Bibingka is a type of rice cake native to the Philippines. This is traditionally made from galapong (milled glutinous rice), coconut milk, margarine, and sugar. During dawn masses on Christmas season, side street vendors are a common sight preparing and selling this delicious rice cake along with “puto bumbong”.
The traditional way of cooking Bibingka is unique and quite time consuming. The mixture is poured on a clay pot lined with pre-cut banana leaf. A special clay oven known as “Bibingka oven” is needed to bake this rice cake. The clay pot is placed between the layers of the Bibingka oven and lit charcoals (locally known as “uling”) are placed below and above the clay pot to evenly cook the mixture.
The recipe that we have here is an alternative to the traditional. Since most of us do not have clay pots around and it is impossible to find Bibingka ovens in you local Home Depot, we’ll be using ordinary cake pans and our kitchen oven instead. As for the galapong, I’ll try to feature another recipe variation in the future using that. For now, we’ll settle for an alternative ingredient that needs no preparation at all – rice flour.
We will need ordinary rice flour for this recipe, not the glutinous one. This should be available in any Asian or Pinoy store in your area. If in case you are having a hard time distinguishing between the two (since most of the labels are written in Chinese), always remember that the package with the red print is the ordinary rice flour while glutinous rice flour is printed green.