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How to Make Filipino Binalay

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Written by ManfredSnelling   

Binalay is a native delicacy of Ilagan, Isabela, a province at the northern most part of the Philippines. It is a kakanin or sweet cake made from malagkit (glutenous rice) and gata (coconut milk) , and served as a desert or snacks.

Not quite popular in other places in the Philippines, Binalay is described to be very similar to palitao, another Filipino delicacy, however the former is softer. Just like its other gata -glutenous-rice delicacies from other parts of the Philippines, Binalay is served not only during celebrations but all year round. It can be a special dish in a party but could be an every day snack bought around the corner or in the market.

Binalay proves that Filipinos from Apari to Jolo has valued the coconut and rice as ingredients for their varied preparations food preparations. Among those in the league of Binalay are palitaw, biko, puto, puto maya, ginataan, suman, maja blanca, and more.


1 kilo malagkit

1/2 cup water

4 cups of gata (coconut milk)

1 glass of water

1 big size panocha or moscuvado sugar block

15 7 inches x 7 inches pieces banana leaves

coconut oil



1. Soak malagkit in water overnight

2. Drain water from the malagkit and grind finely

3. Put malagkit flour in a bowl. Add water and mix well.

4. Mold or form 2 to 3 grams of mixture using your hands and wrap in banana leaves, brushed in coconut oil

5. Cook wrapped malagkit mixture in a steamer for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked.

To prepare the sauce:

1. Cook coconut milk in a sauce pan. Boil and later simmer until the milk turns into latik - the solid coconut residue that forms after sometime of applying heat to the coconut milk. Set aside half of the latik with the oil along with it.

2. Add water and panocha (moscovado) into sauce pan along with the remaining latik and some oil.

3. Boil until panocha melts, caramelized forming a sauce mixture. Make sure it thickens.

4. Remove from fire and add the half latik that was set aside earlier.

Serving suggestion:

1. Put 2 to 3 pieces of cooked malagkit wrapped in banana leaves in a chinese bamboo steamer. Serve on a native tray with its sauce in a dip dish.

2. Unwrap 2 to 3 pieces of cooked malagkit on a plate and pour in a good amount of sauce on top of it. Sprinkle ground nuts (peanuts or cashew nuts) around the malagkit to garnish.


Tip/Suggestions: The oil from the latik is a traditional home remedy material in the Philippines. You may want to cook more latik and extract more coconut oil. Long before the popularity of spas and coconut virgin, the coconut oil or popularly known in the Philippines as lana sa lubi is used as oil for massage and hair and scalp treatment.

It also good for rejuvenating the skin by using it like a lotion. It is also believed that the oil is a good base for herbs that are intended to become medicine

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