The Philippines is an archipelago, meaning the whole nation is from different islands. And with that geographical feature, a wide array of recipes is not that surprising. And with the country’s long history of colonial rule, different cultural influence is evident in these dishes.
But not every dish is tainted with foreign influence. Many of our dishes are still Filipino in heart and form, recipes that celebrate our heritage and identity as a proud nation. Most of these recipes that represent our culture are up to traditional delicacies and desserts.
In this article, we will be featuring a genuinely unique delicacy. Unique in the very essence of the word, cooking and presentation genuinely represent the spirit of Filipino ingenuity and resourcefulness.
So allow us to share all the things you need to learn to cook the best Tupig in the comforts of your home.
What is Best Tupig
Tupig is a unique Filipino delicacy offering that showcases our resourcefulness and creativity. This rice cake comprises ground glutinous rice flour mixed with coconut milk, coconut strips, and muscovado sugar.
What makes this delicacy unique is the way the people cook them. Instead of the usual steaming or mixing in the pan until you reach the desired consistency, the mixture is wrapping in banana leaves, and you grill them in charcoals.
This process gives the dish a smoky and charred flavor, which complements the sweet flavor and the texture of this delicacy. And the finished product, without even tasting it, is enough to tickle someone’s curiosity upon glancing at it.
The name “tupig” means flattened in Pangasinan’s native dialect, where this delicacy came from. The dish is pretty popular, especially during the Christmas season, where people sell by the roadside.
Ways to Cook
The traditional cooking method of cooking this dish is by grilling them over charcoals to achieve that trademark smoky and charred flavor. However, you can still cook them in the comfort of your own home; that is why we have a list of possible ways to cook this dish at home.
The principle of cooking kakanin over hot coals is to make sure that all delicacy sides are cooking adequately. As they cook, one has to make sure to flip the mixture wrapped in banana leaves from time to time to avoid overcooking the dish.
The same result of cooking the coconut kakanin on all sides is achievable using the microwave oven. The heat forming inside the cooker allows the mixture to cook evenly. The oven buttons will also enable one to cook without really watching over the whole cooking process.
Wrap the mixture in banana leaves, put them on a lightly greased baking pan, and pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the leaves wilts, signaling you that it’s ready.
Another cooking method that you can try is by steaming. It gives a softer and moist final product since you will be using steam and not direct heat over charcoals.
This method also prevents burning the whole mixture; the only disadvantage is that you cannot reproduce the charring part. What you can do is that, after steaming the dish mixture, you can grill it over a stove-top burner until the leaves wilts and chars slightly.
The steam adds moisture to the mixture, making it moist and soft, which may differ from the usual firm and a bit dry final product because of the charcoals’ direct heat.
Other Delicious Variants and Recipes
Filipino delicacies are never one-trick pony recipes; one only needs to have that creativity and resourcefulness to create different sumptuous delicacies of choice. And for our dish, there are a few other variants that you can try.
Langka or jackfruit is a sweet and tangy fruit that goes well with a lot of desserts. Its texture also adds a layer of interest to any dish. The zest that it adds to the overall taste of the dish makes it even more palatable.
You can use the jackfruit trips as is, or you can caramelize them first to draw out the flavors even more. The texture does not differ much from the usual young coconut strips, but the jackfruit’s zest and tang are better.
Ube Tupig Recipes
Ube or purple yam is an exciting root crop because of its color. For that reason, cooks use them for a variety of desserts and delicacies. Others might find it weird, but it’s undeniably good that’s why including it in the dish is just about right.
Grate the purple yam after boiling it until soft. This way, you are sure that it will not affect the overall texture of the dish. You can now add it to the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency before wrapping them in banana leaves.
Tupig Cassava Recipes
The traditional ingredient of the dish is glutinous rice flour mixed with coconut milk and coconut strips. However, you can also use cassava to replace it. Cassava grows abundantly in many places in the country.
Cassava is very fibrous; that is why you need to boil them first before grating them to separate the flesh from the fibers. Then you can proceed with the process of cooking the dish.
The finished product is firmer than usual because of the natural toughness of the cassava flesh.
Macapuno is the jelly-like meat of a coconut, often used as an ingredient for buko pie or Halo-halo. The firm texture and sweet taste are a joy to eat.
Slightly deviating from the usual young coconut strips used, the process is the same as the typical cooking process of a dish. The only difference is the texture of the macapuno, which is jelly-like and has a bit of bite to it.
Based on some stories, though they are not historically verified, the dish was once used as a gift for Christmas carollers instead of money. And alongside Bibingka and Puto Bumbong, Tupig is like a herald of the Christmas seasons, as these three are famously serving during the holiday season.
One of the time-tested tips when a cooking dish is to use the younger banana leaves. These are the ones that are lighter in color as they have a higher resistance to heat because of their moisture content.
Another tip is to slightly ferment the glutinous rice flour for that distinct flavor, aside from the smoky flavor caused by the burnt banana leaves.
When encountering kitchen troubles when cooking is expecting, however, their occurrence can be frustrating. That’s why we have a list of troubleshooting tips that you can apply if an incident happens when cooking a dish.
- If the mixture is too runny, adding more coconut strips can help.
- Brushing the banana leaves with a thin layer of oil helps them from drying out faster.
Best Serve with
Traditional treats like our dish are perfect with other traditional recipes as well so that we can enjoy an authentic Filipino dining experience. So for starters, we have a list of dishes that you can pair it with.
This North meets South’s kind of dining experience, as one trademark off the Northern region of the Philippines meets the South’s famous chicken dish. The flavorful broth is a stark contrast with the sweetness and the smokiness of the dish.
If you want to have an authentic street food experience without going out of the house, why not pair your homemade Tupig with the king of street foods done at the comforts of your home.
The salty and flavorful broth of this Chinese-influenced noodle dish fits the dish because of its contrasting flavors. Need I say more?
Exploring and never-ending learning is the key to becoming a top home cook. That is why we are here: to guide you and hel[p you in your culinary journey. And with the information we have shared in this article, our hopes are high that you can quickly cook this dish.
So until next time, happy cooking!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Tupig Recipe
- Grilled banana leaves for the wrapper
- ½ kg Glutinous rice powdered
- 2 ½ cups Coconut milk
- 2 cup Young coconut strips
- 2 cups Sugar
- ¼ cup Butter
- In a bowl, combine powdered glutinous rice, coconut milk, young coconut strips, and sugar. If the mixture is not that sticky add more powdered glutinous rice.
- Add ½ cup of mixture in the center of the banana leaf and wrap it by rolling and fold the edges to avoid dripping. The size of the output should be 1 inch wide and 6 inches long.
- Do the same procedure with the remaining mixture.
- Light up the charcoal in a griller, and put the wrapped tupig mixture on the griller, but make sure that ember is already present on the charcoal before you start grilling.
- Grill each side of tupig for 3 minutes.
- Once the banana leaf is charred on all sides remove the tupig from the grill.
- Let it cool for a while. Serve and enjoy!