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.

  • Melissa

    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

      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??

  • Connie

    Melissa, it’s in the archives. Search under “Filipino >> snacks” in the category list or use use the search box.

  • naoj12

    i love palitaw!

  • Joe Bariring

    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.


  • Connie

    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.

  • nong

    how do they cook squid in pressure cooker like the one in the can you buy in oriental store. cant find any of them any more like the canned cuttlefish.

  • lucy

    i really love palitaw….:wink:

  • leng from netherlands

    hi connie! i tried doing palitaw but i was wondering why i ended up with a rubbery palitaw :( i did followed your recipe and the procedure perfectly but still. palitaw is my favorite pinoy snack and i really want to learn how to do it since im so far away from home and i miss it a lot :(
    help, connie!

  • Connie

    leng, rubbery as in matigas? try adding more water to the dough. the “hardness” of flour varies.

  • angel come i can’t find the recipe for puto and cutchinta? i really wanna try this recipe hehe..and love to try your other recipes,looks good! nag-uumpisa pa lang akong mag-aral magluto hehe ..and i miss the filipino food since i lived here in CA. i want to learn how to cook filipino dishes, and kaya ako nag-aaral magluto para sa husband ko, i wanna surprise him. i already add your site at my favorites. can u email me or post the recipes?thanks a lot.

    • MALOU CABRIGAS or facebook

      sa puto naman.. ito ang version ko::: **2c.any pancakes, **1c.white sugar/or half only , **1/2T baking powder=MIX3 ing:-) another bowl **1-1/2c fresh milk, ** 2 melted butter, mix both, then 2 eggs mix, combine all. Steam 15min in High..
      I will take pictures sa linggo para makita sa facebook..
      Good luck.

  • angel

    im sorry my bad, i mean recipe for cutchinta only coz i found the recipe 4 the puto hihi..

  • anna

    try to roll it on black sesame seeds w/ sugar or pounded peanuts…it’s also good,i love palitaw a lot…

  • sheila

    hi! i just copied ur recipe on palitaw and i’ll try it anytym. it’s gonna be my 1st to use glutinous rice coz my aunt would use ground rice in making palitaw. here’s 1 tip. u can also mix ground roasted peanut with the linga and sugar, on top of the grated coconut. it’s superb! by the way, i got a lot of ur recipes since i’m really searching for additional recipes for a snack house i’m planning to put up with my bro. tnx a lot!more power, so u can feature more recipes. God bless!

  • chunky

    this is the first time i saw a recipe for galapong- i thought for the longest time that i can only buy it in the market. i was just asking my husband the other day if he knows for sure if the “galapong sa palengke” is safe. Now, i don’t need to worry- i will make this asap as I have not eaten palitaw for ages. once again, thanks a lot!

  • chunky

    oops, i forgot to ask if can you share the rice flour brand you are using?

  • Connie

    chunky, i’d rather not buy galapong from the market either. exposed to the dust and flies and it’s not as though you can wash it at home. it’s just rice and water anyway. :)

    re brand of rice flour: i’m not particular about the brand. but there is a difference between glutinous rice flour and plain rice flour.

  • Kris

    Have you tried using mochi flour? That’s what we used to make palitaw and also to make the bola-bola in ginatang gabi and kamote.

  • Connie

    Kris, mochi flour is the Japanese name for glutinous rice flour.

  • Kris

    Thanks Connie. I’ll try the rice flour. I just found your site not too long ago and let me tell you — It’s very helpful and entertaining. I like the way you write and the subtle hint of humor in it. I have a question about steaming siopao, though, how come the store bought siopao has smoother top? Do you know the secret?

    Looking forward to your puto recipe. Thank you again.

  • candy

    Hello Connie,

    Thank you for this recipe,
    but I’m wondering what is the difference with glutinous rice flour and rice flour?

    Can palitaw be substituted with rice flour only?

    More power!

  • Connie

    “what is the difference with glutinous rice flour and rice flour”

    think malagkit na bigas and ordinary bigas.

  • candy

    I was excited to try this recipe.
    I only tried a cup of peotraco glutious flour since I know I always make a disaster the first time…

    I used 1C Glutinous rice flour
    and around 1/2C water
    but its came out soft so I ended adding more flour,
    around 1/2C more before I was able to shape it.
    Is it possible I didn’t mix the G.R. Flour enough?

    It took a longer time to cook also. And a little rubbery.

    I dunno what I did wrong. =(
    Where did you buy your G.R.flour?
    Please advice. Thank you.

    btw, do you know where to buy cornmeal?

  • Connie

    Candy, the dought should be soft. Otherwise, after cooking it turns rubbery.

