Bibingka is a type of rice cake from the Philippines. It is traditionally eaten during Christmas season.
Bibingka is made with rice flour and coconut milk or water. Other ingredients can vary greatly, but the most common secondary ingredients are eggs and milk. The traditional preparation is very time-consuming. A specially made terra cotta container is lined with a single large section of a banana leaf. It is placed over preheated coals and the rice flour and water mixture is poured into it, taking care not to spill it into the container itself. Another piece of banana leaf is added to the top and covered with more preheated coals.
The end result is a soft and spongy large flat cake that is slightly charred on both surfaces and infused with the unique aroma of toasted banana leaves. Toppings are then added, usually consisting of butter/margarine, sugar, cheese, or grated coconut. Other more uncommon toppings include piniping (pounded immature rice grains), pineapple, and salted duck eggs. You can often find a mixture of two or more of these toppings on a single bibingka. Bibingka with sumptuous amounts of toppings (and ingredients) are sometimes called Bibingka Especial.
More modern methods involve bibingka being baked in an actual oven inside a caldero or ordinary cake pans. The result lacks the distinctive smoky smell of charcoal but is otherwise the same, especially if banana leaves are also used to line it. Mass-produced bibingka in Philippine bakeries are also made using characteristic tin molds that give them a crenelated shape similar to large puto or puto mamon (cupcakes).
Bibingka is best served hot. Large bibingka can be sliced (or torn) into several wedges and can serve 4 to 6 people.
Taste and Texture
Bibingka has a soft spongy texture similar to puto, another Filipino rice cake. It is eaten hot or warm and is slightly sweet with a taste very similar to rice pudding. The top and bottom surfaces (including the traditional banana leaf lining) are also usually charred, adding to the flavor.
Variations of Bibingka
Most varieties of bibingka differ only from the type of toppings they use. Bibingka is also used as a general term for desserts cooked in the same manner (especially those containing rice). It originally referred primarily to bibingka galapong, the most common type of bibingka. Bibingka cooked with regular flour instead of rice flour is also simply called bibingka. Bibingka can also be made with uncommon ingredients, including chocolate.
The common types of bibingka are listed below:
- Bibingka Galapong is the traditional form of bibingka made from rice flour. It was originally made simply with rice flour and water.
- Bibingkang Malagkit is made from glutinous rice flour. It is moist and is usually served sliced into square blocks.
- Cassava Bibingka is made from cassava flour. This type of bibingka resembles pudding the most.
- Bibingkang Mandaue (Mandaue-style Bibingka) are bibingka from Mandaue City, Philippines. It is traditionally made with tubâ (an alcoholic beverage made from Palm sap) which gives it a slightly acidic aftertaste. Nowadays, the tubâ component is often substituted with yeast.
Bibingka in Filipino Culture
Bibingka is a traditional Filipino Christmas food. It is usually eaten along with puto bumbong right after the Simbang Gabi ('Midnight mass', the Filipino version of Misa de Gallo). They are sold outside of churches during Christmas season.
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Bibingka Cassava, www.asiarecipe.com
Bibingka Recipe: Bibingka Royal, pinoyfoodblog.com