Literally minutes after we finished our wonderful lunch at 21, we arrived at the home of Tita MM, where she had assembled several local delicacies for us to sample. Also present were a slew of shopping bags filled with various ingredients, as well as Tita MM’s family cook of nearly 50(!) years and another Manang, to show us how to make several local delicacies. Frankly, I thought we would literally burst at this point, but it is amazing how much one’s stomach can expand when challenged. First order of business was how to make bicho-bicho with a muscovado and coconut glaze. If you haven’t had these puffy, delicious, fatty, sticky, chewy and sweet fried dumplings with coconut, you are missing out on something wickedly good. And if you try it minutes after it is made, it’s absolutely wonderful!
Manang Liiia rattled off her heirloom recipe off the top of her head. I do not include detailed measurements here as I don’t want to give her recipe completely away. But with these steps, if you experiment, you will develop a wonderful version of your own.
Soak malagkit overnight and have in ground up at the market. Add shredded butong or young coconut along with some wheat flour and a touch of coconut cream and mix this all by hand lightly. No heavy mashing of the “dough” required.
Roll these in your floured or oiled palms into “three-bite-sized” dumplings and drop into a pot of boiling water. You know the dumplings are done when they float up to the surface of the water. Remove gently with a strainer and place of a pan or rack to drain a bit. Finish boiling all of the dumplings.
In another pan, heat up some vegetable oil and fry the boiled dumplings over medium-high heat until they turn a golden brown color. They will be crisp on the outside and chewy inside.
They will be risp on the outside but still chewy and airy inside. They are very good this way if you are watching your sugar intake. Or you could sprinkle them with some powdered sugar if you like. But you MUST take them totally over the top and taste them with this…
…make a muscovado coconut cream glaze with sesame seeds and coating the freshly fried bicho-bicho and serving them hot. Let them cool for a few minutes on your merienda or dessert plate and dig in. Heaven. Dessert with soul. So simple and yet so incredibly satisfying. Daghang salamat Manang Lilia! :)