The arrival of landang from our cookâ€™s hometown, Toledo, Cebu, resulted in a huge pot of binignit as soon as sufficient ingredients had been assembled. Binignit, benignit or guinataan is a warm root crop and fruit stew made with coconut milk and sugar. I have written a post on it before. The thought of eating a porridge-y, sludge-y, opaque, hot mixture of starchy fruits and root crops stewed in coconut milk and sugar may be odd for most folks, but I grew up with this concoction and I consider it incredible comfort food. Come to think of it, eating this concoction cold might be a bit interesting, donâ€™t you think? My mom made a bit of a â€œstylizedâ€ version, going heavy on the saba bananas (which I loved) and light on other ingredients that were spurned by the kidsâ€¦ I think she added a bit more sugar as well which is what made this such a great rainy afternoon merienda or dessert like treatâ€¦
Our cook set out to make a binignit like SHE used to have back home in Toledo, on the Western coast of the island of Cebu. She boiled up some water, added white malagkit grains (sticky rice; though I suppose the purple sticky rice would be an interesting alternative as well), the landang and waited a few minutes until these began to soften. Next, she added cubed gabi (taro root) and cooked this a few minutes longer. Cubed kamote (sweet potato), sliced saba bananas (plantains), bilo-bilo, and some folks might add cubed ube (purple yam) as well, then some some ripe langka (jackfruit) pieces, sugar, coconut milk and keep stirring until everything is cooked. Serve warm in generous sized bowls. The addition of landang to this recipe resulted in a very colorful binignit â€“ a deep pinkish, purplish liquid richly enveloping the morsels of starchâ€¦oh so bloody good and oh so bloody banned from my failing dietâ€¦ The landang was kind of chewy with a pleasant bite and taste…a little firmer than sago and less uniformly ball-like.