Category: Filipino

Halo halo

Halo halo

I love traveling: discovering new places, seeing new things, and especially eating new things. Even though exotic destinations have been put on hold, there are still plenty of fun and interesting destinations here at home. One city I visit often that always inspires me in read more

Turon (fried banana spring rolls)

Turon (fried banana spring rolls)

Sometimes you just want a simple but delicious dessert-you know, when you’re done with dinner, but still craving a little sweet bite. Turon, a Filipino specialty, really fits the bill. Basically a dessert version of the famed Lumpia spring rolls enjoyed all over the Philippines, read more



I may not be that big on sweets but Palitaw is one I can never resist. A popular Filipino snack, Palitaw is made from sticky rice flour and coconut. Palitaw means “to float”, and you’ll see why when you make a batch. This is one dish that’s almost as much fun to make as it is to eat. If you have kids around, they love to help! With few ingredients and easy steps, plus a quick turnaround from preparation to consumption, Palitaw will have even your youngest cooks engaged in the kitchen.

Palitaw are sold by street vendors all over the Philippines. Light in sugar and coated with healthy coconut, this is as comfortable as a breakfast, as it is served for dessert. Moreover, they are ready in just 20 minutes, making this a great dish to whip up at the last minute.

palitaw ingredients

Sweet Rice Flour

If you’ve ever had mochi ice cream, you’ve had sweet rice flour. That’s what makes the fun, chewy layer wrapped around the ice cream. The flour is made from glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice, and is used in all sorts of desserts and snacks. It’s a gluten free flour, making this a perfect choice for anyone avoiding gluten.

When purchasing rice flour, make sure you are purchasing the right kind. Regular rice flour, sold at many health food stores as a gluten free alternative for wheat flour, is not the same. On the package it should say glutinous rice or sticky rice, and if there is a description of the product, it should talk about the incredibly starchy quality of the flour. Alternatively, you should be able to find sweet rice flour easily at an Asian Market, which may also call it Mochi flour.

sweet rice flour palitaw

Making Palitaw

I start by toasting unsweetened coconut flakes. I use the oven set at a low temperature because the flakes can burn really easily. The smell while it toasts is heavenly! I admit that I like my coconut very toasty. Usually, I take the coconut a bit darker to really bring out the caramel like notes. But however you like your coconut, keep a careful eye on it as it does bake quickly. If you have leftover toasted coconut, you can use it to make a batch of Coconut Rice!

toasting coconut palitaw

sesame palitaw

Then it’s time to make the palitaw dough, which is one of the easiest doughs in the world. Just two ingredients-awesome!

dough palitaw


Knead it a couple times to smooth it out and make sure the water is incorporated fully into all of the dough.

kneading palitaw

Now it’s time to shape the dough. I like to use an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough. It’s easier to make equal sizes and it keeps the Palitaw in a nice circular shape. However, in the Philippines, most vendors use their hands to both pinch off the dough and pat it out. It’s not too important if the size of your disks are different; but try to keep the disks at the same thickness so they cook evenly.

I put a little rice flour on the baking sheets as I’m flattening out the dough to keep the disks from sticking to the sheet. I also think it’s easier to press gently against the dough ball and then pick it up and move it a little to make your disks. Keep pressing and moving so your sticky disks don’t have a chance to adhere to the surface and you have an evenly round shape.

disks palitaw

And now it’s time to find out how they came to be named something that translates to “it floats”. Make sure you have the sesame sugar and the coconut right by the stove so you can quickly scoop out the boiled Palitaw and dredge them straight from the pot. An assembly line system works best where you boil, then dip, and then plate them. It’s not a good idea to boil them all first and then try and dip them as they will probably stick together in a clump as they drain and cool.

Make sure your water is at a boil on high heat before dropping in the rice disks. Putting them in too early will result in overcooked Palitaw that will be mushy and falling apart. Keep the water at a boil while they cook and only put about 5-6 at a time. This process goes quickly, so have a strainer or slotted spoon ready to scoop them up once they float to the surface.

float palitaw

sugar palitaw


These Patilaw make such a gorgeous addition to your table. Serve them after a dinner of Chicken Satay and Green Mango Salad for a fun, summery Asian feast! Please take a moment to rate and comment on the recipe below, we love hearing from you! And show us your beautiful Palitaw by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen.com.


