Fun Friday: Cooking Biko with Pre-schoolers

Third Friday of the month:  Fun activities / Kids

Cooking with my two kids can be such a mess, can test my patience, and can also be so much fun. No doubt, as seen from some Mom-Cook posts, that "playing in the kitchen" is one of our favorite bonding activities at home.  This time around, I had a dozen more -- a class of 4-year-olds took turns in measuring, pouring, and mixing biko

For regular readers of this blog, you might be wondering why a food post is on Fun Friday.  Well, I'm actually sharing this "fun" learning experience of these pre-schoolers in making this sweet sticky rice cake -- a favorite Filipino kakanin (rice-based delicacy) called biko.

Rice was the theme for the first semester of the junior kinder class of my girl.  Parent volunteers prepared different rice dishes to demo for the kids and get them involved in the cooking process. It's a fact that exposing the kids to food preparation help them better appreciate what they eat, understand where their food comes from, aside from learning about the different ingredients, and apply lessons on math and science.

For this cooking mama, the humble biko is the order of the day. A filling snack or dessert with very few ingredients and simple cooking procedures, this is an ideal dish to teach the kids and have them try out.

Look how serious and involved these tykes were.

After showing two types of grains, this pair carefully measured the glutenous rice...

...then these girls took turns in filling the cup with two kinds of sugar -- plain brown and muscovado (unrefined cane sugar).

It's time to mix the sugar in the coconut milk...

...while teacher passes around the muscovado sugar to touch, smell.. and taste, of course! :)

So how much is a teaspoon?

With two kinds of brown sugar in the coconut milk, they can't stop whisking the creamy mixture and watch the swirls...

...and off to the stove to boil...watch as it bubbled...mmm, smelling really good now, like caramel!

Now, the rice is ready to be mixed in... checking on the mixture...

More mixing...

Patiently waiting... (this group was so well-behaved, I was impressed!)

Done. Finally, a taste of their biko!

I pre-cooked a small batch earlier that same morning and placed in individual food keepers for the kids so they don't have to wait for the cooling time.

Opened... licked...

Scraped... spooned...


Eaten... well, at least one of them did!

My girl didn't want me to make biko from the very beginning, and preferred champorado. But they already made that in school, so her teachers and I agreed on this one.  She refused to even taste this biko. At least most of her classmates did, hence, I'd consider this demo a success.

I followed and tweaked this original Biko recipe from Panlasang Pinoy website. So simple and so good!

2 cups glutinous rice (sticky rice / malagkit) cooked in 1 1/2 to 2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup muscovado sugar (adds more depth and flavor, and less sweet than regular brown sugar)
4 cups coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, optional
1. Wash and cook rice in a rice cooker (less water was used so rice will not be fully cooked)
2. While rice is cooking, combine coconut milk, sugar and salt in a large pot.
3. Cook until it starts to boil, lower heat and simmer until it thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Stir constantly.
4. Add cooked rice (and fennel seeds) in the coconut milk and sugar mixture. Mix well.
5. Continue cooking until sauce is absorbed and well blended (do not overcook), about 10 minutes.  You will notice it gets tougher to mix as biko becomes more sticky and less watery.
6. Transfer the biko to your preferred serving tray or mold. Tap and flatten the surface.
Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.  You may also refrigerate for 30 minutes to set the biko.
This recipe did not include the traditional latik topping.
I recommend you top with coco jam for a richer and sweeter snack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Good for at least 10 pax.

I used mini silicone muffin molds
You can package this nicely and give as gifts to family and friends at Christmas parties too!

Try doing this with the kids, it's so easy!
Do you have a favorite Filipino snack or delicacy you've been craving lately?

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
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