Palitaw is a Filipino rice cake cooked in boiling water, dredged in freshly grated coconut and sprinkled with sugar mixed with toasted sesame seeds.


This recipe has been updated from the version originally published in 2003.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 rice cakes
Author Connie Veneracion


  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (any color will do but brown sesame seeds are the most aromatic and have the best nutty flavor)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Spread the grated coconut in a wide shallow bowl.
  • Mix the cooled sesame seeds and sugar in another shallow bowl.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the glutinous rice flour and salt. Pour in 3/4 cup of water. That's water at room temperature. Not hot. Not warm. Not cold. Mix until you have a soft dough that comes together. The dough shouldn't be crumbly nor should it be wet. Altitude affects the texture of dough so you may need to use less or more water.
  • Pinch off about a tablespoon of dough. Repeat until you have uniformly sized small pieces of dough.
  • In a pot, boil enough water to reach a depth of at least six inches.
  • Flatten a piece of dough into a disc about a quarter of an inch thick and drop immediately in briskly boiling water. Cook the rice cakes three or four at a time to prevent them from sticking to each other.
  • The rice cake will sink to the bottom of the pot when you drop it. As soon as it rises to the top (it takes less than a minute if the temperature of the water is correct), scoop out with a slotted spoon and move to a plate.
  • Flatten and cook the rest of the rice cakes in the same way.
  • Coat both sides of each rice cake with grated coconut.
  • Serve the palitaw with the sugar-sesame seeds mixture on the side. Or cool the coconut coated rice cakes to room temperature and dredge in the sugar mixture. Serve as a snack or as dessert.


To freeze: Coat the palitaw with grated coconut, cool completely and stack in a tightly covered container. Stays good in the freezer for a month.
To reheat, transfer to heat-proof plate and steam until softened.