Get that perfect sticky chewiness all the time with this easy Biko recipe. Topped with delicious coconut caramel sauce or latik that will make you want for more.
What is Biko?
Biko (pronounced bee-koh), a rice cake, is a native Filipino delicacy or 'kakanin' where glutinous rice is cooked with coconut milk and brown sugar then topped Latik. The latik can be either in curd form or syrup. Traditionally, biko is served on a bilao, a round wooden bamboo tray, lined with coconut-oiled banana leaves, and is a popular dessert for every special occasion like birthdays, reunions and fiestas.
It is well-loved throughout the country and known different names. Bibingkang malagkit is one and it is Sinukmani to the Southern Tagalog regions. We grew up calling it simply kalamay.
What do you need to make Biko Kalamay?
You will need only 4 basic ingredients to make this delicacy: glutinous rice, coconut milk, water, and brown sugar. You can either top it with latik curds or latik syrup, that is made by combining coconut and brown sugar.
The color of your biko will depend mainly on the brown sugar used. If you are trying to get that rich brown color then use a really dark brown sugar or muscovado. Brown sugar also varies in sweetness so you might have to adjust according to your preference.
Adding pandan leaves while cooking the rice will give it nice aroma and flavor. I also added a bit of vanilla extract to the latik syrup to make it extra delicious. Believe me, it is spoon-licking good, I could eat it on its own.
How to make Biko?
I found that there are several ways to cook it. The most common way is by cooking the glutinous rice first like you do regular rice. Then it will be added to the coconut caramel later.
There is also another way that an old friend taught me. He simply put the ingredients for the biko together in a rice cooker and that is it. Practical if you do not have time and just want a quick snack.
For this recipe I went with the more traditional way. But instead of just boiling the sticky rice in water, I boiled it in coconut milk with water and pandan leaves so it can absorb the flavors right from the beginning.
Here are some tips to make a perfectly chewy biko with perfect latik topping
Making this sticky rice cake is really very easy. But one simple mistake and it can turn mushy or uncooked.
- When you steam the rice make sure that you do not add too much water. It is not supposed to be completely cooked at this point. Doing so may result in the grains to break when cooked later which will give you a paste-like consistency instead of chewy whole grains.
- It is fine to give it a stir or two in the first part of cooking the rice to prevent the bottom from burning. However, avoid over stirring because, again, it will result in mushy rice.
- When the rice is added to the latik syrup, gently fold the rice to coat them completely. Let the rice absorb the liquid while stirring from time to time. Do this until all grains are cooked and have expanded and very sticky.
- The length of time to bake the biko depends on how thick the latik caramel topping is, it might take more than 20-30 minutes if it is a thick layer. Just wait that it turns bubbly and no longer gooey.
Biko Recipe (Filipino Rice Cake)
TO COOK RICE
- 2 cups glutinous rice - washed and drained
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 pieces pandan leaves
- 2 cups canned coconut milk
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- vegetable or coconut oil - for greasing the pan
- Generously grease an 8x8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, mix together the 1 cup coconut milk and 1cup water. Add the glutinous rice and pandan leaves. Bring to a simmer then turn heat to low and cover. Let it cook until all liquids are absorbed. The rice should only be almost cooked at this point.
- While waiting, prepare the latik syrup by combining the 2 cups coconut milk and 1 cup dark brown sugar on a large pan or pot. Cook over medium heat while constantly stirring until the liquid thickens into a camarel.
- Scoop and reserve ½ cup of the latik syrup for the topping later. Add the cooked rice without the pandan leaves to tha pan with the remaining latik syrup. Gently fold the sticky rice and the syrup until completely coated. Cook while stirring from time to time until the rice completely absorbs the syrup and the rice is fully cooked.
- Transfer the rice into the greased pan and spread out evenly. Pour the reserved latik syrup on spread evenly on top of the rice. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F/180°C for 20-30 minutes or until the latik is reduced and becomes bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let it cool down. Cut into squares and serve.
This biko recipe was originally published on August 2016. Updated on May 2020 to include new photos and recipe video and improve the recipe itself.
Is it okay po ba without the pandan leaves or may marecommend po ba kayo na alternative for that? Thank you ☺️
You can skip it if wala ka on hand...it only adds a nice aroma to it.
Everytime I crave for biko, this is my go to recipe. So yummy. Baked on 180deg for 35minutes and it's perfect 😀 I tried regular raw sugar and didn't like the result so had to remake it again with the dark brown sugar. Patience in cooking the latik is a must.
I was so excited to give this a try because it reminds me of my childhood! While it was delicious I must have done something wrong because it wasn’t solid enough once I cut into it. It sort of collapsed. Also, the Latik took forever to caramelize and it must have been because I only had regular brown sugar, not dark. Also I wonder if i didn’t allow the rice to absorb enough liquid before adding to the latik or once it was folded in. I think if you could add the estimated time per step?
Hi Shiela, it could be a different factor and not just the timing. Maybe the rice used didn't absorb the water well and maybe you can try to use lesser water next time. It should not be fully cooked so it can absorb more liquid when you add the latik syrup. Did you read the tips also?
Tried it the second time. The first time was a bit bland. I only have light brown sugar so I added a bit more of it and more time boiling the latik. Baked in the oven for 25mins then top heat broiler for 3mins. It taste perfect the second time around! Will definitely make more of this in the next few days.
Love all your recipes esp the Biko recipe! Thank you for sharing! Love it!!
Benjamina Schaaf says
Thanks for great recipes
Gladys Esquibel says
Thank you for your recipe....
Awesome recipes me and my family enjoy it . Thank you 👍❤️🍷
Kristina C. says
First time trying to make this. So good!!! Turned out perfect!
