Budbud Kabog Recipe a la Marketman


I finally nailed the recipe for budbud kabog (millet and coconut milk rolls). It’s a recipe I am happy to put on this blog and will definitely use again in the future. It is similar to the recipe already on the net which in turn appears to be from the article from Pia Lim-Castillo published in a 2003 Food Magazine. However, the net sourced recipe didn’t work exactly to my liking so I tweaked it a bit. It turns out to be incredibly simple to make and the results are well worth the effort. What else do you do the day after a major storm and the lights are out but cook up a storm in the kitchen… The morning after Milenya hit, an LBC truck pulled up to the house and honked its horn several times to get our attention. I took delivery of 3 more kilos of kabog from Cebu and I promptly sent the cook off to the market to get some coconut milk (she had to get rice as well)… Before I describe the steps, here are are some important reminders. Use fresh kabog or millet. Taste one and if it is extremely bitter, it is likely to be old. It should have a mild salty to sweet taste. The proportions of liquid to millet are absolutely critical…it is the reason I screwed up so many times without any clue what the proportions should be. If you recall, my fifth attempt was close but since I added too much coconut milk, it wasn’t a winner. If you put too little liquid, it is grainy, pastey and hard. If you put too much, it is like wrapped porridge and too soft.

Here is the simple recipe: first, take 1/2 kilo or 500 grams of fresh kabog or millet and rinse it in 2-3 changes of fresh water. Drain it and set aside. Next squeeze about 6 to 6.5 cups of coconut milk from about 3 grated coconuts. bog2Place 6 cups of coconut milk (reserve the 1/2 up) in a kawali or wok/pan and put it over high heat until it boils and reduces slightly. Add the 500 grams of millet and stir constantly until the millet starts to absorb the coconut milk. Lower the heat to medium low and use some elbow grease…it will be roughly 30-35 minutes of cooking and stirring and you must ensure that the bottom does not burn or crust. You will notice that the volume of millet will increase (possibly seeming to grow 1 to 1.5 times the original volume) as it absorbs the milk. If the millet is particularly dry, you may find it necessary to add the additional half cup of milk but try not to lest you end up with semi-mush. Only experience and doing this recipe 2-3 times will truly give you the confidence to cook based on consistency. About 20 minutes into the cooking, add about 1 and 1/4 cup of sugar. Some add a teeny bit more if you prefer your budbud on the sweeter side, I don’t.

In some of my earlier experiments, I put the sugar into the milk before adding the millet. I received expert advise to wait until later in the cooking process. I also eliminated the dashes of salt from earlier recipes (though I understand why it might be used to heighten flavors) because someone in the know said to drop the ingredient. bog3When the millet is oozing oil and it is quite solid and frankly, edible when tasted, it is ready. This is roughly reached at 30-35 minutes of cooking. The millet should be soft and edible, with perhaps just a teeny tiny bit of sandiness in it. Turn off the heat. Wrap the millet mixture in banana leaves as you would suman (heat up the leaves first to make them pliable) and tie the ends with thinner strips of banana leaves. Steam this for roughly 80-90 minutes and allow it to cool. Once you unwrap the leaves, you will be treated to a simple, fragrant and simply delicious budbud kabog that well, seems to melt in your mouth. Visually it is clearly made of millet or seeds but the texture is unlike any of the rice versions of suman. I strongly recommend this if you have access to good millet, particularly for readers who reside abroad and can also get banana leaves. I caution against using canned coconut milk as I do not know what the equivalent amount of canned milk approximates the freshly squeezed milk in the recipe above… you could experiment if that’s the only coconut milk you can get. Enjoy! And thanks to the reader from Cebu who has arranged for a half-day tutorial for me from one of the leading commercial manufacturers of budbud in Cebu… I look forward to a day of learning new and delicious native kakanin recipes when I am next in Cebu! Thank you too to reader Toping who so graciously offered to send me a whole bunch of budbud kabog from his hometown in Leyte…


23 Responses

  1. yay, yay, yay!!!! i’ve got organic millet from my last experiment (not with budbud though) — and those darn grains locked up my grain mill — i’m still fuming. hubby hasn’t had the time to fix it for me. this is one way i can get revenge on the millet that has caused me much agony. hah!

  2. MM, am going to be in cebu for a whole week next week, and have sounded out friends who can help me look for your millet supplier. Your recipe came just in time..thanks, thanks, thanks! Watch Millet cook millet! (sorry, couldn’t resist that.)

  3. Congratulations – you finally did it MM! Your BK photos make me homesick. :-( Will try your recipe as soon as I get hold of some millet. Can get some fresh coconut in London but the problem is I don’t have coconut grater so have to use canned coco milk. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  4. This bugbog-kabog really intrigues me now. I wish i can make it. The way you describe how you made it, I am reminded of how we make “suman tili” in Pampanga during Christmas season. “Tili” is the process of “rolling” in Pampango. Anyway, this “suman tili” is half-cooked glutinous rice rolled in banana leaves then steamed to finish cooking. Sugar is added only after the rice has absorbed the coconut milk and has swelled a bit because if you add sugar beforehand, the rice will remain hard and uncooked. Interestingly, no amount of steaming could correct that.

