Glutinous Rice Balls in Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls (Ginataang Bilo-Bilo)

Glutinous Rice Balls in Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls (Ginataang Bilo-Bilo)

This snack is known as “ginataang bilo-bilo” in the Philippines. It consists of glutinous rice flour formed into small balls, tapioca pearls, ripe jackfruit, sweet potato, saba banana cooked and simmered in coconut milk.  Ginataan means cooked with/in or made with coconut milk. In addition, to the main ingredients I provided, you can also add cassava or yuca and ube yams (also known as purple yams).

Additional Tips and Instructions:

For the bilo-bilo: Don’t put a lot of water or it will be pasty. It will stick on your fingers and won’t be able to roll between your palms. But, in case you pour too much water, just a little bit of flour then mix until it’s not sticky anymore.

Substitute for saba banana: Since saba is not available where I live, I find plantain the best alternative. Just make sure you’re not using a very ripe plantain.

Cooking the tapioca pearls: I only used a half cup of dried (non-instant) tapioca pearls. You can use at least 4 cups of water as a start and just add more when it’s about to drain. Stir at least every 3-5 minutes to prevent the tapioca from sticking on the bottom of the pan. Non-instant or dried tapioca pearls takes 2-3 hours to completely cook. You can also soak them 6 hours or overnight to lessen the cooking time.

Glutinous Rice Balls with Jackfruit and Tapioca Pearls in Coconut Milk Ginataang Bilo Bilo 1

The leftover is good up to 2 days. Heat up for a few minutes in a microwave or stove top. Unless you used frozen tapioca pearls, it might only be good until the next day because they tend to harden fast.

Glutinous Rice Balls in Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls (Ginataang Bilo-Bilo)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 40 mins
Course: Dessert, snacks
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino, Philippines, Southeast Asia
Keyword: ginataang bilo bilo, ginataang langka, ginataang sago, tapioca pearls
Servings: 5
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 fresh or can/jar jackfruit
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls, cooked
  • 1 large (not too ripe) plantain banana, sliced
For The Bilo-Bilo
  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Cooking the Tapioca pearls: Fill the stock pot with water half deep. Add the tapioca pearls. Stir every 5-10 minutes to prevent them from sticking on the bottom of the pot. Add hot water if necessary. It takes 2-3 hours to completely cook the tapioca pearls. Drain the starch and set aside. You can soak it with water and sugar to stay hydrated.

  2. Making the glutinous rice balls or bilo-bilo: Pour the glutinous rice flour on a medium mixing bowl and add the water gradually while mixing. Form them into small balls with your palm.

Cooking all together:
  1. In a large stock pot, boil the coconut milk over medium-high heat. Stir and cover. Bring to a boil.

  2. Remove cover and stir. Add sweet potato and the bilo-bilo, then cover. Cook for 5 minutes.

  3. Uncover and stir. Add jackfruit, tapioca pearls, plantain, and sugar. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.

  4. Remove cover, stir and taste. If the sweetness is already good to your liking. Cover again and simmer for 20 minutes.

  5. Serve warm.

Watch the video:

The Cooking Pinay

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