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Kakanin – Filipino "Native Rice Cakes"

Kakanin “Native Rice Cake”, made white and purple glutinous rice and sugar, with a sweet, caramelized coconut topping.

If you’re a fan of Japanese Mochi, then Kakanin should be right your alley. Kakanin is actually a very generalized name in Ilocano dialect for a popular Filipino rice cake dessert made with cooked glutinous white mochi rice called Malagkit, and in this case a type of purple rice called Pirurutong. In the Philippines, there are several varieties and sub-categories of the dish, including ingredients used and overall recipe, depending who and where you’re getting it from.

With this particular Kakanin, the white mochi rice and purple rice are cooked separately due to different cooking times; note that the purple rice must also be pre-soaked in water the night before in order to ready the hard, raw grains for cooking. After they’re both fully cooked, they’re combined in a non-stick pot with brown sugar until fully incorporated. Then it’s pressed into a serving pan and topped with a rich coconut topping called Latik.

Latik is made by heating coconut milk with a special type of hard cane sugar until reduced into a curd-like, condensed consistency with a brown color. This is good stuff!

Kakanin with Latik topping

At that point, the dish doesn’t require any further cooking, but is left in the serving pan that is covered until cooled, then cut into individual squares.

Think of it like this: If a Rice Krispy treat and Mochi had children, this would (sort of) be the result. lol

I especially appreciate that it isn’t overly-sweet, and while it’s sticky for sure, the whole grains of glutinous rice provide a most interesting texture that, personally, I prefer over mochi. Rounding it all out is that deceptively decadent, almost buttery condensed coconut Latik topping that makes this dish truly exotic.

Diner “C” brought this pan of Kakanin to share with us at work yesterday and we all loved it. Masarap!

Related links:
The Little Kakanin Book
Filipino Kakanin (Snacks)
Kakanin, Suman, Native Rice Cakes


6 thoughts on “Kakanin – Filipino "Native Rice Cakes"

  • February 25, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    I love rice sweets of all kinds. This looks especially ono. Lucky you, Diner C brings home-made treats to share!

  • March 4, 2008 at 7:22 am

    There should be a rating system here so I could give it plenny stars. This is just what I was looking for but gotta wait til I get back home to make some.

  • April 7, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    This looks delicious! I just finished making a batch of this from a recipe I got from a Filipino friend. I’ve never heard of, much less made, this dessert before so I was sort of flying blind and mine came out much much runnier. Maybe next time, mine will come out as beautiful as yours!

  • December 28, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    could somebody please share recipe for “shakoy” (it’s a twisted soft bread with sugar)..thanks

  • August 25, 2010 at 5:28 am

    hello may book po ba na available regarding s a native delicasies, saan po pwedeng bumili thanks


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