Merienda is the Filipino version of brunch and afternoon tea. It’s a light meal that fills the gap between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. It’s quite popular in European and South American countries as well. But Filipinos have taken it to a whole new level.
As a rule a morning Merienda in Europe and South America is a light snack such as a piece of fruit or cookie paired with coffee or juice, in short sort of like a coffee break; the afternoon Merienda is usually tea accompanied by a baked snack such as scone or toast with jam or honey. Well in the Philippines the afternoon Merienda has evolved into a major event with big hotels offering lavish buffets between 3-5pm.
Even at homes the afternoon Merienda is often a larger meal than a mere snack, specially during holidays or when relatives come to visit. Meriendas can include noodle and meat dishes, Kakanin or snack foods, a variety of desserts, and beverages. As I’ve said Merienda can be an elaborate meal in the Philippines.
We thought we’d share our Merienda favorites with you in a Mereinda recipe series. We’ll be posting our favorite merienda recipes for the next little while. We hope you’ll find something you and your family will love! To start off the Merienda series here’s the recipe for Bibingka Galapong, it’s a merienda staple!
Galapong or milled glutinous rice is the main ingredient because rice is cheap and widely available. It’s also full of carbohydrates. In other countries you can buy glutinous rice flour in Asian Markets, it’s called Mochiko.
Most Filipinos tend to eat Bibingka after Misa de Gallo or the Christmas Evening Mass,. Bibingka is one of the best treats and almost everyone prefers it. We usually pair it with milk, hot chocolate, or Cape Barako, a pure strong coffee that blends perfectly with Bibingka.
Last week we made our version of Puto Cheese (Steamed Rice Cake with Cheese) one of the best Filipino snacks.
2 cups galapong (milled glutinous rice) or Mochiko (if not available use uncooked medium or short grain white rice)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water -use only if using uncooked medium or short grain rice then grinding it otherwise you do not need water
2 tbsp. butter, melted plus additional for brushing
1 cup thick coconut milk you can use canned coconut milk
1 tbsp. baking powder
10 oz cottage cheese or cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
1 sheet banana leaf cut in small, medium or large circle pieces you want, if not available use parchment paper
If using short or medium grain white rice: Soak rice in water overnight then drain the rice, reserving the liquid.
Grind the rice finely in a blender or food processor.
Add just enough of the reserved liquid so the mixture is not dry then set aside for about 12 hours at room temperature. Skip this step if using rice flour.
Preheat oven to 180ºC (350º F)
Beat eggs in a bowl until foamy. Add sugar and butter until fluffy.
Pour the coconut milk into the ground rice or rice flour and mix well.
Blend into the egg mixture, beating well until smooth.
Add the baking powder.
Wilt banana leaves by passing over an open flame for several seconds and get it immediately, don’t over flame it so that they do not crack when folded
Line 2 small baking dishes about 8 inches in diameter, with banana leaves or parchment paper
Brush banana leaves or paper with butter.
Pour mixture into the baking dishes.
Top with grated cheese and brush with butter again.
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Bibingka is best served hot so,
Serve, Share and Enjoy!!!!