Guinataan means cooked with gata or coconut cream (or milk); halo-halo literally means mix-mix. Guinataang halo-halo is a sweet snack or dessert made with chunks of saba bananas, kamote (sweet potatoes), gabi (taro), sago (tapioca balls) and bilo-bilo (sticky rice balls) cooked in sweetened coconut milk.
This is a treat that my lola (grandmother) used to cook on weekends. When my brother and I craved for it during weekdays, she would buy some during her bi-weekly trip to the wet market. My lola would cook guinataang halo-halo in a huge pan over the outdoor gas stove. The cut bananas, kamote, gabi and langka (jackfruit) would be placed in basins until they were ready for boiling. And there would be mounds and mounds of grated coconut out of which the cream would be squeezed. That was a long time ago. In my mind, I sometimes relive the excitement of those weekend cookouts.
It was also my lola who introduced my own kids to guinataang halo-halo, the beginning of their appreciation for any dish with coconut cream or milk.
This is an updated or should I say upgraded version of a recipe that I have already posted last summer. I deleted that one to avoid double entries but the URL stays the same, despite the difference in dates so long as I do not change the title. Ah, yes, the beauty of the blogging software that I’m using allows me to do just that.
What do I mean by updated cum upgraded? Well, the old recipe did not include bilo-bilo, those sticky rice balls made from galapong. Galapong is ground glutinous rice mixed with water to form a rather soft dough. The dough is formed into small balls, about an inch in diameter, and dropped into the hot coconut milk. Most wet markets in the Philippines sell galapong. If unavailable in your area–I don’t think they sell galapong in London or in L.A. ;-)–just mix glutinous rice flour with water to form a soft dough. Let it rest for a while before forming them into balls.
Sago is available dried or fresh. Choose the small ones, the smallest available.
6 saba bananas
4 yellow kamote (sweet potatoes)
5-6 gabi (taro)
1 c. of small dried sago (tapioca balls)
4 c. of coconut milk
3/4 to 1 c. of white sugar
1/2 tsp. of salt
a pinch of anise seeds (optional)
Cooking procedure :
Peel the bananas, kamote and gabi. Cut into chunks (11/2” to 2″ chunks would be ideal).
Boil about 3 c. of water in a saucepan. Add the gabi. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the kamote and sago. Simmer for another five minutes before adding the saba bananas and the bilo-bilo. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add the sugar and salt. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the sugar and anise seeds, if using. Pour in the coconut milk and cook over low heat, uncovered, for another five minutes or until everything is tender but not mushy, stirring often to avoid sticking.
Cool for a few minutes before serving.
Guinataang halo-halo may be served warm or cold.