10 Dec2010


This post on biko was first published on 20 December 2007, but I am re-posting it here for the benefit of folks who haven’t previously come across it, and who are at looking for a classic, delicious but relatively simple kakanin to make for yourselves or for gifts this holiday season.

If you will recall, Manang Lima is the fabulous lady who shared her recipe for budbud kabog with us last year, then appeared in the non-attributed article in Mabuhay Magazine last month, and has since been super busy with orders for her budbud kabog. After she picked up a copy of the magazine that I had set aside for her, she brought a FANTASTIC dark, rich and sweet biko that was much better than most of the bikos I have ever tasted. This was also slighty chewy with a few crunchy bits from the bottom of the pan with a terrific latik spread on top. I didn’t have my camera at the time, so I didn’t get a photo of the biko, but Manang Lima immediately rattled off the ingredients she used and said it was really easy to make so I was hoping I could replicate it at home. So here is the recipe she gave me, though mine turned out a little less dark than hers and I will explain why below…

Biko a la Lima

2 kilos pilit (sticky or glutinous rice)
2 kilos of already grated coconut
about 6-7 cups of water
1.5 kilos of central (dark brown sugar, muscovado would do nicely)

For the topping:

1 kilo of already grated coconut
3-4 cups of water
1/2 kilo of central (dark brown sugar)
1 can condensed milk


Pre-soak rice grains for several hours to soften them a bit, then steam the sticky rice until cooked. Already at this point the rice that you used can dramatically change the moisture and texture of the final product. Next add the water to the grated coconut and smush it all up until you extract about 6 cups of coconut milk, which you need to strain before using. You may have to add a little more water to get to the coconut to end up with 6 cups of coconut milk total. Heat up the coconut milk until boiling and reduced, then add the dark brown sugar and reduce a bit, and add the steamed sticky rice until well blended and at the moisture level you like. Here you can decided if you want to cook it till it “crisps” up a bit or keep it soft and pliable.


For the topping, make about 3 cups of coconut milk and heat it up in a pan until boiling, then add brown sugar and lower the heat and stir, then add the condensed milk and stir until thickened but still very spreadable. Place this diabetics nightmare spread on top of the biko and voila! Biko a la Manang Lima! Our version tasted delicious, but I didn’t have muscovado in the house so it was a little blonder than I wanted it to be, it was also a touch sweeter because the light brown sugar is sweeter than muscovado… However, it is the perfect kakanin to have around for the holidays, and not so difficult to make at all… A great starter kakanin for novice kakanin cooks, if you ask me!



  1. kakusina says:

    Galantina, MM?

    Dec 10, 2010 | 9:41 am


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  3. Quillene Petite says:

    Thanks for sharing Manang Lima’s biko recipe, MM! But what does it have to do with the galantina post? :D

    Dec 10, 2010 | 9:51 am

  4. Marketman says:

    The perils of cutting and pasting… sorry, galantina replaced with biko… thanks for catching that.

    Dec 10, 2010 | 9:57 am

  5. meekerz says:

    Around how many trays/ servings does this recipe make? And are those banana leaves? Kakanin newbie here, but would love to try this soon.

    Dec 10, 2010 | 10:38 am

  6. Marketman says:

    meekerz, shucks, I don’t recall number of pans, but roughly 3 I would guess, 8×12 inches in size, but I could be wrong. And yes, banana leaves are a nice touch, for fragrance/flavor, but not essential.

    Dec 10, 2010 | 12:35 pm

  7. renee says:

    I love kakanin! The craze right now in the house is for white calamay, some far relative brought some and they were spectacular! Still trying to replicate but your post gave me ideas on other kakanin to make for the holidays.
    Thanks MM!

    Dec 10, 2010 | 12:55 pm

  8. Bijin says:

    thanks for reposting! gosh why does it say I’m in China???

    Dec 10, 2010 | 1:18 pm

  9. Bubut says:

    i’ve cooked this using MM’s recipe and it was so delicious…

    Dec 10, 2010 | 1:30 pm

  10. Anything Under the Sun says:

    my husband Rey loves bico.

    Dec 10, 2010 | 2:38 pm

  11. lalaine says:

    bijin, it happens to me too… thanks for re-posting this MM. have not come across this post yet.

    Dec 10, 2010 | 3:19 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    Bijin, it means your ISP sometimes or always uses a main server in China. Sometimes, if folks log in from work, the companies have main servers in other countries…

    Dec 10, 2010 | 4:03 pm

  13. bambina says:

    Pardon my ignorance MM, do i soak the sticky rice in water prior to steaming?

