This is one of my all-time favourite hot Filipino snack. Although there was a time when just the mention of the name makes me turn green - not with envy - but as in almost sick. See, there was a period (a long one) when my father insisted on having this *every* Sunday without fail. We of course loved it what with my father demanding gabi (taro) and ube (purple yam) to be mandatory in the mix. The ube makes the sweet soup turn rather bluish as if somebody tipped in some tina (blue laundry tint). But no matter how much you love a certain food, if you encouter it every week for more than a year, your infatuation soon wears out. Nowadays I cook it only several times a year usually in winter time when having something hot and soupy is almost de rigeur for our family.
The ingredients I used here is based on what I can source in my area. So fresh coconut milk is out as with saba banana. That's one thing I miss from Pinas. The plantain, in my opinion, still can't compete with the taste and texture of the saba. But I can't find it anywhere here so to the plantain I must stick. One thing about plantain, when it's very ripe it will literally turn almost black. I was wondering before why grocers continue to display 'rotten' pieces of these. Until a Filipina friend kindly informed me that it still edible in that state. In fact, most prefer it black-ripe for a softer and sweeter banana.
I noticed as well that the sweet potatoes (kamote) here is softer or rather cooks rather more easily than the ones back home. And lastly, I think I prefer the glutinous rice flour rather than soaking the malagkit overnight then grinding it then straining it in a cheese cloth. *sigh* The ready-made flour just makes my life easier. By the way, there's a lot of coconut soup in this one since I love it soupy rather than chock-full of halo with hardly any soup.
(Mixed Fruits In Sweet Coconut Milk)
*For the bilo-bilo (glutinous rice balls):
1 cup malagkit (glutinous) rice flour
scant 1/2 cup water
3 x 400 ml cans of coconut milk
3 x 400 ml cans of water (use the can of the coconut milk)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup tiny sago (tapioca) pearls
500 gm kamote (sweet potato) - peeled and cut into serving size pieces
350 gm gabi (taro/eddo) - peeled and cut into serving size pieces
2 pcs ripe plantain bananas - peeled and cut into serving size pieces
250 gm fresh or canned langka (jackfruit) - drained and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
coconut cream (optional)
- Mix the malagkit rice flour and water. Add in more water or flour to make into a dough-like consistency.
- Get a small piece off it and, with your hands, roll into a ball about 1/2-inch in diameter. Repeat until you have used up all of the dough. Set aside.
- In a big pot, tip in all the coconut milk and water. Bring to boil - watch out this mixture usually boils over.
- Add the sago pearls. Continue to simmer uncovered until there are no more opaque white bit in the middle of the sago pearls (about 20 minutes).
- Add in the sugar and stir to dissolve. Taste to see if the sweetness is to your liking. If not, add more sugar.
- Tip in the bilo-bilo (glutinous rice balls) in the pot. Bring to boil again until all the bilo-bilo has floated in the surface.
- Add the gabi, simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add the kamote and banana and simmer for another 4 minutes or until the gabi and kamote are almost cooked.
- Add the langka and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Serve hot in a bowl with 1-2 Tbsp of coconut cream on top.