    Cornmeal — at The Landmark in TriNoma.

  • candy

    But if its soft, how do we shape it and how do we drop it on water?
    Sorry, I wanna learn but little skill on cooking.

    Thank you. I wiil try to go to trinoma.

  • Connie

    Flour your hand. :)

  • candy

    Thank you, I’ll try this soon.

  • candy

    hello Connie,
    I tried palitaw with a different brand of Glutinous Rice flour and its perfect.
    Thanks again.
    btw I saw cornmeal at hi-top supermarket.

  • Rob

    Finally, I made this one right. Used plain rice flour before but hard/rubbery. Used Glutinous rice flour this time and its perfect. As connie says, flour your hand that’s the trick. Make sure that the dough is as soft as possible.

  • A scientist in the kitchen

    Hi Connie, I’ve been cooking palitaw for Media Noche since I was in Grade 5! I have been using rice flour for several years as is it easier to get it than the galapong. I had the same problems like getting a rubbery palitaw. So what I did was to mix the water and flour and let it stand for at least an hour. This hydrates the rice flour and you get the consistency as when using galapong. I got this idea from preparing galapong, binababad muna sa tubig ang malagkit bago igiling, diba?

  • eliza

    Connie, we dont have freshly grated coconut here in New Zealand. Can I used dessicated coconut instead? thanks

  • Connie

    Gay, yep I know that the rice is soaked before grinding but I had no idea that the same principle would work with flour! Wow.

    Eliza, am not sure if you’ll get the same effect. Dessicated coconut has been dehydrated. Maybe so can try soaking it in hot water first?

  • marlet

    connie, I just finished making a batch of palitaw using your recipe. The result was a hard, rubbery disc even after I added more water. I started again this time using glutinous rice flour and the result was perfect. Did you really mean rice flour? My conclusion, glutinous rice flour is the best for palitaw. Keep on cooking!

  • Connie

    yep, I used rice flour, not glutinous rice flour. There might be a difference in the variety of rice used in making the flour.

  • http://pinoycook rio

    connie pwede ba akong gumamit ng malagkit na rice flour for palitaw?

  • http://pinoycook rio

    connie c rio to.i love palitaw may tips ka ba if paano magluto ng masarap na palitaw

  • jhell

    hi connie!

    ive started to learn cooking, and i’m happy about it. my husband has been very supportive, and he loves the food i’ve made. thanks for the recipes, they’ve been very helpful!

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  • Pat

    Hi Tita its me again.

    Is it just rice flour? Or is it malagkit flour?

  • Connie

    Pat, just regular rice flour.

  • maria

    Saan bili nag murang palitaw?

    • Connie

      Sa palengke.

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  • ginger

    Is there any substitute for the coconut in making the palitaw?

    • Connie

      No, although you may use rehydrated (dry) dessicated coconut if you can’t get freshly grated coconut.

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  • Sheila

    I made a half batch of this but still sobrang dami pa din. Is it better to cook the palitaw then store or leave it uncooked?

    • Connie

      Cook, roll in niyog then freeze (separate layers with baking paper).

      To serve, thaw just enough to separate then steam.

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  • christine siang

    good day c0nnie.i didn’t kn0w pwde pla gmitin sa palitaw ang rice flour?! My late lola kc she used malagkit na bigas na nabbili sa palengke at pnapagiling pa then pin0ng-pino na as in katulad ng flour.she makes a sc00p of nagiling na malagkit na rice and she puts water in malagkit, mix it then she makes small circle then flatten.while gumagawa ng circle nagppabukal ng water 3/4 ng kaldero.bukal na un water dahan2x hulog un naflatten at kpag lumutang na un palitaw,luto na.inilagay sa grated c0c0nut at binudburan ng sesame seeds at asukal that’s it. Yummy Palitaw! Take n0te my white and vi0let na rice malagkit.

    • Connie Veneracion

      Christine, that’s how it was done before there was rice flour in pouches. In your lola’s generation, there was no other way. Rice flour today comes in regular and sticky varieties.

  • JP

    Hi connie
    I always love palitaw, but I tried making it couple of times na but when they get cooked they are soft but when they get cool or room temperature they get hard as in super tigas what did I do wrong please help, walang palitaw kasi ditto kaya I need to know how to make it.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Connie Veneracion

      You tried it a couple of time using which recipe?

      • JP

        your recipe. but its still the same it gets hard when they get cold.

        • Connie Veneracion

          Try adding more water in proportion to the flour. Different brands have different absorption levels.

          • JP

            Oh ok thank you so much Connie I will try that right away, salamat sa Reply.