I’ll start out this post by saying that this is a lesson in preparedness. I wanted to make something from an under-represented country: the Philippines. I came across a Filipino dish called Biku, a dessert made from coconut milk, sticky rice, and brown sugar. Sounds simple, right? Three ingredients. How could this go wrong?
Well, I’ll tell you how… I went to the grocery store and picked up 2 cans of coconut milk and a container of sushi rice. All of the sources I found online said that you can substitute sushi rice for sticky/sweet rice. That’s not where the problem was. The problem was the simplest, most common ingredient: the brown sugar! I got home and realized that I didn’t have any brown sugar. How is that possible?! I had white sugar and powdered sugar, but no brown sugar. But it was too late to run out and get some – or at least I was too tired to go out an get some.
So I decided to improvise. I had enough white sugar, so I decided to make my own version of Biku.
Here’s what you’ll need to recreate my recipe:
3 cans of coconut milk (I had 2, and you’ll see how that turned out…)
4 C. sticky/sweet/sushi rice
2 C. brown sugar OR 2 C. white sugar, 3 Tbsp. honey, 2 Tbsp. cinnamon (1 Tbsp. caramel coffee syrup is optional)
And here’s what you do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
If you make your Biku with white sugar, put together your sugar mixture first. Combine the white sugar, 2 Tbsp. of honey, and (optional) coffee flavoring in a small bowl.
Next, pour 2 cans of coconut milk into a pot and cook on medium heat until simmering. (Note the bubbles.)
Have your rice at the ready so you can pour it into the pot. (Yeah. That’s what I call an action shot. I’m skilled. I know.)
With your rice in the pot, add 1 cup of your brown sugar (or white sugar mixture), and stir the mixture continuously as it cooks and the mixture thickens. This is the tricky/annoying/hand-cramping part. You will stir and stir and stir. It will take about 10-15 minutes. The recipes I saw said that it should be almost dry or start to look like risotto. I was close to 10 minutes, and mine turned out a little undercooked, so I would recommend aiming for 12-15 minutes. It should be al dente, but not fully cooked.
Here are some pictures of lots of stirring:
Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour the mixture in, and spread it in an even layer.
Next, make the sauce. The recipe I was going off of said I only needed 2 cans of coconut milk, but then another can appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the recipe. So, I improvised once again.
If you want to do this the right way, combine a can of coconut milk, the rest of your sugar, 1 Tbsp. of honey, and the cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium-high to thicken. I didn’t have an extra can of coconut milk, so I used a cup of water and cooked it down into a syrup.
When it has cooked down a bit, pour the syrup over the rice in the baking dish and spread it to cover the entire surface.
My mixture was extremely liquidy. It didn’t cook down as much as a I wanted it to, but I figured it would be okay after baking.
Pop your dish in the oven and let it bake for about an hour. It should be golden brown on top.
The websites I found (and Todd) said that the corners, all crispy and sweet, are the best part.
Todd thinks they taste like candy. I, however, did not like this recipe. I really wanted to like it. REALLY. I thought it would be like a mix between rice pudding and cake, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. Maybe if I had followed the recipe perfectly it would have been better. I think the undercooked rice was what did it, though. That’s why I highly recommend cooking the rice for 12-15 minutes at the beginning and not letting the rice sit too long while you make the topping. Those small adjustments would have significantly improved this dessert.
However, because Todd loved it (he ate about a sixth of this on the first night), I won’t call it a flop. It’s just not my favorite recipe.
How about some more suggestions from the readers? I’d love some recommendations. I have 2 or 3 recipes to post in the next week or so, but I’d love to get cookin’ on my next post after that. So what should I try? (I’d love to get more than 3 responses this time… so, please participate.)
Thanks for participating! I’d love to hear your suggestions and get some more recipes.
Until the next taste,