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How to Make Palitaw [With Pictures]

Updated on September 17, 2015
lee custodio profile image

Lee is a freelance researcher and writer for six years. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Management.

What is Palitaw

Palitaw is a typical afternoon snack in the Philippines. The word Palitaw literally translate to “float” or “rise.” It describes how you would know when the cake is already done—as it will float through the boiling water. It is typically made with grinned glutinous rice flour, freshly squeezed coconut milk, and topped with sesame sugar.

I was motivated to write about this recipe with Filipino expats in mind. Living in a foreign country, food is sometimes the most convenient way to bring comfort and remind you of home. But sometimes, Filipino delicacies may be difficult or time consuming to prepare.

This recipe’s ingredients are all readily available in most grocery (or at least here in Asia). Something Pinoy living in the city who crave for this familiar treat will find useful, as galapong (freshly grinned glutinous rice) or freshly squeezed coconut milk are sometimes difficult to find. Those who want to try something new or is curious about Filipino cuisines are also welcome to try this. This is a a very simple dish that requires only 5-ingredient.

5 stars from 1 rating of Palitaw

All you need are 5-ingredient


  • 1 Pack Glutinous Rice Flour
  • 1 Pack Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 5 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Sesame Seeds


  1. In a bowl, mix the rice flour and coconut milk until it forms a dough. If it's too dry, add a few tablespoon of water. If you get it too wet, just add more flour until it does not stick to your finger.
  2. Divide the dough into two and the 2-part into two and so on until you have pingpong-sized dough balls.
  3. Boil water in a pot.
  4. While waiting for the water to boil, toast the sesame seeds until it release its oil. After toasting, combine sesame seeds with sugar in a bowl, set aside. Using the same pan to toast the sesame seeds, toast the desiccated coconut until it turns light brown.
  5. Flatten your rice dough then drop in boiling water. Once it float, remove from water and coat with the toasted coconut. Dust of excess coconut and place in a serving plate.
  6. To enjoy Palitaw, just add the sesame sugar according to desired taste.
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: This makes about 18-24 Palitaw

You may also use powdered coconut milk if you can't find the one in can. Just reconstitute according to label instructions.


  • Coconut milk can be substituted with evaporated milk, plain milk, or coconut water.
  • Brown sugar is just my preference as I find it to be a healthier option. The typical Palitaw requires refined white sugar. If you want, you can opt for Muscovado or Palm sugar for a healthier alternative.
  • For contrast in color, you could use black sesame seeds

Mix flour and coconut milk till it forms a dough

Divide the dough into small balls and flatten them in your hand

Drop the flattened dough in a pot of boiling water

Drop the flattened dough in a pot of boiling water. When it floats, it's done.
Drop the flattened dough in a pot of boiling water. When it floats, it's done.

Coat in toasted coconut

Dust off excess coconut and transfer to a serving plate

Top with sesame sugar before serving and enjoy!

© 2015 lee custodio


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    • lee custodio profile image

      lee custodio 2 years ago

      thank you @SmartAndFun and @Donna Sundblad ! Try looking at the Asian section or in Asian/ Filipino specialty store. These are widely-common and popular ingredients in Asian cooking. :-)

    • lee custodio profile image

      lee custodio 2 years ago

      @prasetio30, please give me a feedback once you've made this. would love to hear about it. :-)

    • SmartAndFun profile image

      SmartAndFun 2 years ago from Texas

      This sounds like it would taste yummy! I have never heard of it. I hope I can find the ingredients in the US. Would be fun to make and taste this!

    • Donna Sundblad profile image

      Donna Sundblad 2 years ago from Georgia

      This looks like an interesting dessert. If I can find the ingredients, I'm going to give it a try.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 2 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice hub and I really enjoy the step by step instruction here. It sound delicious. Thanks for writing. Take care!