04 Mar2011


The crew made benignit or guinataan one afternoon for merienda. With Sister in residence, they wanted to make the benignit with all the bells and whistles, and that meant crafting their own bilo-bilo or glutinous rice flour balls. Bilo-bilo are added to the coconut cream, root crop and fruit stew and they serve to add volume, texture and starch to thicken the stew to just the desired consistency. I assumed they simply bought this in the market, this was the first time I had seen them made from scratch…


First take a cup of glutinous rice flour…


…add 5-6 tablespoons of water and knead until smooth…


…you may add some ube flavoring with a touch of food coloring if you desire…


…take a small pice of simple dough and roll them between your palms until you have a small ball.


The resulting benignit that day was excellent. Sometimes everything just comes together and the proportion of ingredients used were really nicely balanced and the stew thick but overly so.



  1. betty q. says:

    If you have any leftover bilo-bilo dough, a nice variation MM would be stuffed bilo-bilo ( with ube haleya or sweetened langka). I learned this for our dear friend from LA…

    I like my ginataan with loooots of bili bilo. So, to make life easier, I divide the dough into quarters or thirds and roll each ball into a thin baston nd cut away to desired pieces and roll away. I can roll hundreds in no time at all!

    Mar 4, 2011 | 4:02 pm


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  3. Bubut says:

    wow! i love guinataang bilo-bilo. At Guadalupe market, you can buy the galapong per kilo and at the same time all the ingridients like ube, camote, saba and the grated coconut.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 4:13 pm

  4. u8mypinkcookies says:

    oh yummy, that’s my fave esp. in guinataang halo-halo. =)

    Mar 4, 2011 | 4:23 pm

  5. izang says:

    A staple in our house during the Halloween season. I don’t know why.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 5:23 pm

  6. Victoria says:

    Is that a Dansk plate?

    Mar 4, 2011 | 5:52 pm

  7. Chinky says:

    Pls share the proportions for the best benignly! Thanks, MM

    Mar 4, 2011 | 6:08 pm

  8. raquel says:

    love this! i would usually add a little sugar in the water first as i like my bilo bilo sweet.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 6:50 pm

  9. millet says:

    i love all things bilo-bilo. the trendy frozen and/or chocolate-covered mochi balls are in the same league!

    an ilonggo neighbor used to give us “inday-inday” during holy week. flattened pieces of this same dough cooked in coconut milk with sugar, pieces of tender buco and suha (pomelo) leaves to perfume the whole thing. needless to say, we looked forward to this on good fridays.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 6:58 pm

  10. millet says:

    that ube-flavored bilo-bilo looks good, MM. must try that sometime. also bettq’s stuffed bilo-bilo. ube balls stuffed with sweetened macapuno or langka sounds really good!

    Mar 4, 2011 | 7:00 pm

  11. krizteene says:

    im not sure if this ginataang bilo-bilo is also what we call “Sampelot” (Tarlac). This comfort food brings back so many memories because I remember helping my lola in rolling the dough when I was still a kid and we place them on a bilao until it’s time to put them in. She’d cook this whenever the entire Lim family comes over for the holidays. Come to think of it, today is my Lola’s 5th death anniversary. Miss you, lola! Thanks for posting this one, MM.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 8:01 pm

  12. jack says:

    wow ginataang bilobilo… namiss ko tuloy bigla si inang :(

    back in the province we would make bilobilo from scratch starting from the measuring of the glutinous rice, soaking in water for a few hours, grinding on the stone grinder and then making them into balls :) we put the balls in banana leaves which is easier to transfer to the pot.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 8:49 pm

  13. EbbaBlue says:

    I am now eating Ube Brochas for breakfast was quite satisfied, tapoe eto nakita ko itong post nyo today.. ayyy, as usual.. I am craving for what you got instead, especially the ube bilo-bilo. Ms. BettyQ, yes, I will follow your suggestions, I will make some stuffed bilo-bilo this weekend. Sarapppp….thank you, thank you…

    Mar 4, 2011 | 9:11 pm

  14. thelma says:

    guinataan is one of my favorites. it would be nice
    to make it this weekend. thanks, mm…

    Mar 4, 2011 | 9:56 pm

  15. kitchen says:

    Tip: Use Boiling water to mix with the glutinous rice flour… then stir with a wooden spoon till it forms into a ball, when cool enough to handle knead further and gradually adding more flour…. by doing this the balls are more stable to rest in a plate while waiting to be dropped in the boiling stew, and the cooked balls texture is much better. :)

    Mar 4, 2011 | 10:02 pm

  16. ka_fredo says:

    We call this “pinindot” in Batangas. There’s no set recipe, but my aunts’ version usually have langka, saba and small sago. They also put gabi. Its a very filling dish. Good meryenda for a busy afternoon.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 10:05 pm

  17. Nani Sy says:

    My family LOVES guinataan!!! I personally love bilo-bilo it is my favorite component of guinataan followed by sago, lanka, and saba. I don’t like purple yam and sweet potato.So whenever I eat guinataan the maids know that they should remove the purple yam and sweet potato before it is served.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 10:17 pm

  18. Mom-Friday says:

    beautiful bilo-bilo! :))) now i miss having ginataang halo-halo

    Mar 4, 2011 | 10:33 pm

  19. kai says:

    I remember these!

