Simple Comfort Food

Filipino Palitaw Dessert

Can you believe I have been posting recipes since May 2007? It was a simple Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart that got me started. I will be honest with you as well, as I have always been… I’m not even a big fan of goat cheese! Regardless, it’s funny where the days and years have taken me and better yet, the journey my friends (you) and family have been on in the cooking process. What I have realized is that I enjoy cooking, and food in particular. Not just eating and cooking but learning as I go along. For example, 20 years ago I could tell you that I could not stand most, if not all, Asian desserts, or all desserts for that matter. Now look a me. I can’t get enough of them, and I’m interested in trying more and more desserts. This is one of them. Palitaw.

Filipino Palitaw Dessert Recipe
Filipino Palitaw Dessert Recipe

Palitaw is a Filipino dessert made with rice flour, water, coconut, and sugar. That’s it. Palitaw is way too simple to make, and is an instant treat, well about 10 minutes worth of time and you have some warm, sweet, and funky delicious treats to make you, or your kids happy.

Let’s get started on this wonderful Filipino dessert.


I suspect many of you may have not of heard of palitaw before and that’s ok. The process of making it could not be any easier to be honest with you. You mix flour and water. You mix sugar and coconut flakes. That is about it, but the trick, if any, is to make the batter so it is not thin, and not too thick. The batter to me is very similar to making corn tortillas, and the texture is essentially the same. So let’s get started.

Add the flour to a bowl. Add the water to the flour. Mix gently with a wooden spoon until the dough forms. Once the dough forms, take a bit of it and try to shape it into a ball. Does it feel hard? If so you will need to add a bit more water, about a tablespoon at a time. If it is too loose, you will need to add a bit more rice flour. Make sense? Cool.

Next bring a pot of water to a high heat and let that come to a boil. While this is going on, start forming those balls. The balls should be the size of a large marble, or about half the size of a golf ball. You can also flatten those balls into disc like shapes if you want. You decide.

How to make Filipino Palitaw

While the water continues to boil, mix the sugar and coconut flakes onto a plate. If you are using sesame seeds, this would be the time to mix in some of those as well. Feel free to put that mixture in a bowl if you want. The goal with this is to use the cooked rice balls and roll or lightly coat them with this mixture, so whatever is easiest for you (plate or bowl) then you get to decide.

Once the water comes to a boil, add in the balls. My pot allowed for about 8 balls per time so whatever works.

The balls will cook away in the water, so feel free to reduce the heat to a simmer so it does not boil over. You will know when the balls are cooked when they begin to float. This takes about 8-10 minutes on average. Once the balls float, remove with a slotted spoon allowing the excess water to strain. Add the balls to a paper towel lined plate to let cool slightly.

Take the slightly cooled balls and roll and coat them in the coconut and sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining balls. I think 3-4 balls per person works well and this batch probably makes about 25 balls, depending on the size.

Filipino Palitaw Dessert

I will admit that I personally think these are best eaten warm as over time the sugar coating melts due to the warm balls and they seem to get a bit wet but still good. Once these babies are coated they are ready to serve.

My family were all sold on these palitaw, even one of my non-coconut loving kids. They are soft, yet bouncy, almost mochi like and not too sweet. They were a perfect hit to quickly comfort my family, and during these times that is something that we all needed. Give these a shot if you are looking for an easy and delicious sweet dessert of snack. Hope you enjoy and hope you are all being safe. By the way, are you a fan of goat cheese?

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