Biko a la Manang Lima


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


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!


37 Responses

  1. Thanks a million for sharing and executing this biko. I always learn something new from you. Steaming the rice first instead of boiling it the way we prepare our usual and customary table rice makes a lot of sense not overcooking the grain. Perhaps this approach will work too on my pirurutong issue of uncooked grain in my kalamay or biko. You pave the way to my kalamay cooking disaster to concrete highway with a good printed road map – I do not need to trek in a slippery slope now. Manang Lima may your rice based delicacy operations thrive well and turn into an enterprising empire and thank you so much for this recipe. More power to MarketManila and Manang Lima!

  2. Biko! During parties in high school, my classmate would always bring this to share. She gets them in a place in Cainta, I believe, and they’re absolutely delicious. My lolo would also make things like these, but I’m not exactly sure if they’re biko. I remember his were individually wrapped in pandan leaves (or was it banana?), and had generous amounts of latik on top.

  3. Hey guys, I’m not a pro so this might sound like a dumb question, but, how do I steam rice? I just can’t imagine how! Thanks

  4. MM, I got the shirts and tote a few weeks back. I have just been swamped with all the happenings connected to the holidays. Just want to let you know I check your blog all the time and enjoy your posts.
    Here’s wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you again for letting us your readers take part in the food for children program.

  5. Oooh, the latik looks good, and if MM claims it’s easy to make, I will definitely roll up my sleeves and try this recipe. However, can I use a rice cooker in steaming…the steaming part kinda got me confused too.

  6. You can use rice cooker to steam the rice. I’m just not sure what is the rice:water ratio when cooking sticky rice…

    My cousin also cooks biko this way. After spreading the latik on top of the biko, she adds sprinkles of solidified coconut milk with muscovado. Not really sure what it’s called, though.

  7. mmmmm!!! i remeber my lola preparing this when i was a kid. my used to add anise to make it special although the recipe she used is very similarto this one.

  8. Biko with langka!…YUMMMM!!!! Would go well with suman too!…Anyway, Maria Clara: have you considered grinding your pirurutong in a coffee grinder? I saw your issues with your kalamay, so I ground up some pirurutong after I washed it and dried it again…really dried up and ground it. It turned out really finely ground with no grit at all. Another option you might want to consider is ask your local friendly neighborhood NATURAL HEALTH FOOD STORE and ask them if they grind their own flour and if they do, can you have something ground up for you…worth a try, I think! Oh, by the way…I already posted the recipes for the empanada…I apologize MM if I took a LOT of space in your empanada post comment section!!!

  9. Thanks for the recipe, MM. I have not tried using condensed milk making latik. This will be my contribution to our Christmas lunch party.

  10. biko is so yummy! i also like the bibingka malagkit (which is like biko too!) the latik on top makes it even more delicious, what more if it has langka! :D

  11. MM, I’d like to share my biko recipe with your fans who have an occasional craving for biko but don’t want to cook a big lot.

    2 measuring cups malagkit (preferably tapul or black)
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 big coconut, grated
    1 1/2 c water
    chopped peel of 2 calamansi or rind of 1/2 lemon
    2 tbsps pounded ginger

    Put 2 c malagkit or sticky rice in rice cooker pot or thick pot using an equal amount of water. Add salt and pounded ginger. Cook until done. Add 1 1/2 cups water to the grated coconut and extract the milk. Put coconut milk, 3/4 cup brown sugar and chopped calamansi peel in wok. Bring to a boil, then put in medium heat and keep on stirring until the mixture is thick. [To test the mixture for thickness, put a drop of the coco milk-sugar mixture (latik) in 1/4 cup water.] If it dissolves in the water, it isn’t ready yet so continue simmering until it is thicker. Stir in the cooked malagkit and mix thoroughly with the latik. Serves 4 persons.

  12. MM, help for the fresh-coconut deprived please! Does 1 cup of extracted coconut milk equal 1 cup of canned coconut milk? I have to attempt this. Biko is my all time favorite kakanin. As I child, I used to excape to our local sarisari store, to buy me a slice of biko!

  13. NYCMama: what a cool name you’ve got! Anyway, 1 cup equals 250ml or 8 oz….1 can of cocnut milk equals 12 oz.or 1 1/2 cups …though some cans come in 14 oz. or about 1 3/4 cups. I hope that helps!

  14. betty q, moni and MM Thank you Thank you for the recipes and invaluable tips. betty q, I got your empanada dough recipe – you are a real trouper. I am a firm believer good food is always worth the laboring oar. I rather have one good piece of empanada rather than three corrupted versions that is not worth the calories at all!

  15. To betty q and my MM counterparts: FYI – I contacted and spoke with the principal (Andal) of wet grinder vendor (they are located in Atlanta, Georgia USA) that cwid mentioned in her comments in MM’s puto bumbong post. The way she represented to me it sounds like the wet grinder works like our local gilingang na bato featured in Nida Blanca and Nestor de Villa movie Anteng Anteng where they did bibingka galapong through that stone grinder and rubbed the stone for powerful and magical dwarf to come out. I inquired whether it can also be used for peanuts, cocoa beans aside from rice – Andal advised me it’s a multi tasker unit. This could be the answer to my fresh galapong issue. Blender works for me too but when it overheats it cooked the blend. Andal advised me to send her the samples and she will send it back to me to see if the wet grinder do the job that I wanted. As soon as the holidays over I will get my hands into this. Andal further advised me that wet grinders are common household appliance in India and their expats. Any interest in this unit check their website.

