Biko in Kiwi Land

Last school break, our family went to New Zealand to spend our summer vacation there.  It was our third time in this country and we are very grateful for the wonderful opportunity given to us to enjoy the beauty of Kiwi land.  We stayed for 3 months and we had the best vacation ever.

We spent most of our time in the South Island particularly in Nelson City.  There are few Filipinos living in this place. Sadly there is no Filipino restaurant in Nelson so if you crave for Filipino food, either you attend Pinoy parties or you cook. My daughter, Cache, loves Biko (a Filipino sticky rice cake) and she asked me make one for her.

I know how to bake cakes, cupcakes and cookies but I have not tried making “kakanin” desserts.  Here in the Philippines, if you crave for any local delicacies it is available everywhere and is very affordable.  So if we want to eat any kakanin, instead of cooking for hours I just go to my favorite native delicacy store and buy.  No sweat at all.

But it’s a different story when you are in a foreign land.  I had no choice but to cook Biko for my beloved daughter. Since it was my first time to make this sticky rice cake, I asked Google for help. I checked on several websites/blogs about biko recipes and I liked the one in Panlasang Pinoy.  I immediately purchased the needed ingredients from a nearby store and started cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups glutinous rice (aka sticky rice or malagkit)
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • ½ tsp salt

First, I washed the glutinous rice and then let it soaked in water for 30 minutes. Then I cooked it using the rice cooker.

Second, I combined the coconut milk with brown sugar and salt in a big pan and cooked in low heat until the texture became thick. I guess this was the most tiring part because you have to stir the mixture constantly. Hello muscles. 🙂

Third, I added the cooked rice in the coconut milk and sugar mixture.  Be sure to mix it well. I continued cooking it until all the liquid evaporated.

I transferred the cooked biko in a glass baking sheet and then flattened the surface. After letting it cool for several minutes, I served it to my husband and daughter.  Thank God they liked it.  They said it was delicious and not too sweet.  The only comment they made was that the biko was a little overcooked.

I’m glad I took the challenge of making this special sticky rice cake to my family because they loved it and it made them happy.  I can say it was a successful cooking adventure for me.  I thought it was hard but making Biko was really easy except that it’s quite tiring from the constant stirring. Will I cook kakanin again? Yes but I guess not while I’m here (I’ll just buy from my suking tindahan of local delicacies).  I’ll make one when I’m in another country again. 🙂

 

Cuchinta (Kutsinta)

When I was still a kid, I was a big fan of puto (steamed rice cake).  Me and my siblings would eagerly wait for the “puto man” every morning  so that we can have a taste of the delicious and hot puto.  We would choose a variety of colors like white, yellow and violet. There was also cuchinta beside the puto but we usually snob it.  That time, I didn’t like the taste of this sticky brown rice cake. Well, years later there’s a big change in my taste bud because now I like cuchinta as much as like eating puto.  Recently, I was able to purchase a steamer and so I decided to make a cuchinta.

Making a cuchinta is very easy and you only need few ingredients.  You can use rice or All-Purpose flour, brown sugar, water and the most important is the lyle solution (you can buy this in the market or from a bakery supply store) which will make your cuchinta sticky.  Just mix everything and strain before putting in the molder.  Then steam it for 25 minutes or until done.

Cuchinta is best served with cheese or freshly grated coconut as toppings.