To do this, you have to set the knob at high temperature for about 30 mins and let the pressure inside it release naturally, and that’s just it. Place your Pressure Cooker Ginataang Bilo-bilo in a bowl and feast on it while it is steaming hot.
Slow Cooker – If you don’t have any of the already mentioned equipment above, but you have Slow Cooker sitting in your kitchen, good news! You can use that, too, to make delicious Ginataang Bilo-bilo.
The Slow Cooker has a knob that allows you to set cooking temperatures on low or high. The maximum time you can cook a dish in this CookerCooker is up to 12 hours only. Like the rest of its kind, this Cooker is a one-step preparation wonder that will help you save kitchen time.
Place all your ingredients inside the Pot and set the knob (see the guide manual if you don’t have an idea what temperature to use). Leave it cooking for several hours. By the time you come back, you will have a bowl of that decadent soup dessert that will fill your kitchen with its heavenly aroma.
If you are wondering if there are any variants for this fruity, nectarous dessert, well, you won’t be disappointed because there are. We listed them all below to help you choose the options that suit your diet and nutritional needs.
Vegan Ginataang Bilo-bilo
A vegan diet eliminates all animal products consumption and use of materials. If you are a vegan and think of cooking this heavenly soup, we will help you with the preparation.
For this version, you will need the same ingredients we have for this recipe, but instead of the usual glutinous rice, you can buy in most stores, choose the mochi rice flour to make your rice balls more chewy than sticky.
Mochi or Mochiko rice flour is a Japanese sweet rice flour that you can buy in the market to make your rice balls extra divine and textured. For the sugar, you can opt to an organic one, like muscovado, coconut, or cane sugar. These are all-natural sugar that is readily available in the market for you.
Now that’s your Vegan Ginataang Bilo-bilo, you can pull easily for a quick mid-afternoon snack fix your family can totally enjoy.
Low Carbs Ginataang Bilo-bilo
As you may know, the usual Ginataang Bilo-bilo has a high level of carbs content due to tubers, fruits, and sugar. This recipe is bad news for some who want to stay fit and are shying away from carbs diet. But if you want to try this recipe and are craving for it, we got that covered for you!
For the glutinous rice substitute, you may use coconut flour to make the rice balls, adding to it psyllium husk or xanthan gum for the thickening, and sticking agent. Take note that it won’t make your rice balls chewy and sticky enough as the typical glutinous rice can do, but it will do.
For the tubers and other fruits, you have to eliminate them as they contain too many carbs. Replace them with low-carb fruits such as peaches, berries, or cantaloupe. If you still want the texture of the tapioca pearls, you can use chia seeds instead. Soak the chia seeds in hot water for 30 mins then add it when the mix starts to boil.
For the low-carb sweetener, you may use brown erythritol. Two teaspoons of this only amounts to a total of 8 calories. You can buy this sweetener online.
And that’s it for your Low-carb Ginataang Bilo-bilo.
This recipe can be very stressful, especially on your try. But do not worry. Just follow the recipe guide we have posted here, and you will be okay. Listed down below are the potential mistakes we think you might encounter.
- Runny soup – if this happens, you can add flour to the mix. Dissolve a few teaspoons of it in water, pour it in the soup, and stir and boil for another minute.
- Super thick soup – add water to it until it reaches your desired consistency. You can also take some portion of it and discard and add the water to make the right composition.
- Too sweet – add cinnamon, and cloves are known to balance the sweetness. DO NOT add salt.
Having a bowl of this recipe will give you complex nutrients that will satisfy your stomach and cravings and your nutritional needs. To provide you with a sneak peek of how nutritious this delight is, we listed below the health benefits of Ginataang Bilo-bilo ingredients.
- Coconut milk – coconut is highly packed with manganese, which is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, bone health, proteins, and cholesterol. According to a study, coconut helps with weight loss and lowers the LDL “bad cholesterol” and raises the good cholesterol, which is the HDL, and triglyceride levels in an individual.
- Tubers – tubers and roots produce energy in the form of vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, and dietary fiber. So consuming these can powerfully boost your energy throughout the day.
- Banana Saba – this fruit is high in potassium, natural sugars, and fiber. The potassium, vitamin C, and other vitamins it contains are good with maintaining your overall health. Its natural sugar content balanced with fiber is an excellent combination to maintain a proper blood glucose level.
- Jack fruit – you’d be surprised to know that this fruit is packed with many health benefits. Jack fruit helps to lower blood pressure because of its potassium content, improving and fastening wound healing with its vitamin C, fighting or avoiding cancer with its antioxidant properties, and improving a healthy digestive system, among others.
- Add leaves of pandan (screwpine) to give it a fresh and inviting aroma.
- When adding the rice balls, drop it one by one to avoid sticking it to other blobs of rice balls.
Best Served With
Any dessert deserves to be partnered with other goodies, and so Ginataang Bilo-bilo, too! Here, we listed some dishes and desserts that you can have as well together with this sweet soup.
- Turon (Caramelized Banana Lumpia) – The caramelized sugar coating the crunchy spring roll is to die for, especially when it is paired with Ginataang Bilo-bilo. The contrasting texture will leave you in awe. So indulge yourself with this pair, and it won’t disappoint!
- Fried Chicken – the crunchiness and saltiness of this delightful dish combined with this honeyed dessert soup is a heavenly combination. The contrasting flavors will surely make your mouth waters.
- Toasted bread – or any bread that is also sweet and flavored will go well with this Ginataang Bilo-bilo, especially when it is freshly baked. If you know how to bake decent bread, give it a try!
This soup dessert will surely bring someone comfort and fond memories. Just by making the rice balls into little orbs could start a family bonding in the kitchen then memories to go back to. We hope we have inspired you to bring back the glory of this forgotten classic dessert and if you did share it with us! We are happy to hear from you. Thank you for visiting our website. Happy cooking!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Ginataang Bilo-bilo Recipe
- 1 lb Glutinous powder
- 2 pcs Saba banana sliced into half
- 2 pcs Sweet potatoes small, cubed
- 1 pc Taro large, cubed
- 1 pc Cassava cubed
- 2 cups Tapioca pearl
- 1/2 cup Jackfruit cubed
- 2 cups Coconut milk
- 2 cups Water
- 1 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch
- In a casserole, boil water and coconut milk, then stir well.
- While boiling, add the cassava and glutinous rice balls.
- Then put-in taro, banana, jackfruit and tapioca pearls. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Pour-in 1 cup of water and coconut milk, then add sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Next, add the sweet potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
- Then pour-in the melted cornstarch and stir well for atleast 3 minutes.
- Serve while hot! Share and enjoy.
Glutinous rice balls
- 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.