Almost all Asian countries have their own sweet sticky variations of sticky rice desserts and snacks. Â What do you expect from countries that grow rice everywhere? Might as well find as many ways to enjoy the different rice variants and turn them into delicious delicacies and treats.Â Although I genuinely have a sweet tooth, I am not very fond of most local delicacies that use sticky rice. But I do like these thin sticky rice cake patties we Filipinos call Palitaw.
Locals make this with glutinous rice grains ground to a pasty dough and formed into thin patties. Â The rice patties are dropped into a pot of boiling water and once they float to the surface, they are done.Â You fish them out with a slotted spoon and roll it in grated fresh coconut and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and sugar. Â Its name is taken from the manner it is cooked. â€œPalitawâ€ in Tagalog means â€œto floatâ€.
It is a common snack in many provinces and even in the city. Most palitaw vendors start cooking after lunch to make sure they get them out on the street by 2 or 3pm just in time for Â what we inherited from our Spanish heritage as â€œmerienda â€œ, or light ( and sometimes not so light) snacks in the afternoon. If you have some heavy snacking a little later in the afternoon, we call this â€œmerienda cenaâ€.
It should have an almost melt-in-your mouth texture, and the quality of the glutinous rice and the fine grade of how it passed through the grinding machine lends a lot to its texture. Should you not find any glutinous rice grains to make this, you can also use glutinous rice flour as a substitute. Just be mindful with the amount of water you add to turn into a pasty dough.
I like Palitaw best with some iced coffee on a hot and humid afternoon and it goes just as yummy with tea. Give it that good ole try and serve it with your afternoon tea when youâ€™ve got some company.
STICKY RICE CAKES (Palitaw)
2 cups glutinous rice flour
1 cup ++ cold water, add a little more water if itâ€™s too dry, consistency should be pasty
1 cup grated coconut
1/4 cup granulated sugar
toasted sesame seeds
- Boil water in a pot or wok about 5 inches deep. While waiting for it to boil prepare the rice cakes. Spread the freshly grated coconut on a plate.
- In a bowl, mix rice flour and water. Pouring in 1/4 cup water at a time and mixing both ingredients into a soft pliable wet dough. Put some oil on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking all over. Use 1 Â½ tablespoons and scoop out a portion of the dough to form into a ball and flatten it into an oval disk. Lay them on wax paper while waiting for the water to boil or gently drop the disks directly into the pot if the water has reached a rolling boil. Repeat until you have used up all the dough.
- Make sure not to overcrowd pot. When the disks float to surface, fish them out one at a time with a slotted spoon and lay them on the plate with grated coconut. Be careful not to let the cooked sticky cakes touch each other before it gets coated with the coconut, else they will stick together.
- Roll each of the cooked disks on a bed of grated coconut to fully coat. Set coated disks on a serving platter.
- In a pan, toast sesame seeds over low heat until fragrant, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let it cool. In a small bowl, combine the toasted sesame seed with sugar. Dust sugar mixture over coated cakes or serve separately in a sugar bowl.
Photo Credit: Nina Siena