We keep a supply of rice flour in the house for general use. Lately, to make siopao (steamed dumplings) and puto (native rice cakes). When we recently ran out of rice flour, I asked my husband to pass by the supermarket on his way home from work to buy a kilo of rice flour. Surprise, surprise. The brand he bought had a few recipes printed in the plastic packaging. One of them was a recipe for palitaw. I used the recipe as a guide. With the given proportions, the dough was too stiff. Since I prefer my palitaw to be really soft, I added more water. Shaping was a little trickier but the cooked palitaw turned out just the way I want it.

So, what is palitaw? Palitaw is a native Filipino snack made with galapong–a soft dough or batter (depending on the amount of water) made with rice flour and water–cooked quickly in briskly boiling water, rolled in niyog ( freshly gratedcoconut) and served with a mixture of white sugar and toasted linga (sesame seeds). The name is derived from the Filipino word litaw, literally to surface.The name is descriptive of the way palitaw is cooked–the dough is dropped in a casserole of boiling water and when it rises to the surface after about 30 seconds, it is fully cooked. palitaw before rolling in sugar and grated coconut mixture of sugar and toasted sesame seeds for palitaw palitaw rolled in grated coconut but before sugar is added ready to eat palitaw

The first photo above shows a cooked palitaw before it is rolled in niyog. The second photo is the white sugar and linga mixture. The third photo shows a stack of palitaw after rolling them in niyog. The fourth photo shows an individual serving of palitaw.

Ingredients :

5 c. of rice flour
3-1/2 c. of water
1/3 c. of linga (sesame seeds)
1 c. of white sugar
3 c. of niyog (freshly grated coconut)

Cooking procedure :

Boil about 8 c. of water in a large saucepan or casserole.

Toast the linga (sesame seeds) in a small skillet, stirring often to avoid burning. Cool completely before mixing with the white sugar. Otherwise, the sugar will melt.

Mix the rice flour with the 3-1/2 c. of water until a soft dough forms. Take a teaspoonful of the dough and flatten it with your hands. Drop in the briskly boiling water. Cook a few pieces at a time. As soon as the dough rises to the surface, lift it out with a slotted spoon and roll in niyog (grated coconut). Repeat until all the dough has been cooked. Serve with the sugar and linga mixture.

To prolong the life of the cooked palitaw, freeze the palitaw (rolled in niyog but without sugar) in an air-tight container. Steam to refresh.


  1. Melissa says

    Would appreciate any help you can provide regarding how to make puto ( preferably putong puti ) if you dont mind sharing your recipe if you have any? I, too, have a supply of rice flour in my pantry and attempted to make some puto but it turned out to be a disaster! I have a recipe using bisquick but it doesnt come even remotely close to the putong puti I used to eat back home.

    • MALOU CABRIGAS or facebook says

      hi Mellisa, try mo ito.. Mix..
      2c bisquick, 2 eggs, 1c white sugar or 1/2 lang, 1/2 t baking powder, set aside. another mix 1-1/2c. cold milk and 2T melted butter, Mix all. Steam high for 10 15. Let me know..ok ba??

  2. Joe Bariring says

    One of my favorite Filipino snacks! My grandmother used to make them with the mixture of sugar and pulverized roasted sesame seeds inside and topped with freshly grated coconuts. I use glutinous rice flour instead but always unsuccesful with the sugar and sesame seed mixture inside (always break even before cooking). My eldest daughter loves them.
    Does your putong-puti recipe result in a cloudy-soft-white-melt-in-your-mouth-to-die-for puto? I can never make it. I have made many an experiment that always ended up in the trash.
    I wanted to ask for the recipe at a party but I learned that it was a business secret so I didn’t even dare.
    I’ll try yours when I come home to Maryland. I work in Buffalo, NY and am home every 2 weeks or so.


  3. says

    Joe, I think I pulled out my puto recipe when this blog was reconstructed last December following some technical issues. I’ll post it again, thanks for reminding me.