Palitaw is one of my favourite Filipino treats: glutinous rice dumplings chewy to the bite and topped with coconut, sugar, plus toasted sesame.
It’s a real shame when things don’t go as planned. I had this whole thing set in my head. I wanted to fill my blog this month of August with all things Filipino-related, just because it was the Buwan ng Wika– the Filipino language month. Apart from this Palitaw recipe, I had a list of other food items and Filipino restaurants to feature and review. My planner was so chock full of ideas I felt utterly confident about the whole thing even before I got started.
Unfortunately the execution was… Nonexistent. It’s now the end of August, and all I have to say is “life got in the way”. I hate that excuse but it’s never been more true. It’s getting harder to balance my blogging life and my real life these days.
As July dwindled down the busier my dayjob became. Considering I work until Saturdays and only get to do blog stuff on Sundays and a few hours at night, it was a miracle I managed to crunch out anything at all for August.
I would work so late into the night just to finish writing and editing stuff that it was literally starting to feel like college all over again. (Not necessarily a bad thing but “college life” + work life is exhausting!) Midway in August, it got to a point where I would fall asleep in front of the computer every single night for a week, so I took that as a sign to take a step back and actually get some sleep done instead.
In short, my plan crumbled to pieces before I could even launch it! Guess I’ll have to try again next year… Luckily, I did manage to make one quick Filipino recipe some time ago for one of my most well-loved Filipino treats of all-time. The palitaw has been a favourite of mine ever since the first time I tried it in my childhood, so to give it the attention it deserves, I thought it would be great to share a Palitaw recipe with a short video to boot!
The name palitaw stems from the Filipino word for float, or ‘litaw’. Since these dumplings float up to the surface of the water once they’re cooked, that’s where they got their name.
My motivation for making palitaw at home was because of how this certain lady vendor made me realize just how much I missed these. There used to be an ate who would pass by our office with her basket of mixed Filipino snacks every afternoon, and in that big basket would be some palitaw.
The first time I bought some from her, I was reminded of how much I used to crave these as a kid. It happened the moment I bit into the little chewy rounds! But one day the ate stopped selling snacks and passing by our office altogether, so I decided to just go ahead and make some palitaw on my own. I never expected it to be so easy!
There are different versions of this glutinous rice treat out there, but this palitaw recipe creates dumplings that are firm to the bite but chewy. ‘Makunat‘ as it called in Filipino. Some other versions tend to be soft and moist, and if you prefer that I would suggest flattening the dough quite a bit more, being careful not to turn it into something too fragile. It might be hard to cook them without accidentally tearing them apart if they’re too thin.
Any way you make it, don’t forget to pile on the tasty sesame-sugar and coconut! The toppings are responsible for making these really addictive after all, since on its own the dumplings don’t really have flavour. It’s a mixture of chewiness plus an earthy sweetness from the coconut, toasted sesame, and sugar that make these a favourite in my book. 🙂
Makes 16 to 20 dumplings
- 2 cups glutinous rice flour
- 1 cup water
- 1-½ cups grated coconut
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 1. In a large mixing bowl, knead the rice flour and water to make a smooth dough. Once it holds together and separates cleanly from the bowl, the dough is ready.
- 2. With floured hands, pinch off about 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten into a patty, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside on a dry plate. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- 3. Place grated coconut in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix sugar and toasted sesame seeds.
- 4. In a pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Once ready, drop the dumplings into the boiling water two to three pieces at a time to prevent them from sticking with each other. Do not crowd the pot.
- 5. Boil the dumplings until they puff, turn just a little translucent, and float to the top, about 1 to 3 minutes. Scoop them out and drain. Repeat until all dumplings are done.
- 6. Roll the cooked dumplings in the coconut, then sprinkle generously with the prepared sugar-toasted sesame seeds mixture. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
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