Enjoy this easy and simple Bibingka recipe, a classic Filipino rice cake that will surely bring you the Filipino Christmas feels!December is here and Christmas is just around the corner! In the Philippines, Christmas season usually starts a tad earlier. People start to decorate as soon as the ‘-ber’ months arrive. That means you can start hearing Christmas songs as early as the first day of September. Where we live, you will also start seeing the bright and colorful lanterns along the streets and in front of many houses. Well, that is really no wonder because, San Fernando, Pampanga prides itself on being the Christmas Capital of the Philippines and the Home of the Giant Lanterns.
Another sign that Christmas is near is the many delicious traditional Christmas food! One of the best seller at this time of the year is the Bibingka! Traditionally, it is made from freshly milled rice (galapong) and coconut milk or water. It is then cooked or baked using clay pots heated with charcoals at the top and bottom. This is still done up to this day by the Bibingka or kakanin seller with various stands along the streets. I should take pictures next time I am out to buy some.
But this Bibingka recipe is, of course, the easier version and baked in my oven. It took me three trials before I was able to achieve what I think is good enough and worth sharing on this blog. In the first round, I used purely rice flour and it turned out to be too grainy and crumbly. Then I decided to add a bit of flour to soften the texture. It was almost a success but it was still a bit too dry. I tried to remember how the batter from our bibingka vendor looked like and I remembered thinking how runny the batter was. So I increased the liquids and I think it is a bullseye!
By the way, I used similar aluminum molds I used to make Mamon. They are just the right height and size but any oven-safe shallow pan should do.
Armin loved it but since he only had Bibingka on two separate occasions since we got back in the Philippines, I thought of looking for more qualified critics. So, I brought some to my parents and asked them for feedback. Papa loved it! Mama, unfortunately, has a new set of dentures and cannot eat anything at the moment (whew!) so two out of two sounds to be a good score. Make that three, including me!
This Bibingaka recipe was actually requested by one of our readers, Mylene who works in Doha, Qatar. I bet you are missing our Bibingka from home so here you go and I hope you like it!
- grated cheese
- grated coconut
- 1 salted egg - cut into 8 to 12 thin slices
- butter - melted at room temperature for brushing
- Cut circles from the banana leaves for lining the pans. It should be double the size in diameter of the pans/molds or enough to cover the bottom and sides with a bit of excess as they tend to shrink when heated. Cut another batch of banana leaves for the top cover. Rinse and pat dry the banana leaves. Run each leaf quickly over the fire to make them limb and pliable.
- Line the pans/molds with banana leaves and brush them with butter. Set aside.
- Combine all the ingredients for the batter in a bowl and mix well with a spoon or whisk until mixture becomes smooth. The batter should normally be runny.
- Divide the mixture into the pans/molds. Be sure not to fill more than half of each pan/mold with the mixture as it will rise while baking. Add 2-3 slices of salted egg on each. Arrange them on the baking sheet and bake at 200°C/390°F in the middle rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven. Place prepared banana sheets brushed with butter on top of each pan/mold with the buttered part facing down. Put them back in the oven but this time on the top rack. If using a gas oven, turn on the top heat (grill/broil function). Bake for another 5 minutes or until nicely charred.
- Once done, remove from oven and brush each Bibingka with butter. Then top them with grated cheese and grated coconut. Serve while warm!