#FilipinoFoodSessions - Bitsu Bitsu (Fried balls of rice dough with caramelized brown sugar)
Recently I've been really inspired to try out some of my fave Filipino recipes. So this week I have another installment of my #FilipinoFoodSessions, this time featuring one of my all-time favorite sweet treats: Bitsu Bitsu. This treat is somewhat nostalgic as the only person who has ever made this for my family and I (at least from my memory) is my grandma Lenor! Like many Filipino families, my grandma lived with us in our house for most of my childhood and I still remember the excitement I felt when i would come into the kitchen and see a big plate of these doughy sweets waiting on the counter. It's hard to explain what these taste like... the caramelized sugar forms somewhat of a crunchy sugary crust on the outside but when you take a bite, the inside is soft, sweet & sticky due to the glutinous rice flour that is used. They were definitely a treat and would be gobbled up VERY quickly!
Here is a picture of my grandma and I (Inang, is what most people would call her), isn't she the cutest? <3
Since my grandma isn't with us today, I wasn't able to get her exact recipe and method for cooking these yummy treats. And it's been quite awhile since I've had bitsu bitsu that I couldn't even remember what they were called! My sister and cousins had a frantic brainstorming session over group chat trying to figure out what they were called... we didn't even know what to google! Filipino rice balls? (there's quite a number of recipes that fall under this lol) Fortunately, we were FINALLY able to figure it out --> Bitsu Bitsu :) *happy dance*
So keep scrolling to see how I made my Bitsu Bitsu...definitely not as good as my grandma's but close enough <3
VERY IMPORTANT! Make sure you use "Glutinous" rice flour...do not use normal rice flour. It simply won't work!
This is the consistency that you want from your dough. If you measure out all your ingredients and mix together and it still looks too watery or too dry...just adjust! Add more rice flour if it's too sticky or add more water if it's too dry :)
Another trick... from what I remember, my grandma used to roll these dough balls with one hand so they came out kinda scrunched and not perfectly circular. So that's why these are kind of oddly shaped, but that's how I remember them and that's how I like them :)
After frying (which only takes about 3-4 minutes) these are what the fried balls of dough look like. Make sure to keep moving them around the pan, you can see some sides were a little more brown than others, that's b/c I let them sit in one spot for too long (oops!)
The caramelized sugar should be syrupy like below... takes about 5 minutes on high heat.
You should be able to run the edge of a spoon through the syrup, leaving a clean line that lasts for a second or two.
No real science here...just pour all the sugar syrup onto the dough balls and mix with a spoon. The sugar will start hardening, leaving a nice crispy sugar crust. Mmmmmm SARAP! (Delicious)
Next time, I'm going to make these a little bigger. My grandma would make them about double the size but mine turned out to be the size of timbits...so I just kept eating one after the other!!! Made sure I went to the gym to counteract all those calories >.<
First bite impressions: Below is what your bitsu bitsu should look like inside! That sweet, sticky, soft and chewy dough inside is moneyyyyy!
Bitsu Bitsu (Filipino Fried Rice Dough Balls)
Adapted from MyMamasRecipes
Makes 20 timbit sized balls
2 1/2 C glutinous rice flour
1/2 C coconut milk
1/2 C hot water
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C water
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, coconut milk and hot water until a dough is formed. The dough shouldn't be too sticky or too dry. Adjust with more flour or water if necessary.
2. Flour a plate and your hands, then roll the dough into balls. The size is up to you, I made mine into the size of tim bits (sorry, a Canadian reference... a little smaller than a golf ball). You can use my grandma's technique and roll it with one hand only, to get a more scrunched appearance. Place the rolled dough onto the floured plate.
3. Heat a large frying pan with about 1 inch of oil, when the oil is hot a piece of the dough will sizzle when dropped into it. Without overcrowding the pan, place a few dough balls into the oil and fry for about 3-4 minutes, make sure to move the dough around frequently...they will burn if left in one spot.
4. Once done frying, place the dough balls on a plate covered with paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Now you can make the sugar syrup: In a small sauce pan, add the water and sugar and on high heat, reduce the mixture until a syrupy consistency is achieved.
5. Place all the dough balls into a large bowl and pour all of the syrup on top. Stir to coat all of the balls with the syrup until all of the balls have a sugar coating. And that's it! Serve right away, devour & enjoy!