  16. Maria Clara and betty q,
    I have a grinder that came with the puto bungbong steamer. This is a small but pretty heavy grinder made of cast iron and it has a brand name of “BAESA IRON WORKS” and on the other side it says CORN MILL, my cousin says she got it at Nepa Q Mart in Q.C. Last night i have started making puto bungbong. I’ve used the grinder but it stopped working on me and found out that i need to add water in order for the rice mixture not to get stuck in the grinders teeth. So what i did is used my electric grinder to roughly grind the grains first, then i added some water to make it a little runny and run it through the corn mill again, and it worked, i guess that is what a wet grinder is for? ;-). The mixture is now draining on the cheese cloth and tonight i’ll start the bungbong steamer and will let you know what happens. I will take a picture of the grinder that i have and send it to you, send me your email address at

  17. Maria Clara,
    That Lakshmi wet grinder you are talking about is way too big, at 750lbs that must be a commercial grinder. The manual grinder i have is probably just 15lbs.

  18. Hey Ted…are you kidding? 750 pounds? I need a concrete counter top for that or better yet a Sumo wrestler to lift it!. I think Maria Clara was referring to a wet – dry grinder called SUMEET grinder or something like that. It retails here in Vancouver at East Indian stores for about$300 including tax. But there is another we-dry grinder made by Revel and it sells for no more than $30 on e-bay!

  19. Ted: I was told it is approximately 23 lbs. the entire unit – it is a combination of kneader and wet grinder. The grinder is approximately 10 lbs. that how she represented to me. I am very much interested with the outcome of your puto bumbong expedition. Please let us know. I will definitely keep in touch with you. Thanks Ted for sharing your monumental puto bumbong nirvana!

  20. betty q: the Revel wet grinder is like blender does not have grinding stone. Not good at all. It is a Mickey Mouse blender!

  21. betty q: Ted has my email address. Ted would you please be so kind enough to provide betty q my email address. Thank you. Thanks to both of you and MM.

  22. meekers,
    Steamed rice is done through a rice cooker. You just put the rice in the cooker and put the same amount of water, so for two cups of rice, you put two cups of water and cook, but sometimes depending on the rice you have you may need more or less. It’s a trial and error thing. Now i think for the glutinous rice, you need more water.

  23. Trish: i’ve seen on tv that when they cook rice (btw, you can use an ordinary casserole for cooking rice. with the rice cooker though, it will automatically turn off when the rice is done), it’s 2 parts liquid (water) and 1 part rice.

    but what i do is pour the rice (measure the rice first) in the saucepan, then place water until it’s the same level as the rice then add water that is the same amount as rice you are using (e.g. 1 cup rice-one cup water). then place it on a very low flame. this takes longer but it has less tutong and chances of the water boiling/spilling over. as opposed to letting it boil then turn the flame lower after it boils. good luck!

  24. Wow! Marketman it’s like you read minds. First emapanada. Now biko. Just spent the afternoon with my sister wondering if I should add biko to my dessert menu this Christmas eve. Kind of a throwback to childhood…Speaking of which, I’ve had a small bag of sticky rice in the pantry for the longest time. I have to admit,the prospect of making this was intimidating. Your recipe doesn’t seem too daunting though.

  25. My father-in-law makes bico during family gatherings like birthdays and stuff, and i used to bug him for recipe and he always tells me that he doesn’t use recipe “tansyahan lang daw”, so just watch him coook! So thanks to “Manang Lima and to you MM for posting the recipe, I can now bravely try this at home, don’t worry there won’t be any competition between me and my in-law! ehehehe Thanks again!

  26. I don’t have fresh coconut available here so I will be using canned coconut milk. Just want to clarify: do I use coconut cream (like kakang gata) for the topping and plain coconut milk for the biko?

  27. A kakanin lover myself, i went back to get manang lima’s recipe, hoping i could do it at home too and maybe impress my mom and mother-in-law, hehe, parang super easy kasi. btw, MM, have you tried using splenda or equal on kakanins? if so, how was it? i am thinking, just thinking of experimenting with those alternatives just like some commercial bakers do with cakes and donuts but am hesitant to do so. do you think it will make a not-so-nice effect, particularly on the taste factor?

  28. farrah, I have never cooked with splenda, so I couldn’t give you good advice. It’s always worth a try, I suppose, to see what it yields… you never know what you might create!

  29. could you please convert the above measurements to cups? i am not cooking a lot and i am not sure how many cups of rice and coconut cream i will need.

  30. chris, sorry, I am not planning to make biko soon nor do I have the key ingredients in-house right now so it would be difficult for me to convert this. I always use a scale for recipes such as this…

  31. masarap per walang ingredients paano namin malan kung walang ingredients haaaaaaaay!!!!!111

  32. Maria Clara,

    I planning to buy that wet grinder you mentioned at website address:

    Were you able to send the sample of pirurutong to have it grinded by Andal? How did it come out?

    Plese email me at:

    I am also researching on how I can make Puto bumbong steamer with the use of what is available at Wal-Mart like the Tramontina 12-Qt. 18/10 TriPly-Clad Stainless Steel Stockpot – 80116/517, then punch 3 or 4 of 1/2″ diameter holes on top of the lid, then have a welder weld a piece of 1″ diameter X 2″ height Stainless Steel tube on each hole. Stainless steel tube is available from:
    I am buying freshly cut of 1″ to 1.25″ bamboo cane from:


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