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Biko – Filipino Rice Dessert

Biko – Filipino Rice Dessert

I know it has been a while since I last posted, and my apologies. I am still cooking and keeping busy but writing about something that I have made, at least in the kitchen, recently has not been there. Up until now that is. I have been very interested lately in Filipino cuisine. There is something mysterious about their cuisine that I have yet to get my finger on. I’ve read a few cookbooks from various authors and it seems that most of the recipes include some standard ingredients whether that be vinegar or some vegetable that I am not typically used to when cooking. That is becoming the excitement in my continued research in Filipino cuisine. Currently I am looking at the ingredients at making halo halo, a Filipino dessert. The ingredients blow my mind. Beans, jellies, ice, and plenty more. It just sounds like a party going on. So I’m sure in the weeks to come I will be posting a bit more on Filipino cuisine.

Biko. What the heck is biko? First off I love saying biko. Lastly it is one of these desserts that may just blow your mind. I’m calling it the rice krispie treat of the Philippines, but with a slight twist. The texture is something we Americans may not be used to but once you quickly get past that it just blows your mind in thinking, as I have always thought with Filipino cuisine, ‘what the heck is this?’.

Filipino Biko Recipe
Filipino Biko Recipe

Although the recipe is extremely easy to make, there is a type of rice that you will need. It’s a Thai style sweet rice, commonly referred to as sticky rice. You can find this in various sizes at your local Asian market.

The sweet rice is different than most rices as it is shorter glutinous grain and has a very solid milk like color, and is pretty starchy. I cook a lot with this type of rice when making things like larb, and one thing you always do is soak the rice overnight. It’s somewhat mandatory, and in this case it goes the same. So you will really one need to plan ahead for this sweet rice dessert. The waiting will pay off, trust me.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Thai sticky rice (glutinous rice), soaked overnight
  • 3 14 oz cans of coconut milk, reserve 3/4 cup
  • 2 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar, reserve 1 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Soak your rice overnight in a large bowl, covering with a couple of inches of water.

When you are ready the following day, start by straining your rice. Once the water is strained rinse it well with more water, then let that water strain.

To a large pot on the stove, turn it on medium heat. Add in the cans of coconut milk, making sure to reserve the 3/4 cup. Add in the water and give a good stir. Once this comes to a simmer, add in the strained rice. Stir with a wooden spoon, almost stirring as you would with a risotto, and just keep an eye on it as to not burn it. Stirring is important.

After 8 minutes the rice should be soaking up much of the liquid. Stirring is important, remember? Keep stirring. Reduce the heat to low, add in the 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar, as well as the salt, and continue to stir for about another 5 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Biko Ingredients
Biko Ingredients

While the rice cooks, butter a casserole dish. Mine is about 9×13.

Now it’s time to make the sauce. To a sauce pan add the reserved sugar and milk, and cook on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil, stirring as well. You want the sauce to thicken a bit, only about 3 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.

Pour the rice into the casserole dish and gently form into the dish. Pour the caramel sauce all over the top and ensure it covers the top.

Place into the oven and cook for about 50 minutes. The top should be nice and bubbly.

Carefully remove from the oven and let this cool for about 30 minutes. Trust me it will still be really hot so be careful when biting into it. Slice these into squares and serve warm (preferred) or at room temperature. Make sure to store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. This should last a few days but trust me it won’t last that long.

The result is almost like a formed warm sweet porridge. It’s a bit difficult to explain. It’s a bit sticky, it’s sweet, and it is so darn addictive that I walked away feeling guilty that I ate that much, especially from a dessert that had a texture that I thought I would not get into. I’m glad I was proved wrong.

So this is not only a great dessert, but it’s a simple one and gets a new rice into your house. This leads you to the next recipe of making those fabulous larb salads. Have you had biko? What are your thoughts?

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Korean Japchae

Korean Japchae

I often think before I submit what might the audience think of what I might be coming up with next. Another nut recipe? Another recipe that may be seasonal? Nope. This dude is full of surprises. I can go from sweet to savory to snacks to who knows. This is one of those mix ups. Korean. Now I do not dabble that much in Korean cuisine as much as I should or want to but there are a few Korean dishes that get my attention, but Japchae is one that does.