  5. I’ve never tried this. I’m off to our health food store and look for some fresh millet. Thanks MM.

  6. Thanks for working so hard to get the recipe for budbud. Now if I can find some millet, I will try to make it with canned coconut milk. Is fresh gata thinnner than the canned? I may have to thin it a little with water.

  7. elephas, yes, I think generally speaking the canned coconut milk is thicker than the fresh. I would dilute with some water… good luck!

  8. I’ve never tried this suman and would like to try it. It sounds really yummy. Is there a way to steam these little treasures without banana leaves? I don’t know where I can get it here in Kobe.

  9. cwid, I think you can order organic millet on-line if I am not mistaken. bijin, I think the banana leaves are an essential part of the flavoring of the final dish. However, eating the cooked millet before wrapping in the leaves gives you an idea of the actual finished product. But the steaming allows the milled to expand and get all smushed up in the confines of the banana leaves.

  10. Wow, you really did it! (Not that I had any doubt you’d eventually nail it, hehe.) The budbud looks great, although I can’t help noticing they’re on the lighter side, definitely paler than the ones in our place. I was wondering what sugar you used, white or brown?

    And thanks for the mention, MM — my fifteen minutes of fame on the web, and on your site, no less! I’m faint with elation! ;-0

  11. Congratulations! Your BK is so photogenic. If you have a lot of them you can store it in the freezer for a month. When you need it… just steam it… and the taste didn’t change. I’ve tried it 2 weeks in the freezer. Looking forward for the actual tutorial, everybody is excited…

  12. wow. . . after lots of pain altering and trying different recipes. . . hmmmm actually I’m afraid to try to make BK. . . hehe

  13. Wow, its a joy reading through your blog, my father loves budbud kabog and so do I. :) This is my first time to surf the net reading peoples blog. The budbud Kabog caught my attention because I’m from Cebu and I’ve lived with eating that food eversince. :) You should try Ngoyong or Ngoiong from Cebu, you might like it. It’s only sold there and I’ve been dying to know their recipe for a long time now. E-mail me if you’ve tasted that already. ;)

  14. mr market man! :)my thesis is about millet. i’ve tasted budbud kabog just recently and it was wonderful! maayo na lang naa ka recipe ani..hehe..anyway, i was wondering, do you happen to know the cultivar or variety of the millet you used? pls tell me, through email, if you do…thanks a lot! ;]

  15. i have a funny story to tell, all for the love of budbud kabog. on our way back from bantayan for the holy week on a bus going to cebu, somewhere between borbon or tabogon. as the bus slowed down to let off some passengers i saw a woman waving a tray of budbud kabug. i yelled at my husband to call the woman with the budbud to get on the bus, my poor husband who is not a cebu native, did not even know what he was calling the woman for. anyway, while we were transacting business the bus sped through the streets, the poor woman had to get off the bus a few miles from where she got on. i guess she was just glad i bought everything she had on that tray. i totally savored that wonderful, wonderful taste, and my husband became a convert to the budbud kabug too!

  16. Hi mm! I was browsing through an aunt’s old recipe book(which is now without its cover and a few pages missing,my mom told me it was published or sourced from cebu) and i saw budbud kabog recipe. I remembered you and your post about it. The recipe is almost like yours but with a lot more sugar. I would definitely want to try making these once i get hold of the main ingredient which i don’t think is available in our area. By the way how did you steam your budbud? The recipe book here says, after folding ends and tying securely with strips of banana leaf, arrange pieces on a lined banana leaves and cover with thin coconut milk and cook for 35 min or until done.

  17. Very tasty looking budbud kabog!!! Will try cookin it someday… :)

    For H.C., if I am not mistaken, the place you have in mind is in Logo, Borbon, locally known as “Eskina Logo”. They are known for their budbud kabogs. Your story reminded me of a similar incident back in time…

  18. Hi Marketman,

    Finally, I tried cooking your Budbud Kabog. My mother and I enjoyed cooking this delicacy which happens to be a common treat from my hometown (Borbon, Cebu) as well. Btw, my earlier term above (by Mich, that’s still me) about the place in Lugo, Borbon where this delicacy is commonly sold wasn’t right…I meant to say SIMANGAN instead of Eskina.:)

    I linked your site to my blog post re: budbud kabog. Thanks for the recipe and good luck!

  19. Actually Kabog is a native cereal staple food by Cebuanos long before the Spanish colonizer came into the Philippines.
    Not corn or rice but Kabog (millet) is the staple food as what Spanish writer wrote (you can see this documents at Museo sa Sugbo(Cebu Museum). The millet species used before was Panicum milliaceum – that is kabog or borona in Cebuano.

    Some Cebuanos have plantation of Kabog in some parts of the province of Cebu notably the Mid-North Area which Borbon and Tabogon town belong.

    Engr. Sansin G. Dio
    Mabolo, Cebu City



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