    My mom would task me to make the bilo-bilo, and I would make big ones and say those are reserved for me once they are cooked!

    She had a hefty guinataan: kamote, ube, gabi, langka, sago, landang, bilo-bilo and saging na saba in a thick coconut milk stew.

    It was so colorful too, white soup with violet ube, yellow langka, orange kamote, pale yellow saba and multi color sago and landang; a real treat during rainy days.

    Haaay, nakakamiss… she refuses to cook it nowadays because we’re too fat na daw. Ngek. Kainis… Hmm… malaman nga recipe nito para ako nalang magluto! :D

    Mar 4, 2011 | 10:56 pm

  20. Vettievette says:

    My grandmother’s bilo-bilo is the same as kai’s. Hands down one of my favorite desserts.

    Mar 4, 2011 | 11:31 pm

  21. satomi says:

    I love guinatan halo halo & bilo-bilo! I try to make some whenever I have time. Galapong is not available here in the U.S. so I use rice flour or Mochiko from Japan. I also use canned coconut cream.
    My grandmother (bless her soul) use to make her galapong from scratch. She soaks the glutinous rice overnight and grinds the soaked malagkit using a stone grinder and katcha to remove excess water.

    bettyq, I’ve tried stuffing my bilo-bilo w/ Red Bean paste & Ube. It’s to die for! I got the idea from the Japanese Mochi! Green Tea, Taro & Red Bean Mochi (ice cream) yummmy!!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 12:32 am

  22. betty q. says:

    Psychomom…your request….done …go back on MM’s Fried Rice post…you have got to make the Drunken Pickled Mangoes!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 12:51 am

  23. betty q. says:

    Fanny: your request is in MM’s Fried Rice post, too!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 1:13 am

  24. psychomom says:

    Bettyq: thank you once again for your generosity in sharing your recipes. will make them this weekend as i am not on call…yipee!!!!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 1:22 am

  25. tonceq says:

    The Bilo-bilo balls themselves brings about a ton of nostalgic memories where the sweet and thick soup is sipped for afternoon snacks or on rainy evenings! Funny enough though, the Palitao and Buchi that the packaging of the glutinoius rice flour suggests are pretty easy to make! Sometimes I even use chocolate as a stuffing for the buchi (just make sure the dough is thick enough because your gonna have exploding “balls”:)). You should try making buchi sometimes MM! but not while your on a diet though! :)

    Mar 5, 2011 | 1:36 am

  26. wisdom tooth says:

    wow, guinataan!! Daughter loves bilo-bilo. Betty Q, thanks for tips to easily mass-produced food items/ingredients to make life easier esp here in N America (bilo-bilo into thin baston and cut into desired size or using the icing bag for your suman to pipe onthe banana leaf, etc…). You just don’t know how much we’ve learned (both knowledge and skill) from you. Parati kitang inaabangan sa Comment section. Salamat…

    Mar 5, 2011 | 1:55 am

  27. lorraine says:

    here in sf bayarea, we are spoiled rotten and buy these things pre-made and frozen. :)

    Mar 5, 2011 | 2:01 am

  28. lorraine says:

    Hi, Kai.

    What is landang?

    Mar 5, 2011 | 2:55 am

  29. bearhug0127 says:

    Bilo-bilo will taste even better if you use coconut milk instead of using water when mixing the flour.

    And to BettyQ – am always looking forward to your comments – I learn a lot from you.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 5:13 am

  30. tenbreedmountaindog says:

    There are so many childhood recollections in the comments to MM”s postings, he would be the foodie equivalent of Dr Phil, lol.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 5:24 am

  31. chihirosen says:

    I miss this! Back when I was younger my lola would make ginataang bilo bilo for merienda. The next day we would have it for breakfast fresh from the refrigerator, it’s also good when eaten cold.
    Sometimes we would also make palitaw using the leftover galapong, we would crowd around the stove waiting for the palitaw to float :)

    Mar 5, 2011 | 5:36 am

  32. linda says:

    i know of a vietnamese lady who mixes some custard powder on her bilo bilo and it gives the latter a yellow tinge and a pleasant taste.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 5:53 am

  33. Gia Mayol says:

    oooh, I miss landang. Can’t seem to find it here in manila. but you can find it in most wet markets and big supermarkets in cebu.