If you have never had japchae, well now is your opportunity. Japchae is a mixed noodle dish that is both sweet and savory and reminds me a lot like the beloved dish of the Philippines, pancit bihon. It is a noodle dish that contains both al dente vegetables along with a protein, commonly beef. In my case, I kept it local and added some awesome smokiness to it by using Nueske’s smoked duck breast. It was a most excellent choice on my part.

Korean Japchae Recipe
Korean Japchae Recipe

This dish uses sweet potato noodles that you can find at your local Asian grocery and trust me you will want to try and find these. The texture is awesome and one that is a bit slippery and a bit bouncy. Super cool to say the least.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 11 oz package Sweet Potato Vermicelli noodles
  • 10 oz baby spinach, washed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 11 oz Nueske’s Smoked Duck Breast, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar plus a tablespoon
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper

Start by heating a large pot of water. This will serve to cook your spinach as well as your noodles.

While the water comes to boil, prepare your ingredients and have everything on standby.

Once the water comes to a boil, add in the spinach and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon and place into a bowl of very cold water. Blanching if you will. The spinach will be cooked and still retain a nice green color. Strain the spinach. Once strained, push down on the spinach or give it a few good squeezes and remove as much of the water from it as humanely possible.

You can turn off the heat on the water but keep it on the stove as you will cook those noodles in a few minutes.

Japchae Ingredients
Japchae Ingredients

Next, heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add one teaspoon of oil and give it a nice swirl.

Once heated, pour in the beaten eggs and give the pan a good swirl. The goal is to get a nice and thin egg cooking. After a few minutes, and once the egg has set, flip it over and cook for about 30 seconds on the second side, making sure it is fully cooked. Slide that onto a cutting board and return the skillet to the stove. Slice the egg in half, then another half so that you have four quarters. Slice into strips.

Add another teaspoon of oil to the skillet and let it come to temperature, swirling it as well.

Add in the carrots, and cook just until slightly tender. Remove and slide the carrots onto the cutting board, or onto a plate.

Now add the noodles to the pot of hot water, then bring that up to a boil. Cook the noodles at a low boil for about 8 minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet, and cook in whatever remaining oil might be int the skillet. Stir the mushrooms to that they begin to release some moisture. Cook for about 7 minutes or so until they are cooked and nicely seared. Slide those onto the plate or cutting board.

Wipe out the skillet, then return back to the stove on medium heat. Add in another teaspoon of oil. Add in the bell pepper and garlic and cook for about 3-4 minutes. You still want a nice crunch to the peppers, much like the carrots.

Remove the mushrooms onto the plate or cutting board. Return the skillet to medium heat, add the remaining oil, and then add in the sliced duck breast. Cook the breast until the fat renders and the the breast gets slightly crisp. Yep, slightly crisp.

Remove the duck and place with the other cooked items.

To a small pot, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and black pepper. Bring this to a boil, stirring along the way. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Strain the noodles and add them to a large mixing bowl. Pour in about half of the sauce. The noodles will soak up most of it, as will the the remaining ingredients. Give that a good mix.

Using your hands, add in all of the ingredients, and mix well. Mix from the bottom. If it needs a bit more sauce, add a bit more. Give it a taste.

Korean Japchae Recipe
Korean Japchae Recipe

.

The taste should be sweet, savory, and really delicious. Get some of the duck with it. The smokey, almost bacon like flavor brings this to a whole other level. Feel free to season with salt if you need a bump.

Now it is time to serve. When plating, feel free to sprinkle the plates with sesame seeds before serving.

Korean Japchae Recipe
Korean Japchae Recipe

You will love these noodles. The texture is super fun and the flavor is even better. If you are not using Nueske’s duck, don’t worry. Go with a thinly sliced beef or chicken, or heck just go with veggies. However you mix it I think you will be hunting down those noodles in the future. Hope you enjoy!