How to Make Filipino Sticky Balls


Filipino sticky rice balls, know in the Philippines as carioca, are a tasty treat made from rice flour and coconut, then covered with sweet coconut milk and a brown sugar glaze. They are served year-round, but are especially popular during the holidays. Carioca can be purchased from shops and street vendors, and can be served in a dish or on bamboo skewers.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 1/2 cups malagkit rice flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup macapuno
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-2 cups vegetable oil
  • Wok or saucepan
  • Paper towels
  • Bamboo skewers

Creating The Glaze

  • Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir to prevent the coconut milk from clotting or solidifying.

  • Add the brown sugar to the coconut milk while stirring. Adding the brown sugar a spoonful at a time may take longer, but it will prevent the sugar from forming clumps.

  • Stir the mixture over medium heat until it becomes syrupy. The mixture will become somewhat opaque when it it ready.

  • Turn of the heat and set the glaze aside.

Creating The Rice Balls

  • Mix the malagkit rice powder, the baking powder, and the macapuno, otherwise known as sweet preserved strips of coconut, in a bowl.

  • Add the milk and water to the mixture and mix well. The dough should become thick and malleable.

  • Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan.

  • Use two tablespoons to shape the rice dough mixture into balls. You can do this by hand, but using tablespoons makes the process quicker and easier.

  • Place the dough balls in the heated oil--do it one at a time, gently, in order to keep the oil from splattering.

  • Cook the dough balls for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Turn them every minute or so to avoid burning.

  • Remove the cooked dough balls from the pan and place on a draining rack or on several layers of paper towels. Let the dough balls rest for about five minutes to allow any excess oil to drain.

Serving The Finished Product

  • Pierce a cooked sticky rice ball with a bamboo skewer. Repeat the process three more times, so that you have four rice balls on your skewer.

  • Adjust the rice balls so that you have about three inches available on each side of the skewer, to use as handles, and so that the rice balls are evenly dispersed.

  • Set your skewer on a plate and pour the glaze over the top of it. Rotate your skewer while pouring the glaze for maximum coverage.

  • Repeat the skewering and glazing process for each of your skewers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow several cups of malagkit rice to soak overnight. Use a blender to grind the softened malagkit. Allow it to dry and use the resulting powder in place of store bought malagkit rice powder.
  • Serve your sticky ball skewers with plenty of napkins. They can be quite messy.
  • Use caution when dealing with hot oil--it can cause serious burns. Use a grease guard whenever possible.
  • Never leave your cooking sticky balls unattended. Not only will they burn, but heat and grease left unattended produce can a serious fire hazard.

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