    Dec 10, 2010 | 10:08 pm

  14. Big Al says:

    Bambina, I could be wrong but what MM meant for steaming is cook the sticky rice like what you normally do with the rice, use a rice cooker – tulad sa pagluto ng kanin.

    Dec 10, 2010 | 11:45 pm

  15. jhaz says:

    Thank you for sharing MM , I will definitely try this Biko.MM, Will it be fine to add some ripe langka?

    Dec 11, 2010 | 1:03 am

  16. kim says:

    thanks for reposting, MM … my 1st attempt of biko was a complete disaster ! will try this next week just in time for potluck at work … hopefully this one will be a success, otherwise will bring store bought dessert again :'(

    Dec 11, 2010 | 1:44 am

  17. Marketman says:

    bambina, thank you for that intelligent question. If I recall correctly, we soaked the rice for a couple of hours to soften it, then actually steamed it (in a steamer) rather than boiled it in water. If you don’t soak the rice, it takes much longer to cook, and sometimes cooks unevenly. Others do just cook the rice as you would normal rice, but I find that gets kinda heavy. Steaming is a bit more of a hassle, but can yield a nicer result, in my opinion.

    Dec 11, 2010 | 6:44 am

  18. Angela says:

    This looks fabulous but I think I would keel over from a diabetic coma. My endocrinologist would definitely not approve. I won’t tell if you don’t ;)

    Dec 12, 2010 | 2:45 pm

  19. chinky says:

    MM, when you steam, do you use an electric steamer or do you use a bamboo steamer on the stovetop? When steaming, do you place the malagkit on banana leaves or on a plate?

    Dec 13, 2010 | 8:23 pm

  20. Marketman says:

    We use a steamer on the stovetop. Put soaked rice in the steamer (a few grains may fall through the holes) and let it steam until cooked, you may need to stir them a bit carefully to cook evenly…

    Dec 13, 2010 | 9:44 pm

  21. Ryan says:

    can you use cheesecloth while steaming?

    Dec 14, 2010 | 3:57 am

  22. netoy says:

    Hi MM – how many cups would a 2-kilo of glutinous rice be? that would be 4.4 lbs, but i still am not able to translate that into cups. this question also pertains to how much cup of brown sugar is 1/2 kilo? if i use the canned coconut milk (as we don’t have the grated coconut here), will the proportion be still the same, i.e., 6 cups? thanks so much for this recipe. at least we will be able to prepare something close to what we have when we were young and in our native land.. merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

    Dec 14, 2010 | 5:14 am

  23. Joy says:

    ohh that looks so good. I have been craving sticky rice.

    Dec 14, 2010 | 11:12 am

  24. Joy says:

    ohh that looks so good. I have been craving sticky rice.

    Dec 14, 2010 | 11:12 am

  25. Mimi says:

    Made Manang Lima’s 1/2 recipe and only used 500 grams of raw brown sugar. I started soaking the 1 kilo malagkit yesterday. Today I steamed the rice in a cheesecloth in my bamboo steamer, the rice grains would fall through the slats, so I wrapped them in a wet cheesecloth first. After 30 minutes of super high steaming, I dumped the rice in my bubbling gata mixture, with 4 torn pandan leaves for better aroma. When the rice absorbed all the gata, I removed the pandan. Then transferred to a banana leaf-lined tray. Made the latik afterwards. I was happy with the result as it was ‘makunat’ but perfectly cooked, although I was searching for a ‘blacker’ topping like old Aling Nora would peddle on our street…the topping was very, very dark and glossy and would crack, I am thinking now that it was pure Muscovado or panocha without gata. My husband loves it though. I am now wondering how to keep it until tomorrow without refrigeration because my amigas won’t be here until noon. Takot ako titigas ang biko sa fridge.

    Dec 14, 2010 | 8:48 pm

  26. meekerz says:

    I made Manang Lima’s biko too last night for our office merienda party today. I wouldn’t outright call it a success, but it wasn’t bad for a first attempt at kakanin.

    I was panicking while making the biko. It had a lugaw consistency and I was worried I’d end up with biko ala lugaw. After a LONG while stirring, I finally got it right. My topping turned out very malabnaw, even after a really looong simmer trying to get it to thicken. Perhaps both problems can be attributed to too much water in my coconut/ coconut cream.

    Results is a gooey but yummy biko ala Manang Lima :)

    Dec 16, 2010 | 3:05 pm

  27. Mimi says:

    In my web searches for today’s Jessica Soho gingerbread episode, I found the latik topping I was looking for under Jessica’s feature on Kakanin. Aling Kika’s of Cainta’s biko looks like the one! I’ll have to ask my sister to buy some as pasalubong.

    Dec 18, 2010 | 9:45 pm

  28. Angel says:


    Dec 19, 2010 | 3:26 pm


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