Palitaw is a Filipino afternoon snack or ‘merienda’ that consist mainly of glutinous rice coated with grated coconut and sugar and sometimes roasted sesame seeds. This flattened sweet rice cake is very chewy and really filling but the best part is, it is really easy to make. This Palitaw recipe is as easy as it can get, because I used glutinous rice flour that is readily available in Asian stores. Back in the days, I remember my Mama had to go to the wet market or ‘palengke’ to buy glutinous rice and have it grinded there as well. I am not sure if this is still done back home, will have to ask my Mama. Once the glutinous rice is grinded it would look like a white dough and all that is need to be done is form them into small balls and flatten them before dropping them in boiling water, but since I am using glutinous rice flour, I needed to add some water, or in this case I used coconut milk, to add a bit more flavor.
I find Palitaw to be a funny thing. The word ‘palitaw’ means ‘to surface’ and it was named so because once the flattened glutinous rice dough surfaces to the top of the boiling water where it is cooked, it means it done. Once cooked they are rolled in a mixture of grated coconut and sugar, and if desired, sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. If you’ve read my post on Pichi-pitchi, you’ll know that freshly grated coconut is next to impossible to find here in Germany and you will also learn about my secret: I use desiccated coconut and add some water (or in this case, again, a mixture of coconut milk and water) to it and it works perfectly!
- 1 cup glutinous rice flour
- ½ cup water ( or cup coconut milk)
- 1 cup grated coconut
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅛ cup roasted sesame seeds - optional
- In a bowl, combine glutinous rice flour and water and mix into a soft, pliable dough. If too soft or sticky add some more g. rice flour, a tablespoon at a time. If a piece of dough is cracking when flattened, then add a bit of water.
- Form small balls, each an inch in diameter. Then flatten the balls to a quarter-inch thickness by pressing them in between you palms.
- In a pot or deep pan over medium-high heat, bring about 5-inch deep of water into a rolling boil.
- Gently drop each flattened dough into the boiling water. Do not overcrowd pot. When the pieces float to the surface, remove from water using a slotted spoon and drain well.
- When cool enough to handle, roll in a plate of mixed sugar and coconut and sprinkle with sesame seeds.