Love and Tradition -- Ingredients for a Great Bibingka
The first bite after not having had it for awhile always takes you back. As someone who grew up in the Philippines, bibingka is a sweet rice cake delicacy you look forward to after attending "Simbang Gabi", a series of masses during the early hours of the morning right before school or work starts leading up to Christmas Day. As a little kid, I didn't like waking up extra early (no one does) but because I knew that bibingka or puto bumbong (another Filipino delicacy) was right around the corner, in stalls neatly lined on the streets where vendors are excited to meet the mass attendees with freshly made delicacies, it was worth losing a few hours of sleep.
At the initial touch of a bibingka, you will feel the warmth of its edges, usually adorned with banana leaves, and as you move to the top, butter and sugar melts in perfection. Some add grated cheese or grated coconut but what makes bibingka shine and truly one of a kind is a thin slice of salted duck egg placed on top. For someone who is trying it for the first time, it's quite a shock.
For that reason, bibingka might as well be an ode to the love a Filipino parent has towards his/her child -- a bit odd, a bit more stern and salty than its overtly sweet counterparts. But as soon as you take a bite, your mouth feels the softness and chewy denseness of what's inside. It bites back with its sweetness (from the coconut milk) and tradition passed from generation to generation. You feel quite in luck because you get to savor every bite of that love.
"It bites back with its sweetness and tradition passed from generation to generation. You feel quite in luck because you get to savor every bite of that love."
Just a few weeks ago, my sweet mama and sister came for a visit and I was craving some bibingka. I used my superpower (being the bunso/youngest in the family) and asked my sister Joy to make bibingkas and she happily obliged.
The holidays are coming up and this is an easy new recipe to share with loved ones or, if you're like me who's fortunate enough to have tasted them after Simbang Gabi and just before the sunrise, it's more of a rekindling and passing of tradition and love.
Ate Joy's Bibingka
1 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
13/4 cup regular rice flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
½ + 1/8 cups coconut milk
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup water
2 whole large eggs
½ cup melted butter
salted egg slices (2 salted eggs good for 1 recipe)
1 tsp sugar
¼ cup butter
banana leaves or cupcake liner
Banana Leaves Preparation
Wash the leaves and wipe dry.
Heat the leaves on stove top.
Cut the leaves according to the size of the muffin liner
Place the each cut leaf on the muffin tray
Mix the solid ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix the liquid ingredients on a separate cup. Mix at a low speed (speed 2-3). Once the batter is even, stop mixing.
Pre-heat the stove oven at 320°F.
Pour the batter slightly below the brim of the cupcake baking pans.
Bake for approximately 18-20 mins., then remove the baking trays.
Put the baking trays back in the oven (level 2 rack) for approximately 1.5 mins. until the top of the bibingka becomes slightly brown. Please monitor the bibingkas to ensure that they will not be burned.