    @lorraine: i think MM has a post on landang in the archives

    Mar 5, 2011 | 7:07 am

  34. ying says:

    MM, where can you buy glutinous rice flour? I’ve been looking for it in the supermarkets in the Alabang area but have not found any. Thanks for posting this!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 8:24 am

  35. nina says:

    ms. bett q., after stuffing the bilo bilo, how might i cook it? can i steam it or dunk in boiling water? i want to prepare it without the ginataan.

    Mar 5, 2011 | 9:12 am

  36. Mila says:

    Agh, it’s cold over here and a bowl of guinataan would be perfect right now. I remember eating all the langka and kamote first, and would save the bilo-bilo and sago for last, because I was a weird kid lol! Save the starch for last!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 9:37 am

  37. betty q. says:

    Nina…If you want to make it like Millet’s onde-onde or inday-inday I would dunk it in boiling water and roll in coconut like in palitao or pichi pichi……or make a coconut soup with just sago and let it cool and then add some small cubes of honeydew melon or cantaloupe and your stuffed bilo bilo. ….excellent dessert for summer! I prefer using half coconut milk and half whole milk for the soup part….Another way would be like the way they make mochi balls…cook the galapong like palitao and when cool enough to handle , put the stuffing (haleya or langka). Roll in freshly grated coconutwith sesame seeds. Do not make the mistake of draining it in serviettes or paper towels. Best is to use clean cloth towels!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 12:00 pm

  38. Junb says:

    Here in Singapore they do have a similar like bilo bilo with a stuffing of red bean, peanut or purple yam which are commonly sold on Chinese dessert store. The Malay dessert are more closely related our ginataang halo halo which they called Bo Bo cha cha.


    The Malays also have a varieties of dessert that looks and taste like our bike, sum an etc…


    Mar 5, 2011 | 1:11 pm

  39. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Yummmmm…makes me hungry…

    Mar 5, 2011 | 7:06 pm

  40. nina says:

    thanks ms. Bettyq!

    Mar 5, 2011 | 7:45 pm

  41. josephine says:

    Oh these take me back to my childhood!

    Mar 6, 2011 | 2:22 am

  42. shalimar says:

    planned trip back to cebu soon.. my last trip was part fun and stressful.. a whole lot of culture shock for me… so did not eat a lot of local food including benignet

    Mar 6, 2011 | 6:53 am

  43. acmr says:

    Pinoy-ism. The pack says that you have to “dip fry” the buchi. :-)

    Mar 6, 2011 | 5:27 pm

  44. renee says:

    MM, I make my bilo-bilo as well, but not from flour, from malagkit soaked overnight in water.

    I don’t have a gilingan (yet!) so I just mash it in the blender then wrap it in katsa and let it drip the water out a bit. The result is a bit more grainy than one would expect from a gilingan but still wonderful. I’ve done both flour and malagkit galapong, and I have to say, soaked malagkit galapong is miles away from just flour.

    Mar 6, 2011 | 8:54 pm

  45. Nicole says:

    Oh I love bilo bilo! My paternal grandmother used to make guinatan every Saturday afternoon and I used to help shaping the little round balls and I love eating them. For me this is the best past of the guinatan.

    Mar 7, 2011 | 1:08 am

  46. tikboy says:

    chinese style bilo-bilo soup. boil bilo-bilo in water, orange rind add sugar and a little fried shallots with oil. enjoy

    Mar 7, 2011 | 9:34 am

  47. Clarissa says:

    I remember having our own grinder before (we have it still now but rarely use it just because it’s cumbersome). We would soak our own malagkit overnight and grind it manually through the machine. And you instantly get the same paste out of the machine, with no need to make timpla with the water. This actually reminds me of mochi, which I like too. :) And my mom does call it sempelot too, she’s from Tarlac. But we ended up calling the whole thing bilo-bilo. :P

    When I was younger, I would only eat the sago :) Happy to say that my taste has evolved to eat almost everything in it. Except langka. I don’t like my “bilo-bilo” with any hint of langka taste. But I love langka on its own :)

    Mar 7, 2011 | 11:08 am

  48. PITS, MANILA says:


    Mar 9, 2011 | 12:32 am

  49. kai says:

    @Lorraine: oops, sorry i just replied now. landang are smaller versions of sago. most of the time they’re purple. they’re like tiny beads of sago that are stuck together in small lumps. yes, Mr. MM has an article on it: http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/landang-palm-flour-jelly-balls

    i’ve seen some in groceries, often near dried mushrooms, mongo and dried fish section. :)

    Mar 15, 2011 | 12:12 am

  50. odessa says:

    My hubby loves bilo bilo….i make it from scratch every time….I don’t buy galapong from the market because it taste different and with less flavor . I instead buy glutinous rice and have it grounded on the store where i bought them (Marikina Market) . We always have plenty of leftover (giniling na malagkit) for bitcho bitcho and palitaw. Funny thing is, i don’t like hinog na saging na saba on my bilo bilo…

    Nov 29, 2012 | 11:54 am


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