|Place of origin||Philippines & Indonesia|
|Serving temperature||Hot or warm|
|Main ingredients||Rice flour, water or coconut milk|
|Variations||Salukara, see text|
Bibingka is a type of rice cake from the Philippines and in Christian communities in Indonesia. It is usually eaten for breakfast, especially during the Christmas season. It is traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with leaves.
Some authors have proposed a connection between the Goan dessert bebinca (or bibik) and the Southeast Asian bibingka due to the similarity in names. They believe that the Portuguese may have introduced it to Southeast Asia from Goa. But this is unlikely given that Philippines, where bibingka is most widely known, was never a colony of Portugal. They are also very different, the Goan dessert is a type of layered coconut pudding, while bibingka is a baked rice cake and uses rice or cassava flour. The only similarity is that bebinca and bibingka both use coconut milk.
In the Philippines, bibingka is also used as a general term for desserts made with flour and baked in the same manner (similar to puto though the latter term is usually reserved to steamed flour). The term can be loosely translated to "[rice] cake" and has thus been sometimes used for other native cakes made with other types of flour like corn flour, cassava flour, or plain flour, though these are usually considered separate dishes altogether.
Bibingka in the Philippines
Bibingka is a traditional Philippine Christmas food. It is usually eaten along with puto bumbóng right after the Simbang Gabi ('Night mass', the Filipino version of Misa de Gallo). They are sold outside of churches during the nine-day novena for worshippers to eat for breakfast.
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. Also, in the municipality of Baliuag, Bulacan, bibingka is served along with salabat (ginger tisane) and the stores selling them serve them for free.
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.
Bibingka is also used as a general term for desserts made with flour and baked in the same manner. The term can be loosely translated to "[rice] cake". It originally referred primarily to bibingka galapong, the most common type of bibingka made with rice flour. Other native Philippine cakes have also sometimes been called bibingka. These may use other kinds of flour, such as corn flour, cassava flour, or plain flour, and are usually considered separate dishes altogether. Bibingka can also be made with uncommon ingredients, including chocolate.
Most varieties of bibingka differ only from the type of toppings they use. The common types of bibingka are listed below:
- Bibingka galapóng is the traditional form of bibingka made from rice flour. It was originally made simply with rice flour and water.
- Bibingkang malagkít is made from glutinous rice flour. It is moist and is usually served sliced into square blocks.
- Bibingkang Mandaue (Mandaue-style Bibingka) are bibingka from Mandaue, Cebu. It is traditionally made with tubâ (Arecaceae sap liquor) which gives it a slightly tart aftertaste. Nowadays, tubâ is often substituted with yeast.
- Bibingkang kamoteng kahoy is made from cassava flour, and is the most similar to pudding in appearance. However, it is more widely known simply as cassava cake.
- Sinukat a type of bibingka baked in half of a coconut shell.
Bibingka in Indonesia
Bibingka or bingka is also popular in Indonesia, particularly among Christian-majority areas in northern Sulawesi and the Maluku Islands, both of which were former colonies of the Portuguese Empire and are geographically close to the southern Philippines. It is prepared almost identically to Philippine bibingka. In the provinces of North Sulawesi and Gorontalo, bibingka is usually made with rice or cassava flour and coconut milk with shredded coconut baked inside. In the Maluku Islands, bibingka is spiced and sweetened with brown sugar or sweet meat floss. It is also traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with banana, pandan, or nipa leaves. As in the Philippines, it is also usually eaten during the Christmas season.
A pancake-like variant of bibingka was introduced to the Chinese Indonesian communities of East Java during the Dutch colonial period. Known as wingko, wiwingka, or bibika, it became popular throughout the island of Java.
- Bibingka kelapa or bibingka santan, Indonesian bibingka made from rice flour and coconut milk, topped with jackfruit or coconut
- Bibingka kelapa, Indonesian bibingka made from rice flour and coconut milk, topped with jackfruit or coconut
- Bibingka abon, made from rice flour and coconut milk, topped with meat floss
- Bibingka ubi telo, made from ube or cassava flour and coconut milk
- Bibingka nanas or wingko nanas, made from ube or cassava flour and coconut milk with Pineapple
- Jerry Pinto (2006). Reflected in Water: Writings on Goa. Penguin Books India. pp. 253&ndash, 254. ISBN 9780143100812.
- Alan Davidson (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. OUP Oxford. p. 684. ISBN 9780191040726.
- "Sweet and Sticky Pinoy Treats: Our Top 10 Kakanin". www.spot.ph. 22 June 2010. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- Alvin Elchico, Gracie Rutao and JV Dizon (2010-12-24). "Filipinos go for ham, bibingka for Christmas". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- Abs-Cbn Interactive, Ilocos Norte town makes 'longest bibingka' Archived 2007-10-23 at the Wayback Machine.
- Jun Belen (20 December 2010). "Feeling Sentimental and How to Make Bibingka (Christmas Rice Cakes)". Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- Connie Veneracion (March 2, 2007). "Cassava bibingka with custard topping". Casa Veneracion. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- "Bibingkang Galapong and Bibingkang Malagkit – Triumph & Disaster". Market Manila. 25 August 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- "Bibingkang Mandaue". Market Manila. 17 October 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- Edgie Polistico (2017). Philippine Food, Cooking, & Dining Dictionary. Anvil Publishing, Incorporated. ISBN 9786214200870.
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