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recipe card palitaw


  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: sweets
  • Cuisine: Filipino


  • 1 cup glutinous rice/sticky rice flour (mochi flour), plus 1 extra Tablespoon for shaping disks 
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 275. Place the coconut on a small baking sheet and spread it out so you have an even layer. Bake it for about 5 minutes until it is a nice golden color. 
  2. Set the coconut aside to cool and then pour it onto a plate. Mix the sugar and the sesame seeds on a separate plate. Set the plates aside near the stove where you will be boiling the rice cakes.
  3. Put the glutinous rice flour in a bowl and add the water. Mix with clean hands until the flour has completely absorbed the water and the dough comes together in a sticky mass. Knead it a couple of times to ensure an even consistency.
  4. Use a 1 Tablespoon ice cream scoop and portion out the dough onto a baking sheet sprinkled with a Tablespoon of rice flour. You should yield 12 balls.
  5. Then take each ball of dough and flatten it down with your hands so that you have small pancake shaped disks (Pick up the cake after each time you flatten it so it doesn’t stick to the pan.) Set the rice cakes aside on the baking sheet.
  6. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil over high heat in a large pot. Add the salt and stir. 
  7. Add 5-6 pieces of rice cakes to the pot, one at a time. Let it simmer in the pot for about 1 minute, until it floats to the surface. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to remove one rice cake from the pot. Let the water drain off over the pot.
  8. Dip the rice cake into the coconut first and then into the sesame sugar. Make sure each side is coated well and then place it on a serving plate. Continue straining and dipping each rice cake. Place the Palitaw on a serving plate once you finish dipping.
  9. You can also strain all of the rice cakes at one time, but make sure to dip the pieces straight away, so they don’t have a chance to congeal and stick together in a clump. 
  10. Continue cooking and coating until all of the rice cakes are finished. Sprinkle any remaining coconut and sesame sugar on top of the finished Palitaw. Serve immediately.


*The rice cakes are best the day they are made. But if you have any leftovers, cover the plate with plastic wrap and eat it the next day. A few seconds in the microwave can help soften it up a touch.

Keywords: filipino sweets, healthy sweets, asian desserts, palitaw, coconut, sticky rice



For several months now, I’ve been hearing about this start up company called Omsom. From Food and Wine to Vogue to Epicurious, it keeps showing up in all my buzzy food media. Founded by the daughters of Vietnamese immigrants, Omsom aims to bring authentic and read more

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo

Do you love quick easy recipes that taste like you’ve spent the better part of the day cooking? Me too! Well, Chicken Adobo is definitely at the top of that list. I’m always amazed that this recipe requires so little effort and so few ingredients, read more

Sinigang Shrimp Soup

Sinigang Shrimp Soup

Sinigang is a traditional Filipino soup. It is characterized by its medley of sweet, tangy, and tart flavors. While it is typically made with pork, I love this shrimp version because it is so light and fresh tasting. It’s the kind of soup that is just as home when it’s a little chilly out as it is in our sweltering Miami heat. My husband is from the Phillipines so I make Sinigang Shrimp Soup when he’s feeling homesick. And while deeply flavorful, it comes together very quickly with the help of some streamlined techniques and ingredients that pack a punch. It’s also a great way to add some extra vegetables into your meal.

It’s all about the broth!

sinigang ingredients


Making it flavorful

I start this soup by making a deeply flavored broth. I cheat a little by using store bought chicken broth; I prefer the low sodium kind so I can control both the amount of salt, and the quality of the salt in my finished dish. After sautéing my aromatics, fresh ginger and onion, I add the chicken stock and simmer to steep the flavors. If you have homemade chicken stock, feel free to use it here and your soup will be even more delicious.


