cake / dessert Filipino

Biko na Pirurutong (Sweet Violet Rice Cake)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014Enz F

Here is another variety of the ubiquitous Filipino kakanin (rice delicacy). Biko na Pirurutong is a sweet treat usually prepared during special occasions like Christmas. It is traditionally made from malagkit (sticky rice), kakang gata (pure coconut milk) and sugar, and placed on a large bilao (woven bamboo rice tray or winnowing basket) lined with layers of banana leaves for that added aroma. What sets biko na pirurutong apart from other kakanin is the use of the exotic variety of rice locally known as pirurutong. 

Biko na Pirurutong is another variety of the ubiquitous Filipino kakanin.
Pirurutong, black rice or wild purple rice is a type of aromatic and very sticky rice indigenous in the rice fields of the Philippine provinces. It is usually described as purple but generally brownish-violet to black in color. Pirurutong is the same type of rice being used to prepare puto bumbong, a Filipino rice treat customarily cooked in bamboo steamer and served during Christmas dawn masses along with bibingka.

You would need two strong arms for continuous stirring.
A couple of days ago, my older brother, Kuya Erick, requested for a kakanin which he would bring as potluck for a Christmas party that he would be attending together with his close friends. It has been quite a long time ago since the last time I saw my grandma cooked something like this for us. All I can remember were the glutinous rice and the coconut milk, but the “how-to” part is something that I was not able to document until grandma passed away. Thanks to Manang Nita, my ever-reliable house help, for she was able to guide me along the way, not to mention her unquestionable credibility and expertise in cooking kakanin since it is one of the specialties of her home town and she has been cooking this type of dessert since she was young. The cooking method is quite straightforward, you only have to prepare two strong arms because it would require you a lot of stirring. Biko na pirurutong is a perfect partner for your hot coffee or chocolate for breakfast. Topped with coarsely crushed nuts and latik (coconut milk curd), it is also popularly served as an after-meal dessert or afternoon snack.

Slice biko pirurutong into serving pieces and serve along with your favorite hot drinks.
Biko na Pirurutong (Sweet Violet Rice Cake)
Makes one huge bilao (24-inch diameter)

  • 2 cups pirurutong (black rice or wild purple rice)
  • 3 cups malagkit (ordinary glutinous rice)
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. aniseed
  • 8 cups kakang gata (pure coconut milk), divided
  • 2 cups condensed milk
  • 1-2 cups brown or muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanuts or cashew nuts, roasted and coarsely crushed (for toppings)
  • banana leaves
  • coconut oil (for greasing)

For the Biko na Pirurutong (Violet Sticky Rice Cake)
  1. Mix together the purple rice and glutinous rice. Thoroughly wash and rinse the rice.
  2. In a large cooking pot, combine the rice, aniseed, salt and water. Cook over medium heat until the liquid has already evaporated and the rice is almost done. Do not overcook. If using an electric rice cooker, just cook the mixed rice the same way as cooking an ordinary rice. Set aside with lid left open to cool.
  3. In a separate large pan, combine half of the coconut milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract and sugar. Simmer over low heat while stirring until the sugar dissolves and the liquid slightly thickens.
  4. Stir in the cooked rice in the thickened coconut milk mixture. Stir continuously until well blended and to avoid the bottom from burning. Keep cooking and stirring for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is very sticky. It is ready when the rice is very thick and almost difficult to stir. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a little while.
  5. Line the 24-inch diameter bilao or woven bamboo rice tray with two layers banana leaves. Brush the banana leaves with coconut oil. Transfer the cooked biko in the lined woven tray and press down to flatten the surface.
  6. Garnish the top with coarsely crushed peanuts or cashew nuts and sprinkle with latik. Slice the biko into serving pieces and serve along with coffee or as an after meal dessert. Enjoy!

For the Latik (Coconut Curd Toppings)
  1. Bring to simmer the remaining coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook while stirring once in a while.
  2. Lower down the heat when coconut oil starts to separate from the coconut residues. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to keep from burning. It is done when the coconut curds turn golden brown and completely separates from oil.
  3. Drain the latik and set aside the coconut oil for greasing.

  1. You can use the ordinary glutinous rice if the purple variety is not available.
  2. You can also slather the top with minatamis na bao or coco jam.
  3. Leftovers should be kept in sealed food box and stored in the fridge. This would last for up to 7 days.
  4. This recipe is intended to serve a bunch. Just reduce the quantity proportionately if you wish to cook it in smaller batch.

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  1. It sounds like a cross between puto bumbong and biko. I wonder where one can buy pururutong in Manila. :)

    1. You are right, Patricia. It does look like a gigantic puto bumbong. I am not sure if pirurutong is sold somewhere in Manila. I have not noticed it in the supermarket though I will try to observe next time. I was only able to get a hand of it through a friend from Marinduque.

  2. sounds yummy, i am going to try it this weekend, i will update you for the results. wish me luck!!! :) - tina

  3. Very convincing and mouth watering thread!


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