BIKO: A Long Shelf Life Recipe
BIKO is a sweet rice cake that is very popular in this country. It is made of glutinous rice, brown sugar and coconut milk. This rice cake is often topped with either latik (coconut curds) or the syrupy caramel-like variant toppings.
I am not really a huge fan of Biko and I don’t eat this rice cake variant. One reason that I don’t like it, is probably the way it was cooked. One time, my best friend cooked and prepared BIKO. As I don’t want to offend her, I did try the BIKO she cooked and I was amazed! I liked it, in fact I ate a lot. From then on, I learnt to like BIKO only if it was cooked and prepared by her.
Few weeks ago, I was craving for BIKO, I asked my friend to cook for me but I ended up asking her to teach me how to cook it myself. So, off we go to the public market to buy the following ingredients:
Good for 2 kilos Rice Cake and can feed 20 or more people:
- 2 kilos Glutinous Rice (premium grade)
- 1 kilo brown sugar
- 3 pieces coconut (medium size), milked
- Banana Leaf for packaging
- Bilao (basket) for packaging
HOW TO PREPARE:
So we went to the public market, my friend who is very good at this stuff, chose 3 pieces medium size coconuts which look matured (she said it has more milk). The store can squeeze the milk from coconut so we don’t have to do it at home. It’s more convenient and saves time not to mention they can completely squeeze the milk. Ok guys, you can only use fresh coconut milk ! Do not use canned or powdered (processed coconut milk)
This is the premium grade glutinous rice, it is stickier and smells really good when cooked.
We bought brown sugar, yep brown raw sugar gives more flavor than the washed or white variant. It doesn’t have significant vitamins and minerals but it sure does add character on the finished product.
Once the ingredients are ready and available, you should first wash the Glutinous rice and cook it. Use a rice cooker if you aren’t an expert in cooking rice, yay 🙂 ! So here’s a photo of my cooked glutinous rice, set it aside let it cool a bit and prepare the coconut milk.
Since I was preparing 2 kilograms of Biko, I need a big pan that can accommodate it. Pour the coconut milk in a pan, let it boil but on a low fire! Do not rush things! Anyway, once the milk start boiling, mix it regularly so it doesn’t get burnt.
Stirring the boiling coconut milk constantly is important to prevent it from burning
Keep mixing … yep you need to mix non-stop until the milk curds and it will look like this …
Keep on mixing again mix it, ha ha ha I know it’s tough, once the curd looks like golden brown, separate it from the oil and strain it. Set aside the curd and let it cool.
Next step, retain the coconut oil in the pan, you will use this to carmelize the sugar
Add the sugar with coconut oil, keep the fire low and mix until it caramelize.. prepare the cooked glutinous rice
Once the sugar completely caramelized, add the cooked glutinous rice and mix !!!!! This is the toughest part LOL… and I spent a lot of energy mixing this sticky stuff 🙂
Keep on mixing until the rice and caramel mixture is consistent, it might take awhile ! I assure you! My arm was tired mixing after 15 mins or so!!!! Cooking Biko is a labor of love, I must say cause you really have to stir and mix it constantly and you can’t leave it on the stove else it will get burnt! Once you are satisfied with the consistency and stickiness… set it aside and keep it a little bit cool
Prepare the Banana leaves, pass it on fire so make it a bit softer and pliable.. if you use it fresh the leaves will crack! arrange on the basket..make sure that the entire basket is covered with Banana leaves
Transfer your Biko in the basket using a wooden spatula. Flatten it a little bit. Then sprinkle the coconut curd on top… like this … forsome people like me… I like my Biko fully covered with coconut curd… it enhances the flavor of the rice cake as well as it provides texture to that sticky consistency..
Tadahhhhh…. this is the finished product! It was my first time to cook and it was a success! Yey!!! My friend tasted it and gave me a thumbs up, she said I did very well for a first timer. I also brought this basket at the office (it was actually my birthday treat) and they all love it 🙂 Yey! What makes this recipe unique from others? It is a no fridge, longer shelf life recipe Biko! Yep you read it right no need to refrigerate unlike others that your tried 🙂
I was inspired with all the comments and positive feedback, and honestly I don’t mind the pain n my arms (due to mixing) it was worth it! Everybody loves it and it was a huge accomplishment on my part! If you will ask me if I will cook again? Of course I will… I am beginning to love it 🙂
I hope this story will inspire you try and cook Biko. This recipe actually is the best version (in my opinion) compared to other Biko recipes. The Rice cake will last to 5 days even if you don’t refrigerate it 🙂
Thanks for reading!