Frozen shrimp is absolutely fine and delicious. In fact, almost all of the shrimp that is available to purchase is frozen. And unless you have a source for locally caught shrimp and can get it right off the boat, frozen is convenient and available year round. Frozen shrimp is flash frozen when caught, preserving its freshness. When you get “fresh” shrimp at most grocers, it has been previously frozen and is sitting in its thawed water for days, adversely affecting the texture.

So if you have a choice, ask them if they have frozen shrimp and defrost it yourself.  I usually buy peeled, tail on shrimp, 21/25 size, meaning that there are 21-25 pieces of shrimp per pound. You can use larger shrimp, like 16/20, or smaller like 36/40, but you will have to adjust your cooking time accordingly. To thaw it, I put the shrimp into a bowl of cold water. They thaw in less than 10 minutes, and then I drain and pat them dry. If the recipe calls for a quick shrimp broth, I buy unpeeled shrimp so I can use the peels and tails for that purpose. 


To give the Sinigang broth its characteristic tart flavor, I add tamarind concentrate. Tamarind is a fruit used throughout Asia and Latin America. It has a rich, sweet flavor combined with citrusy notes. It’s readily available in Miami since it is used in many Latin dishes, but any decent Asian grocer should have it, as well as being available online. There really isn’t a great substitution for it; pureed apricots may be used, but your soup will still be delicious without it. We also add vinegar, lemon juice, fish sauce, and some brown sugar which will give it lots of zing and authentic Filipino flavor. Fish sauce, a traditional ingredient across Southeast Asia, imparts a pungent blast of umami flavor. These days it is stocked in the Asian section of most grocery stores. While it smells very fishy in the bottle, it really adds a nice bit of salty funky flavor, and the pungent scent kind of dissipates in the dish (or maybe your nose just gets used to it!).


Once the broth has simmered, it’s time to add the veggies. I use Chinese eggplant, which is longer, thinner, and more tender than its Italian cousin. It also has fewer seeds, making it less bitter. Chinese eggplant can be found at Asian markets, but you can use Italian or Globe as well. Alternatively, feel free also to add or sub your favorite vegetables. For example, zucchini or summer squash would work well here, as would trimmed snow peas. If you have some mushrooms you need to use up, they would be great additions too. The vegetables only need to cook in the simmering broth for a few minutes: just until they are soft and tender!

eggplant sinigang




Then we add the vinegar, tomato and the shrimp, which will cook very quickly, just 1-2 minutes. Once the shrimp starts to curl up and turn pink, we add the spinach and then remove from heat. Finally, taste the soup, and adjust the seasonings. If you want it with a saltier, funkier punch, add a little more fish sauce. If you want it tarter, add a little more tamarind or vinegar.


Your delicious, authentic Sinigang Shrimp Soup is ready to eat! A healthy flavorful dish made in under an hour!

If you like my Sinigang Shrimp Soup, we want to know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag us in your photos, @funkyasiankitchen. Show us the goods!

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Sinigang Shrimp Soup

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: Filipino


A light and bright fresh soup, with traditional sweet and sour Filipino flavors.


  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • ½ large onion cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger (about 1 oz.), peeled and lightly smashed
  • 4 cloves large garlic lightly smashed
  • 3 cups chicken broth (use low salt if store bought)
  • 4 oz tamarind concentrate
  • 2 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 chinese eggplant cut in half lengthwise and then thinly sliced 
  • 1 medium tomato cut in half, seeded, and diced into medium cubes
  • 4 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ pound large shrimp (21/25 size), peeled and deveined
  • 5 oz baby spinach


Lemon wedges



  1. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook until they soften and are aromatic, about 3 minutes. Take care to keep the aromatics from burning by lowering the heat if necessary.
  2. Add the chicken broth, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce and light brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat so that the broth simmers gently for 15 minutes. 
  3. Add the eggplant and green beans and simmer for 3-4 mins.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for another 2 mins. and then add the vinegar and shrimp and simmer until the shrimp is just cooked through 1-2 mins.
  5. Add the spinach, taste the soup and adjust seasoning (add fish sauce or salt if needed). 
  6. Serve the soup immediately with lemon wedges on the side for friends to add as they like. (Make sure to fish out the ginger before serving.)