Palitaw sa latik

Palitaw sa Latik

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I have no idea why it took me this long to try cooking Pinoy desserts such as puto, biko, maja blanca and palitaw. I guess I am intimidated by the idea that they are too difficult to prepare as I’ve never seen my parents and siblings cook any. I could only go as far as leche flan. Then few days before Christmas day, a friend showed me how to prepare palitaw. Wow… looks easy peasy and taste really good! And just when I totally forgot about it during the busy Christmas holiday, another friend brought over palitaw sa latik for New Year’s Eve dinner. Hmm… not so subtle way to remind me it’s about time to buy the necessary ingredients, don’t you agree?

I decided to start with cooking palitaw sa latik rather than the version where in the rice cakes are covered with a mixture of coconut, sugar and sesame seeds. I followed exactly my friend’s instructions on how to make the dough but I couldn’t quite roll my mixture into balls right away. It took me few tries until I decided the ‘trial-and-error’ method works best for me. That I will explain a bit more below. With latik… it’s a walk down memory lane. I grew up in a house surrounded by coconut trees and cooking latik was synonymous with using the coconut oil you get out of it for ‘hair conditioning’. Ahh the crazy things girls do in the name of beauty. Simply put… ang nagagawa nga naman sa ngalan ng kaartehan kahit mangamoy gata ka hahaha!

Below are the how-tos. I start with making latik (caramelized coconut cream topping), sometimes a day before to fit my ‘work-live’ situation. Using fresh coconut milk is always the best but here I used canned coconut cream. With my experiments I found out that canned coconut cream yields better latik than canned coconut milk. It’s probably just me or the brand I use so it’s really all up to you. You would also notice that I use only half a can of coconut cream to make latik. It’s because I used the other half to make the sweet coconut syrup. You can always make more.

4.7 from 6 reviews
Palitaw sa Latik
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A popular Filipino dessert - rice cake cooked in coconut syrup topped with caramelized coconut curds.
  • ½ can coconut milk or cream (to make latik)
  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • Approx. ½ cup water (to make dough)
  • ½ can coconut milk or cream (to make syrup)
  • ½ cup water (to make syrup)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  1. To make latik, start by pouring coconut cream into a saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil with continuous stirring until almost dry. Turn down the heat to low and continue stirring until the curds separate from the coconut oil.
  3. Continue stirring until the curds are browned but not burnt. Drain and set aside. This will be about 2 tablespoons of latik.
  4. To make the dough, combine glutinous rice flour with water. The ‘trial-and-error’ method: I kind of check the mixture - if it’s still crumbly I add more water. If too watery to form into a ball, I add flour. Just make sure you have enough flour every time.
  5. Scoop a teaspoonful and form a ball with your hands. Drop in a flat clean surface and flatten using your palm – it would be about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Repeat until mixture is finished. I made around 20-ish.
  6. Boil water in a pot.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, lift up each flattened dough from the flat surface and drop into the pot of boiling water. I use a small baking spatula to un-stick the dough from the other spatula to drop it into the pot. Drop 4-5 pieces at a time. Do not overcrowd.
  8. Cook until they float. (And so the name palitaw… lutuin hanggang lumitaw.) Scoop them out and set aside.
  9. To make the coconut syrup: mix coconut milk with water and brown sugar. Add a pinch of salt and bring to boil.
  10. Drop in cooked palitaw and wait until they float again.
  11. Add latik and cook for another 5 minutes over low fire.
  12. Transfer to a serving bowl Don’t serve right away. Leave it for another 15 minutes… they taste better after a while as palitaw absorbs the syrup flavor.
Another version is to roll palitaw in a mixture of coconut, sesame seeds and sugar. In this version… start with cooking palitaw as written above. Then continue with the following: Ingredients: ½ cup sesame seeds, toasted ½ cup sugar 1 cup desiccated fine coconut, toasted (grated fresh coconut is better if available) Combine the above in a bowl. Dip each cooked palitaw in this mixture and arrange in a platter. Serve and enjoy.


Palitaw covered with a mixture of coconut, sugar and sesame seeds as shown below.

Photo below shows flattened round dough on a flat surface to form about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. When you scoop them out and drop into boiling water, they will loose its perfect round shape and would be oval more like a tongue… just the right shape. See photos above.

I am back :-)



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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

30 thoughts on “Palitaw sa Latik

  1. i grew up with my mom cooking biko and bilo-bilo, palitaw…and yeah, i remember her rubbing coconut oil to my hair when i have “kuto” when i was a kid:)
    i haven’t tried cooking both palitaws. you nmake me crave for those:)

  2. ahh, palitaw! my favorite kakanin and it’s the easiest snack to prepare. i made my first palitaw when i was 12 i think—it was a summer project (my cousins and i also made nilupak na saging, biko, alupe, but-ong that summer :p). your palitaw with sesame seeds looks fabulous…bigla akong nag crave ng palitaw!
    Luna Miranda recently posted GoodAh’s Classic Goto

  3. Thank you all for your lovely comments :-)
    KM & Margarita, good luck on your cooking. Let me know how it goes.
    Luna, ewan ko ba bakit ngayon lang ako nag-start magluto nito…

  4. I truly dig you’re pangangamoy gata haha, dito naman ay kahit mamuti sa harina, makakain lang ng gusto! lol. (Hoping this comment gets through!) :)

    1. Hahaha! That’s more like it, Mirage! Sa sobrang dami namin ng niyog noon, halos di na pansinin ang macapuno, latik at buko juice. Now I miss them all!

  5. hubby and his family got this tradition to make palitaw (they call it palutang) every new year…since my MIL died, we have tried continuing the tradition together with the kids. :)

    thank you so much for sharing over at Food Friday, Ms. Iska!
    happy to be visiting your blog again :)

    ps. my mom also did that ‘hair conditioning’ thing to us when we were kids, lol. she said it was to prevent us from getting lice, hahaha. :D
    maiylah recently posted Valentine Paypal $$$ Giveaway!! (Two winners!)

    1. Hi Kim, ako din. I have never tried it before my friend brought a bowl for us. And now I like it better than the ones covered with sesame seeds & sugar.

  6. wow, that’s really good of you…ang galing at mukhang ang sarap-sarap, thanks for sharing your recipe! thanks for visiting my entry at FTF, hope to see you more! have a great week. :)

  7. When I was a kid, I only get to eat palitaw during the Christmas season. These days, however, they are available at most eateries that offer local merienda delicacies. I love them. I don’t cook, but your photo of the palitaw that you made is making my mouth water. I bet they turned out really delicious :)

    Btw, I use VCO on my hair everyday!

    1. Indeed, Tito Eric. Ako din. I get to taste palitaw only during special occasions.
      And good on you for VCO. I think the process of making extra virgin is different from the traditional way I knew from childhood.

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