A large bibingka topped with grated coconut
|Place of origin||Philippines|
|Serving temperature||Hot or warm|
|Main ingredient(s)||Rice flour, water or coconut milk|
|Variations||Bibingka Galapong, Bibingkang Malagkit, Cassava Bibingka, Bibingkang Mandaue|
Despite the similarity in name, the Philippine bibingka is not the same as the Goan dessert called bebinca or bibik, which is a type of layered pudding and made with regular flour.
According to the anthropologist E. Arsenio Manuel, bibingka, like biko (another Philippine dessert made from glutinous rice), originated from the Chinese. The name comes from the Hokkien root word "bi" (米, 'uncooked grain').
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 pinipig (pounded immature rice grains), pineapple, and salted duck eggs. A mixture of two or more of these toppings on a single bibingka are also common. 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 Philippine 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.
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 Philippine 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.
As of October 9, 2007, the town of Dingras, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines is expecting a Guinness World Records certification after baking a kilometer-long cassava bibingka made from 1,000 kilos of cassava and eaten by 1,000 residents.
Bibingka from Tagaytay
- "Sweet and Sticky Pinoy Treats: Our Top 10 Kakanin". http://www.spot.ph. 22 June 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- Jun Belen (20 December 2010). "Feeling Sentimental and How to Make Bibingka (Christmas Rice Cakes)". http://blog.junbelen.com/. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- "Bibingkang Galapong and Bibingkang Malagkit – Triumph & Disaster". http://www.marketmanila.com. 25 August 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- "Bibingkang Mandaue". http://www.marketmanila.com. 17 October 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- Abs-Cbn Interactive, Ilocos Norte town makes 'longest bibingka'