I was in Cebu for several days last week and promptly fell off my healthy eating routine. Somehow, I apply the â€œif you are traveling, you can eat whatever you want ruleâ€¦â€ heeheehee. While waiting to disembark from the PAL flight from Manila (which was 10 minutes EARLY), someone behind me said in a booming and jolly voice: â€œHey, isnâ€™t that Marketmanâ€ and he turned out to be a reader, and husband of a very regular reader of Marketmanila, who had been to the recent eyeballâ€¦hmmm, that is happening more often these daysâ€¦maybe I should send a decoy to the eyeballsâ€¦haha! Other folks in the plane must have thought we were a bit odd. At any rate, as soon as I got to my office in the city, lunch was just an hour or two away. We had a small whole inasal or lechon and some bam-i as it was the Office Managerâ€™s birthday celebration. In addition, one of the crew made this fantastic purple biko that was delicious. The photos here donâ€™t do the dish justice but I tell you, the biko was GOOD!
My mom used to make biko when I was a kid, but I always found it a bit â€œheavy.â€ While I could definitely eat a few spoonfuls, that was about it for me. But the combination of carbohydrates (rice) and sugar and coconut milk is just so ingrained in almost any pinoyâ€™s brain that itâ€™s hard not to like this concoction. And it is a natural choice for a celebratory meal as it feeds and fills up a lot of stomachs on ingredients that are readily available. Served with a good ripe mango, it is a match made in the Philippines (though the Thais do something very similar)! Often biko is made with just white sticky rice and a brown or white sugar based latik that results in a light to dark brown final product. What made this biko a little different was the addition of purple rice or tapol. To make, first boil the rice (1/2 purple, Â½ malagkit) in water until cooked. The purple rice may need a little more time to cook so you may want to start with this and after a few minutes add the white malagkit. Once cooked, allow this to cool.
Next make the “latik” by cooking down coconut milk, brown or white sugar until this is thickened, but not the hard lumps some folks refer to as “latik.”. Mai-Mai, added some calamansi rind (no white pith) which I thought was an excellent citrus note and an unusual move (I usually see dayap rind added) and then the cooled rice was added to the latik and this was mixed up until the right consistency. Serve plonked into a large bowl or pre-form into single servings. Sorry, I donâ€™t have the exact measurements as I didnâ€™t pay attention while it was being cooked. Itâ€™s hard to do this wrong, however, and just err on the side of having too much latik which you can add to the rice as you see necessary. Delicious! I still canâ€™t have more than one or two servings of this at one time but it was wickedly calorific nonethelessâ€¦