Saturday, August 10, 2013

Palitaw: Floating Rice Cake

   My daughter once came to me asking for P 10.00, since I was busy on my laptop, I just instantly grabbed a number of coins and gave it to her, then she ran away leaving me a tad guilty.  I know she will be buying something to eat outside the house but I'm afraid what it might be.  Then she came home holding a cut of banana leaf.  With my eyes stuck on her as she slowly stridden toward her favorite sitting spot I saw her licking something inside the banana leaf and I knew then that what she had been delighting on was my favorite childhood snack-palitaw.

   Seeing her liking the confection a lot while happily telling me the story of how she saw the "manang" who was selling them atop a "bilao" (tray  basket for winnowing rice chaff and used to sell stuff in the rural areas), it gave me this notion of trying to make some.

   For one, I don't know where the ingredients could have come from or how it was made, I'm not an OC mom, but I'm a "segurista" and I need to make sure that my kids are not only eating healthy, they should only be eating clean food.

   So, since I've no one to ask about how to make it and I'm sure this "Manang" (old lady) would not share the recipe either, I researched in the internet.  Then, realizing that it was easy to make it.

   But there are things you may want to consider first before trying to make it at home.

1.  What is PALITAW?

   Palitaw is a well-known Philippine delicacy eaten as a snack or dessert, in a white oval or circular, flat sugary form.  Derived from the Filipino word “litaw”, which means “to float or to surface," its a scientific phenomenon on its own.  Good thing my daughter hasn't asked me why it floats once its cooked.

   Palitaw is originally made washed, soaked, ground sticky rice or “kaning malagkit” – however, some use glutinous rice flour or any packaged rice flour to minimize the time in grinding and soaking the sticky rice and because it is more efficient. It is made by simply mixing the rice flour and water until a dough is formed. The dough is divided into small pieces then manually molded into a ball-shape figure and flattened. The flattened dough is cooked in boiling water until they float – an indication that they’re done. Once cooked, it will be dipped in grated young coconut, toasted sesame seeds and sugar.

   In my case I used a premier kind of glutinous rice, the Sung-Sung Premium Aromatic Malagkit Rice from Sunnywood's Jordan Farms.   Using my  Magic Bullet, I pulverized 2 cups  of rice.

2.  Make sure to have every ingredients ready at hand before starting to cook the rice patties.

3.  This is quite a messy project, so back off if you are not ready  to getting your hands dirty.

4.  I'm used to playing around in the kitchen, especially, when I'm out of certain ingredients.  Sometimes the outcome is not what you would expect it, but thank God more often than not, the outcome is still edible.

   The recipe calls for sesame seeds, either white or black.  However, because it's FIBA season and my guy isn't up to leaving the house to witness every basketball match, I've resorted to using black Chia seeds.  Though I still would prefer sesame seeds over Chia, for the fact that, it's aromatic and gives out a subtle nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness and it also gives off an oily and shiny effect to the palitaw.

What is CHIA?

   Chia is touted by some health-enthusiasts as a "miracle seed" from the plant scientifically known as salvia hispanica.  It's jam-packed with powerful nutritional punch into a very small serving. In a single tablespoon, you get six grams of fiber, three grams of protein and 2.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia is often considered the richest plant-based source of dietary fiber, protein, antioxidants and Omega-3’s.  A superfood indeed!

   To know more about Chia and it's health benefits read here:

   So why not, I just needed to consider the nutritional value it will give us over the tastefulness of the sesame seeds, though you still get that crunch from the sesame seeds.

   So here is the recipe...

Pandan Palitaw 


2 Cups glutinous rice flour or ground malagkit rice
1 Cup water
1 Teaspoon Pandan flavor or 4 medium sized pandan leaves (optional)
2 Cups grated coconut
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup sesame seeds or 1/8 cup Chia seeds, toasted


1.  Boil water in a pot, drop a teaspoon of pandan flavor or fresh leaves.
2.  Put rice flour in a mixing bowl, slowly add water until reaching the right consistency
3.  Dough should hold together and separate cleanly from the bowl.
4.  Pinch off about 2 tablespoons and form it into a ball between the palms.
5.  Flatten into a patty, about 1 1/2  inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick.
6.  Poach the flattened dough into the pot of briskly boiling water.
7.  Boil until they rise and float to the top, about 1 to 3 minutes.  In my case, I made it stay longer up to 7 mins, making sure the middle is cooked.
8.  Scoop them out with a wire mesh skimmer and drain.
9.  Roll the rice patties in coconut and then on a plate with mixed Chia or sesame seeds and sugar.
10. Enjoy!

If you want more recipes, you may want to click on the Recipe category or visit my old recipe blog at Recipes from my humble kitchen.


I would love to hear your thoughts on my post, care for a comment?