There is a substantial workforce of Filipinos in Lebanon; due to their presence, stores have popped up with a selection of Filipino products.
I love the Filipino ladies that I have encountered in Lebanon and learned a bit about their culture as well.
These rice balls are a twist on a traditional Filipino dessert, palitaw, consisting of sticky rice pancakes boiled and topped with coconut, sugar and toasted sesame seeds (served on a banana leaf, I am told).
Don’t be afraid of working with sticky rice flour; it is extremely easy to form these balls. Just place a mound of flour in a mixing bowl, add enough water to get a dough (similar to play-dough) and you are done; (you can also add some sugar or coconut to the dough itself).
These balls are filled with a small sugar cube or a chocolate chip (I used white chocolate). The balls cook in just minutes in simmering water and are then dipped in shredded coconut.
INGREDIENTS: Makes about 18
- 1 cup of sticky rice flour (at Asian stores)
- 3/4 cup of water (can replace with coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup of small sugar cubes or chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
- 3 drops of food color (per color desired) (optional)
- Place the sticky rice flour in the bowl of a mixer; add the water gradually, mixing continuously, until a firm dough forms. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour and if it is too stiff, add a bit more water but do so gradually, one tablespoon at a time. If you want to color the balls, drop a few drops of food color in the dough and mix until the color is even throughout. Form the dough into even-sized balls and fill each ball with a small sugar cube or a few chocolate chips. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer and drop the cake balls, only a few at a time. Cook until the balls rise up to the surface and remove with a spoon and drop in a bucket of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and dip into the shredded coconut and serve.