Malagkit & Biko a la Leny


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 fields… so the ingredients for suman, malagkit, biko, etc. were all close by. Though she isn’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 malagout to the markets early and came home with banana leaves, malagkit and coconut milk…she had decided Marketman needed a dose of kakanin for his birthday, isn’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 don’t mess with a good thing. Forget about measurements, she does this by feel.

With half of the mixture of steamed malagkit, she boiled malag3up 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; it’s “crust” 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 satisfying… Marketman had one incredibly high calorie birthday!


21 Responses

  1. Wow!! a very simple food but very comforting. With more sugar and coconut, it becomes a sinful food. I love it!!Reminded me of my Lelang’s (grandmother) cooking.

  2. You are incredibly lucky to have such nice people to cook special food. I think they cook with their heart. Great shots you always have! Salute!

  3. that first shot with that banana leaf is beautiful…look at that unbelievable shade of green… i miss fresh banana leaves and good gata!

  4. sarap. my lola used to make sumang malagkit with panutsa (as kids we called it sangkaka.)

    Happy Birthday!!

  5. Yum! That malagkit-and-mango dessert is my absolute favorite when dining at Thai restaurants here in CA. It’s almost exactly as you described, except they also add some kind of sweet white sauce and toasted seeds.


  6. Growing up, the malagkit in your top photo was what we knew as “puto” which we would eat with dark brown sugar (“camay”) sprinkled on top. And that biko looks fantastic! fried-neurons, I know what you’re referring to, I first tasted that combination at a resto in Cupertino (or was it Sta. Clara?) called Olarn–the memory is making me drool….

  7. ykmd, you are absolutely right, it is called puto in Cebu but to avoid confusion with the general Pinoy population that would find that nomenclature confusing, I resorted to the malagkit description instead. fried neurons, yes, it is very similar to the dessert in Thai restaurants. I would like this is in a dark purple or black rice with mango as well…great color combination in addition to the taste! Thanks for all the birthday greetings, everyone!

  8. Manga’t suman is a traditional matching in the Tagalog speaking regions or wherever mango is grown and the suman of course refers to the Tagalog suman inantala which has slightly more salt than sugar and so does not clash with the sweetness of mango at all, a more felicitous matching, in my opinion, more eminently edible than say the popular Thai treat.

  9. that’s puto maya here in davao, but it’s usually cooked with a touch of ginger..ginger makes a world of diffrence – i think it tempers the clying oiliness from the coconut milk. asa man ang sikwate, MM? native hot chocolate is the traditional mate of this treat. the second treat, biko…oh wow, super-looking biko you got there! we used to race to get the most tutong (crust), and i used to ask our helper why she couldn’t make all-crust biko…

  10. millet, I just checked with Leny and she does add ginger so I have amended the post above to include it in ingredients. Thanks for pointing that out! How was the Kadayawan festival over the weekend? Apicio, yes, there is salt and it isn’t sickly sweet unlike some sumans, and yes, the match with mango is just fantastic…though hard to introduce to folks who have never had it before…

  11. No measurements?! Wha?! Is it like stewing risotto? I’d like to make this… You need to take more pictures so that we could understand how Leny makes this. Pretty please!

  12. MM, the kadayawan was just faaaabulous! so many things going on at the same time everywhere, and so many people enjoying everything. the floral floats were over-the-top! what’s sad, though, is that for the first time ever, the fruit season is late this year, so there were hardly any fruits. the ones that are available now are not at their best, so we did not recommend them to our guests. the weather is the culprit..seems we need a little drought early in the year to ensure the same super-flood of fruits that we’ve been having the past years. we expect the harvest to be sometime in late september, so maybe we should have another kadayawan then? meanwhile, my backyard is littered with baseball-sized durians that fall every night with the rain….(sayang, sob..sob…)

  13. “Durians keep falling on my head…” heehee. But seriously–to MM and Millet–you’re making me so jealous!

  14. What a great suman idea, it’s easy to make and so pretty to serve. Thanks MM and Leny for sharing this with your readers. Can’t wait to bring these to my next pot luck lunch/merienda senna.
    Off subject, Hey, Danney League, I’m also from Sta. Rosa and I could tell you are a native when you mentioned your Lelang.

  15. Belated happy birthday MM! i absolutely love puto maya,i always ask for it for breakfast whenever i’m home in the province, paired with tsokolate yunmmy! and i make it here at home in Manila once in a while using a rice cooker, hehe.



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