Palitaw (Sweet Rice Dumplings with Coconut & Roasted Sesame Seeds)

Palitaw is a type of kakanin (Filipino native sweet delicacies); It’s called palitaw because of the manner it’s cooked. It’s a sweet rice flour dough or dumpling that you cook by dropping it in boiling water, you’ll know when it’s cooked when it floats on the surface, hence the name Palitaw (litaw-meaning to show up or to surface).

It may sound strange BUT it is basically  just a dumpling/ dough cooked in boiling water . You just add water to the (sweet rice) flour, mix and knead a little just like you would a pie dough but without any fats in it and instead of baking, palitaw is boiled.   See the recipe below.

You would love this if you love coconut but if you are one of those people who doesn’t like coconut that much, like my husband, you may omit the coconut and just roll the cooked dough in the sesame seed-sugar mixture. It’s yummy! It’s chewy and the toasted sesame tastes so good. It’s like a non-fat, low calorie version of sesame balls (buchi) that you usually eat at a dimsum or tea house.

I remember buying palitaw and other kakanins like biko and nilupak and bibingkang kanin from kakanin vendors whenever my mom does her marketing in our town’s public market. She’s a kakanin addict herself.

She told me how to do this over the phone, I was a bit surprise that she knew how because I don’t remember her making it for me and my siblings when we were kids, but she told me she did.  I’ve always thought it was hard to make BUT… you guessed it, it’s super-easy. I can’t believe it myself, now I can make this anytime I have a craving for it. Tomorrow I will make the palitaw with latik in coconut milk , my favorite 🙂


I HEART palitaw

Here’s the recipe:

PALITAW (Sweet Rice Dumplings with Coconut & Roasted Sesame Seeds)
The quantities are just guide, this recipe is good for 2-3-persons you may adjust it to your liking and size of the family.

1/2 cup glutinous (sweet rice) rice flour
1 cup fresh coconut, grated (do not use dessicated)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

Fill a 2-quart saucepan with water 2/3 full. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat.

Meanwhile in a bowl, mix sweet rice flour with water, you may need more or less water, mix until it all comes together to form a ball of dough. Knead lightly, it shouldn’t be dry nor too wet, if its sticky add more flour and a little more water if it’s too dry. Take about a tablespoon and roll it in between your hands and flatten it. Traditionally, palitaw’s shaped like a tongue.

Alternatively, you can roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll until it’s about 1/4 inches thick and use cookie cutters to cut it if you want uniform shapes. I prefer the round cutter, I tried a few hearts but since you’re gonna roll it in grated coconut, you won’t see the shape clearly so I made it most of it in round shapes.

Toast the sesame seeds in a non-stick pan until golden.
Combine fresh grated coconut and sugar on a plate

To continue, drop the formed pieces of dough into the pot of boiling water, wait for it to float on top and using a slotted spoon, lay it on the grated coconut/sugar mixture. Roll it until well coated then roll on sesame seeds.

That’s it, finished! Enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee.

Happy Cooking!


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