It's Term 4 already in the New South Wales school calendar! I can't believe the girls are growing up so fast - moving on in primary (J A S) and high school (B) so quickly. Sometimes, I take a deep breath and look at them and sigh. Ah. Before I know it they will all be in their teens bopping and talking Gen Y (or Z, who knows!?) lingo. It wasn't long ago that they were tugging on my shirt and pants too scared to go to school (except B who's always been the social butterfly). And just last night, S asked me at bedtime, "Mum, is it alright to have a crush on someone when you're 8 years old?" Here we are barely able to understand how our teen daughter ticks, and we are already onto young love. So exciting! I hope hubby and me will still have the energy to endure more teen hood dramas in the next decade. I seriously am thinking of that contingency retirement under the Tuscan sun. A dream....
Now back to reality. We are onto Week 2 in Term 4 and everything is back to its normal hum which is good. In between domestic duties, fulfilling my culinary exploits, parenting, juggling macro economics, shuttling the girls to piano-tennis-swimming-cello-etc, I've been itching to try something new in the kitchen. After our super-size grocery shopping, our pantry suddenly exploded with so much stock that I'm trying to find ways to make/create dishes with whatever is previous inventory - half pack of sticky rice, 2 extra jars of peanut butter, some palm sugar, etc. etc. Lately, I've been craving Filipino snacks so I've bookmarked several classics from Panlasang Pinoy and today was the day to make Biko.
Biko is a Filipino classic delicacy which is made from sticky rice (glutinous white rice), coconut milk and brown sugar. Its usually sold in local markets as a whole plate or tray (usually served in a bilao - the original bamboo plates) or in single serve squares (the rice cake is cut into serving pieces). As this is made of sticky rice, it is quite heavy and most often than not, served for meryenda or afternoon tea/snack. It is also usually topped with some toasted shredded coconut or caramel topping.
To make this sweet rice cake (biko), you'll need:
2 cups glutinous white rice
1 and /2 cup water
2 cans 400ml coconut milk
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
banana leaves (optional)
Wash the rice in a bowl to remove impurities and dirt and drain the water. Pour the washed rice into the rice cooker and add the 1 - 1/2 cup water. Cook until done. (Using a conventional pot or sauce pan, you may cook the rice stove top using the absorption method over medium to low heat).
While rice is cooking, in a medium to large pot, bring the coconut milk to a boil, then add the sugar and salt. Stir over low heat until the sauce thickens.
Add the cooked rice and stir over low heat, until the liquid has been fully absorbed by the rice.
(This took about 40-45 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot).
Prepare a square 8inch tin and line with the washed banana leaves or baking paper.
Scoop the rice mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spoon or spatula.
Place on a rack to cool.
I don't think it looks as appealing with the lack of some dark toasted coconut or caramel for topping. But it sure did bring lots of smiles and ooh's and aah's in this corner of the globe. Definitely one of those comfort foods that brings the fuzzy wuzzy in our Filipino hearts.