Pinoy Merienda: Why Is This Sweet Rice Cake Called "Palitaw"?

Eduardo Joven
Eduardo Joven | Feb 29, 2016

Palitaw is a sweet rice cake that can be easily cooked and is usually served during merienda. The reason why palitaw is called as such is because it pops up or it floats once it's already cooked. 

Cooking palitaw is very easy, just scoop the dough, flatten it, then drop it into boiling water, and wait until it floats to the surface which is an indicator that it's finally cooked. 

Learn how to cook palitaw by following the easy steps below: 


  • 2¼ cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup water, room temperature
  • 2 cups fresh grated coconut
  • 1 cup light or dark mascovado sugar
  • 3 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds


  1. Combine glutinous rice flour with water and mix with a spoon until a dough is formed.
  2. Knead the dough just until smooth and softened.
  3. Scoop about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough then shape it into a ball and make another ball until you’re done with the dough. I made 18 pieces of glutinous rice balls.
  4. Lightly wet your hands so it won’t stick on your palm then flatten the rice balls using the palm of your hands, and set aside.
  5. Boil water in a cooking pot then put-in the flattened palitaw dough in batches. Don’t overcrowd your pot to avoid them sticking to each other.
  6. When the palitaw dough starts to float, just leave it for 2 minutes more before you remove them from the pot. Use a slotted spoon so that the water will drip off.
  7. Roll the palitaw in fresh grated coconut then arrange it on a serving plate and sprinkle big amount of mascovado sugar on top, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

READ more Pinoy Recipe articles on Choose Philippines

(These recipe and photos were previously published on For more features about Philippine food and delicacies, LIKE Pinoy Recipe FB Page.)

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