I’m half Filipino and I’m finally getting into cooking Filipino food lol
That is always great to hear, I think it is the time to make Filipino food to be known to the whole world. 🙂 Keep it up!
looks so delicious,.i will dare to try it. love it.
Second time using this recipe and it turned out amazing again. Absolutely love the texture of the finished product and love this it is also not too sweet! Thank you:)
This has always been one of my favorite Filipino desserts! I am so glad I’m able to make it at home now. This recipe is great!
I’ve made it several times already and has been complimented at our parties. I
add an extra 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar to the latik to make it just a bit sweeter (for those who prefer it more sweet) and using organic unsweetened coconut milk and PATIENTLY letting it simmer made the latik darker and thicker! The organic unsweetened coconut milk was mostly cream but for some reason it made the latik more caramelized. Maybe someone here can give the same a try.
Thank you so much for this recipe! It was so easy to follow!
I love this kind of cooking of biko. Thanks Foxy.
Not sure what I did wrong. I boiled the syrup and it didn’t carmelized
What happened to it? It did not thicken to a sauce?
A gem! Thanks for the recipes and the tips - it made for a great New Year’s dish. I cooked more of the latik syrup asI love that sticky topping. It was delish.
Vernie Winter says
I will try to make this on Sunday , seems easy enough hope everyone will like it ,
This was bomb. My family said it’s better than what we get at the filipino store. I cooked the rice with the latik, coconut milk and water. I couldn’t get pandan leaves and it was still delicious.
simple yet yummy
Hello. Is it okay to use long grain sweet rice? Or is it supposed to be the short grain sweet rice?
As long as it is glutinous rice.
What cup size did you use to measure the rice? Regular measuring cup or the rice cooker cup?
Use a proper measuring cup.
Do you soak the rice before cooking?
You can if you have the time but you can also skip it if time is tight.
Doing this recipe every time I cooked biko 👍👍👍
Yuyi Blanca says
Hiya, I made this yesterday because my daughter keeps nagging me to make biko so I came across your recipe and tried it and it was so good ,yummy and simple to make and my daughter loved it .Thank you for sharing your recipe .
Glad you and your daughter like it, Mercy!
Thanks for this recipe. I’d never tried this before but saw a picture of it once and thought it sounded delicious. Your recipe worked beautifully and it was every bit as nice as I imagined. I will try other Filipino dessert recipes to see what else I have been missing.
I am glad to have introduced you to the delicious world of Filipino desserts. Enjoy!😘
I have made this a couple of times since finding this recipe, and it’s fabulous! Thank you so much!
Our pleasure, Lisa.
I am learning how to cook, so this will be my first dessert to try. Thanks for the recipe!
Hope you like it, Doug.
Khorfakkan Travel says
Looks so yummy! Easy recipe, we'll try at home.
2021 and first time making this recipe 😊 really glad to learn how to make it.. thanks for sharing your recipe and making it easy for us to take a piece of home with us.
It is never too late to learn and I am happy that you like our recipe, Kathy!
I love bico but have never attempted to make it until I found this recipe and topped it off with toasted coconut flakes. I dont have to travel to the nearest Filipino store to satisfy my cravings. Now, I just need to add on extra minutes on my stationary bike! 😉 Will definitely look thru the rest of your recipes. Thank you.
Thank you for your great comment, Murl and I am happy you like it. Stay fit and safe and Keep that stationary bike running😊!
annie Estrada says
I’ve tried this and it’s pretty easy to follow. Taste great! The latik part though does not look like the picture even if I use dark brown sugar it’s not coming out as thick.. maybe I wasn’t patient enough.. over all great!
Thanks for your nice comment, Annie. Use coconut cream and yes maybe you just need to wait a bit longer.😉
Makes me hungry, I'll make this tonight! Thank you for sharing your recipe! God bless!
Hope you like it, Liezle.
Hi, can green colored pandan extract be used in place of the pandan leaves? Thank you for the recipe!
You can just skip it but if you really like then add some drops of it.
Does this have to be refrigerated?
Hi Sai, do mean if there is leftover? It should be fine outside the fridge for a day. Refrigerating it would dry it out and will not have the same texture even if reheated.
We call this "malagkit" in our region. our biko version doesn't have an extra latik topping. instead, we put roughly grounded peanuts on top. we also add anis for the extra flavor. Nevertheless, I'm glad to find a malagkit recipe online. Thank you so much for teaching your technique. I could already taste it.
Ground peanut toppings sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing that!
I tried this too but mine needed more than 2cups of liquid. I ended up putting more like around 5cups total of liquid. I don’t know what happened and how my malagkit rice was so thirtsy for liquid! 😅
Teresita M. Pedro says
Perfect ! Just watching only makes me my eagerness to eat..looks very yummy...I like biko,I like to eat biko...one of my favorite filipino delicacies. 💖💖💖👌👌👌
Mine too! 😘
Tere Nerida says
Love this recipe! It’s very close to my MILs, which made me miss her even more!!💕
Glad you like it, Tere.
Hi there. I noticed at the beginning you said an old friend put all in a rice cooker.
Is that all your ingredients in the list including the Latik part?
So in the rice cooker would be rice, 3x coconut milk, 1 water, sugar??
No, you only add the latik when the biko is cooked.
Thank you for sharing your recipes. I made Biko for the first time and it is really good. I love that the serving size is just enough. Happy new year! Made this for media noche.
I made it and it was the superstar of the table thank you so much for sharing ❤️
You are welcome, Leah.
Shane Mara G. says
SIMPLY DELICIOUS!!! The kids kept saying, "yummy!" I'll be making this again...
Aaaww...music to my ears! Thanks Shane.