Learn to make this easy Biko recipe with latik, a Filipino rice cake dessert made of glutinous rice (sweet rice), coconut milk and brown sugar topped with latik or caramel coconut topping. Biko also known as sinukmani is a well loved snack in the Philippines.
The easiest way to make biko is to cook the glutinous rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. It will save you time and effort from stirring and it renders a chewier biko. Rice can be steamed as well. The other method is simmering the glutinous rice along with the coconut milk and brown sugar.
In the Philippines, glutinous rice is easily available while in other parts of the world you can find it in Filipino or Asian stores labeled “sweet rice”.
Biko’s color can be light or dark depending on your preference, but texture and taste remains the same. For a darker biko, use muscovado sugar, panutsa or dark brown sugar otherwise use light brown sugar for a lighter biko.
We visited El Nido Palawan early this year, while waiting for our flight back to Manila they served refreshments and snacks. One of the dessert was biko sliced bite-size in big aluminum trays. Texture and taste were great, not overly sweet and not too coconuty. Even foreigners were munching on it. I think it was a great idea to cut it bite size. You know the feeling when eating something rich even though it’s delicious you can’t eat it anymore. In this case, nothing went to waste and there was enough for everyone.
If you notice, my lighter biko was thick. I don't suggest a thick big slice but I was traveling and taking it with me. My mom’s favorite plus I wanted to share it with family. I transferred it in zip lock bags but it was still too heavy to hand carry. Also, even though I am TSA pre-checked, every time I carry food I get searched. I can check it in with my luggage but I don’t want food with my clothes plus I feel safer to carry it, as no one can tamper with it. Some people are crazy, you never know. My brother has mentioned many times to stop bringing food as it is heavy so he calls me stubborn. Well, this is the last time I am carrying food. If it is 5 pounds or less, I might.
How to Make Biko Recipe
- Wash glutinous rice twice in rice cooker pot and fully drain water. Add water and soak for 4 hours before cooking for a chewier sticky rice. After soaking, cook rice.
- If you wash rice, add 2 ¼ cups water
- If you did not wash rice, add 2 ½ cups water
- While rice is soaking, prepare latik or coconut curd, it can be prepared ahead of time to get it out of the way. Link for latik recipe is down below.
- When rice is almost done cooking, in a deep skillet or pot, preferably non-stick, combine coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, simmer until reduced and thick.
- Add glutinous rice to coconut mixture. Blend well, stirring constantly until no more liquid is visible and it starts to form into one sticky mixture about 30 minutes or so.
- Run banana leaves on stove and line pan (optional). Lightly grease leaves with latik oil, otherwise grease pan.
- Transfer cooked biko into pan. Spread evenly, lightly grease top with latik oil, cut into pieces and top with latik. Enjoy!
Tips in Making Biko with Latik
- This biko recipe doesn’t call for too much coconut milk as it can be overpowering plus latik is also made of coconut milk.
- I prefer a less sweet biko but you can always add another ¼ to ½ cup of brown sugar for a sweeter dessert.
- If serving for 10 people, double the recipe, spread glutinous rice mixture with latik on an aluminum serving tray instead. Slice biko bite-size or small pieces.
Try other Delicious Filipino Desserts or Kakanin
For Latik Recipe, click the link.
Easy Biko Recipe
- 2 cups glutinous rice sweet rice
- 2 ¼ cups water if rice was washed otherwise 2 ½ cups
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar or muscovado sugar (increased by ¼ to ½ cup for sweeter biko)
- 1 can 13.5 fl oz, 400 ml coconut milk
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ to ½ cup latik
- Place glutinous rice in rice cooker pot and wash twice. Fully drain water.
- Add 2 ¼ cups water, cover and soak for 4 hours.
- After soaking, turn on rice cooker.
- When rice is almost cook, in a pot or deep skillet, preferably non-stick, combine coconut milk, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until reduced and thick.
- Add the cooked glutinous rice in the coconut milk/sugar mixture. Stir constantly until well blended. Keep stirring until coconut milk mixture is absorbed by rice and it forms into one sticky mixture about 30 minutes or so.
- If using banana leaves, run it in the stove to soften then lightly grease with latik oil otherwise grease pan.
- Use a pan or pyrex measuring 7 ½ x 5 ½ (biko - 2 inches thick) or small tray 9 ½ x 13 (biko - 1 inch thick). This is a small amount of serving, you need to double the recipe if you want more than 6 servings.
- Spread biko evenly and lightly grease the top with latik oil. Slice and top with latik. Enjoy
- For much sweeter biko, add another ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar.
- Refrigerate any leftover. It will harden a bit, microwave a piece for 10 to 15 seconds.
- If you recently made Suman sa Lihiya, any leftover coconut caramel sauce can be added to the mixture.