Chef Alicia Cooks Bibingka


“Hi Dad!”, Chef Alicia greeted Chef Pedro this morning. “I’d like to cook bibingka. Will you get me some banana leaves?”, she asked. “Sure,” Chef Pedro replied, knowing that they have a banana tree in the backyard.

It must have been windy these past days because all the leaves are torn apart. “These won’t do,” she said. “I will make it happen for you,” he assured her. He pieced together the torn leaves and shaped them into the four tin molds which she has found in the pantry.

Pau must have left these with us when she moved to California,” Chef Alicia said. She wished she had eight instead so she could cook one recipe simultaneously. She tried looking for them in the stores but couldn’t find them. She’s wondering where Pau bought these from.


Originally made in the Philippines and Indonesia, bibingka is one of the rice cakes baked during Christmas and other special occasions. It is usually eaten during breakfast on Christmas season or sometimes served as a dessert or snack.

Different parts of the Philippines have their own versions of bibingka. Some add young coconut slivers or cooked duck egg or both. Others used cassava flour instead of the original glutinous rice.

Today is just Chef Alicia’s second time of cooking bibingka. She said she learned to cook it from a YouTube video. Prior to watching it, she thought it is something difficult to do. When she tried it the first time, she found it surprisingly simple.

She employs the modern way of cooking bibingka, making use of dry glutinous rice flour and tin molds popularized by restaurants. The original way of cooking it entails soaking the rice overnight, allowing it to ferment by the use of wild yeast. Then the rice is ground into a paste using a stone mill. We saw some of these stone mills growing up.


Emboldened by her initial success this morning, Chef Alicia tried to cook a bigger bibingka. This time, she uses a much bigger mold. Whereas on the smaller bibingka, she only baked them for 23 minutes at 375 °F, she found out that she had to bake this for one hour.

When she called Stephen and Kay to try them, they both liked them. Chef Pedro who normally stays away from rice cakes or any cake, loved them. He thinks his wife has a knack for baking. Of course, it’s now Christmas season again. This bibingka is an addition to Chef Alicia’s traditional boat tarts which everyone love.

If you’re interested in the exact recipe Chef Alicia used for both bibingka, please check back on our website. We will post the recipe for every dish we feature on our blogs. Ciao!

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