how to cook ginataang bilo bilo

Ginataang Bilo Bilo – Sticky Rice Balls in Coconut Milk

Ginataang Bilo Bilo – Just a quick Tagalog lesson, bilo bilo means sticky rice balls and ginata-an means cooked in coconut milk. Remember the terms, we’ll have a quiz later on. 

Go on. I’ll wait.


Yesterday was my sister’s birthday so the kids and I, including a sleep deprived husband went to the bundoks to visit her. My mom, who is now living with her (which explains the lack of recipes from my third world kitchen for a couple of weeks now but that’s a story for another day) came to pick us up and armed with a birthday cake and pancit canton, we braved the typhoon going to her place.

After two jeepney rides and a crazy habal-habal ride, we finally reached her place so high up in the hills of Cebu, I could swear that she and God are next door neighbors. We could see the entire city down below plus a fantastic view of the sea.

We ate, we laughed, got a massage by a local manghihilut and my kids ran around like crazy goats. Sadly, we had to go down the hills and head home (sliding down better describes it!) at around 5 in the afternoon due to the impending rainstorm. Although tired when we got home, I had this urge to prove to myself that I can cook without my mom’s help and…


I made Ginataang Bilo Bilo or sticky rice balls cooked in coconut milk.

Ginataang Bilo Bilo is a popular Filipino dessert made with glutinous rice balls, tapioca pearls, plantains, jack fruit and coconut milk. Perfect for the cold weather we had yesterday. For warm weather, it is best if you serve his chilled.

Let’s get cooking!

What You will Need are the Following:

  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour or mochiko
  • 1 cup dried tapioca pearls (soaked in water for at least 4 hours)
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 ripe plantains (sliced)
  • 1 large sweet potato sliced into small cubes
  • 1 cup of sliced jack fruit (I omitted this one because I cannot stand the smell!)

What you Need to do to Make Bilo Bilo:

  • Mix the rice flour with 10 TBSP of water and form into small dough balls.
  • In batches, cook rice balls in boiling water for about 6-8 minutes or until they float to the top.
  • Set rice balls aside. *tip: When ready to mix this with the rest of the ingredients, just pick them up with clean wet hands. Otherwise they will stick to each other. Trust me. I know stuff.

To cook the tapioca:

  • Strain the tapioca if you soaked them.
  • Drop them into the same pot where you cooked the rice balls and let it boil.
  • Simmer over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes until they are soft and translucent, strain then set aside. *tip: soak them in cold water when set aside so they don’t stick together.

And finally, to make the Ginataang Bilo Bilo:

  • Mix 3 cups of coconut milk and 1 cup water in a large saucepan/pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add sweet potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes under low heat.
  • Add tapioca (strain the water from the tapioca pearls if you followed my tip), brown sugar and rice balls into the pot, simmer for 10 minutes
  • Add plantains and sliced jack fruit, let it cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Add remaining coconut milk, bring to a boil then remove from heat.
  • Serve warm or chilled.

It was the best Ginataang Bilo Bilo I made so far! Only because it was my first time to make it. ;)

I miss my mom. I miss being able to yell for her when things boil over. Literally boil over. I sure made a mess in the kitchen.

But I’m happy with the result!

If this fake food blogger can cook this, so can you!

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