Leny is the resident kakanin expert in our home. Back on the farm in Western Cebu, she grew up surrounded by thousands of coconut trees and extensive rice fieldsâ€¦ so the ingredients for suman, malagkit, biko, etc. were all close by. Though she isnâ€™t the cook, and in fact is my designated flower/plant assistant besides her normally assigned duties, she does make a mean suman et al. This morning, she snuck out to the markets early and came home with banana leaves, malagkit and coconut milkâ€¦she had decided Marketman needed a dose of kakanin for his birthday, isnâ€™t that just really nice? First up was a very simple yet incredibly satisfying malagkit. A concoction of glutinous rice, coconut milk, ginger, sugar and some salt, this mixture is first stirred until the right consistency then steamed in a bowl. This is easier to do than suman but the simplicity is definitely part of the charm. Once it is done, single serving portions are wrapped in banana leaves. Served with mango, it is a pairing made in provincial heaven and rarely replicated in a city restaurant. You donâ€™t mess with a good thing. Forget about measurements, she does this by feel.
With half of the mixture of steamed malagkit, she boiled up more coconut milk and sugar and added the malagkit and placed it in banana leaves and put it in a bibingka-han (a specialized rice cake charcoal fired oven) and voila!, a stunning looking biko emerged; itâ€™s â€œcrustâ€ gently gurgling and bubbling for several minutes after being taken off the fire. The more intense flavor of the biko, the caramelized bottom and top made this a totally different taste sensation, yet they used the exact same ingredients! Yum, sometimes, the simplest foods are the most satisfyingâ€¦ Marketman had one incredibly high calorie birthday!