Palitaw made with glutinous rice flour, grated coconut, sesame seeds, and sugar. Soft, chewy, and gluten-free, this Filipino delicacy is delicious nashville filipino food as snack or dessert.

Palitaw on a wooden serving plate

For day 7 of our holiday recipe series and as follow up to the sweet and sour meatballs yesterday is a classic Filipino delicacy, Palitaw. If you’re looking for a quick and easy snack or dessert to complete your holiday feast, this rice cake is a must on your menu!

With perfectly soft and chewy rice patty coated with grated coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and sugar, it’s sure to be the hit of the party!

glutinous rice flour dough in a glass bowl

What is Palitaw

Traditional Palitaw is made from glutinous rice grains which are soaked in water overnight and then processed into a soft dough via grinding. The dough is formed into thin patties, cooked in boiling water, and then coated with grated coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and sugar.

As their name which is from the Filipino root word “litaw” or “to surface” suggests, the patties will float or rise to the surface of the water when done.

pressing glutinous rice flour dough with finger

Due to the availability of commercial sweet rice flour, making these mochi cakes can’t get any easier than mixing the flour with water! It is important, however, to note that a good palitaw is all about the texture. Please check out my tips below on how to make them perfectly soft and chewy!

Tips on How to Make the Best Palitaw

  • To get the perfect chewy texture, you need the right ratio of glutinous rice flour and water. Not enough liquid and the cakes will be hard to chew. Too much and the patties will be hard to form.
  •  I find 1 cup of water to 2 cups of flour yields the best texture for my taste. The mixture will look dry at first but keep on mixing with your hands until it gathers into a smooth dough. The consistency you’re looking for is like that of a soft, pliable putty.
  • For more uniform size, use a small scoop to portion out the dough and use the palm of your hands to roll each portion into a ball and then flatten into an oval shape about 1/4 thick.
  • Once the patties rise to the surface, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water right away to keep from over-cooking. Drain well.
  • Let them cool just enough to touch and begin rolling in grated coconut as they coat better when still warm.
  • Roll the patties immediately in coconut but sprinkle the sugar-sesame mixture when you’re ready to serve as the sugar tends to dissolve over time. Or you can serve it on the side and allow the guests to sweeten the cakes as they like.
5 from 1 vote
Palitaw coated with grated coconut, sesame seeds, and sugar on a wooden serving plate
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Palitaw made with glutinous rice flour, grated coconut, sesame seeds, and sugar. Soft, chewy, and gluten-free, this Filipino delicacy is delicious nashville filipino food as snack or dessert.

Servings: 12Pieces
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Lalaine
  • 1/4cupsesame seeds
  • 1/2cupsugar
  • 2cupsglutinous rice flour
  • 1cupwater
  • 1cupgrated mature coconut
  • water for boiling
  1. In a pan over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, stirring frequently, for about 30 to 40 seconds or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  2. In a bowl, combine toasted sesame seeds and sugar. Set aside.

  3. In a bowl, combine rice flour and water and mix into a soft, pliable dough.

  4. Divide the dough into portions and using the palm of hands, shape into balls and then flatten into oval disks about 1/4-inch thick.

  5. In a pot over medium heat, bring about 5-inch deep of water into a rolling boil.

  6. Individually drop the rice patties into the boiling water, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the patties float to the surface,

  7. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the water and drain well. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined platter to keep from sticking together and let cool just enough to touch.

  8. While still warm, roll the palitaw on grated coconut to fully coat.
  9. Sprinkle with sesame-sugar mixture before serving.

Recipe Notes

To prevent dough from sticking, wet hands in between shaping dough into patties.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 171Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Sodium 2mg0%
Potassium 58mg2%
Total Carbohydrates 31g10%
Dietary Fiber 1g4%
Sugars 8g
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin C0.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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