Ginataang Bilo bilo (or Ginataang Halo-halo) is a popular merienda (afternoon snack) to us Filipinos. It is made of glutinous or sticky rice balls, plantain bananas, sweet potatoes and tapioca pearls cooked in coconut milk, to make it more special, jack fruit is also usually added. It is sweet and delicious and can be eaten either hot or cold.
When we were young, I remember my mama would buy freshly grounded glutinous rice from the local marketplace. She will have to buy the glutinous rice from the rice vendor herself and bring it to the grinder afterwards. Nowadays you can buy a bag of glutinous or sticky rice flour and just add water into it and they are ready to use.
Do not laugh but I have to say that it was my first time to see orange sweet potatoes, back home they are usually off-white to yellowish or even purple, they looked weird to me at first and it was like I was cooking squash or pumpkin instead but it tasted just like the sweet potatoes I know. Too bad though I was not able to find jack fruit so I was not able to add some. I have to ask the other Filipinas around where they get it because I am fairly sure someone brought this dessert to us when we had a Filipino get-together one time and hers had jack fruits in it. Of course it could only be in a can unless she was able to bring it directly from the Philippines.
- 2 cups glutinous rice flour
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 cups water
- 2 can coconut milk/cream
- 11/2 cup tapioca pearls, cooked
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 big sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 plantain bananas ( or 1 big), peeled and cubed
- 1½ cup jack fruit, sliced
- Prepare the sticky rice balls by adding 1 cup of water to 2 cups glutinous rice flour. Mix with a fork until it forms a dough. Scoop about half a spoon of the dough and form them into balls using your palms. Set them aside.
- In a pot, combine 2 cups water, coconut milk and sugar and bring to boil. Add the sweet potato cubes and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. If using uncooked tapioca pearls you may also add it at this point. Next add the plantain banana cubes and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- Once the sweet potatoes and bananas are almost cooked, add the sticky rice balls one at a time and let simmer until they are cooked (about 5-8 minutes) while stirring occasionally. You know the sticky balls are done when they are floating.
- Add the jack fruit slices (if using cooked tapioca pearls, add it at this point). Let simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until all fruits are tender and cooked.
- Serve hot or cold.
While cooking, you may need to add more water if it is getting too thick.