Ginataan happens to be a soupy, comforting, dessert-worthy creation, courtesy of the Philippines. The name actually refers broadly to food cooked with coconut milk, but the version to which I'm referring is what first introduced me to the term ginataan: a sweetened coconut-milk based concoction including saba (a type of plantain), sweet potato, bilo-bilo (glutinous rice balls), sago (tapioca pearls), ube (purple yam), and langka (jackfruit) that is eaten as a dessert, hot or cold. I only had a few of the aforementioned ingredients on hand when I decided to make this easy dish, resulting in a simplified version that still ended up suiting my tastes.
Ginataan (printable recipe)
Yields 4 to 6 servings
1 13-oz can coconut milk, divided
1/4 c water
1/4 c raw sugar
2 saba or plantains, peeled and chopped
1 small satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potato), cooked, peeled, and chopped
3 T tapioca pearls (I happened to have black ones, but the color doesn't matter.)
1/4 c mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
Additional water to be combined with mochiko
Cook tapioca pearls in boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine half the coconut milk, water, and raw sugar. Stir and heat over medium-low, until the sugar is dissolved, the increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, combine mochiko with just enough water to form a stiff but pliable dough. Divide the dough into 12 balls, then drop them gently in the boiling liquid. Boil the rice balls gently for 10 minutes or until tender, then remove them and set aside. Add the remaining coconut milk, reduce heat to medium, and add the saba. Cook just until soft (a few minutes), then add the sweet potato, rice balls, and tapioca. Allow everything to heat through, then remove from heat. Serve warm or chilled.
As I mentioned earlier, the sweet type of ginataan often includes purple yam and jackfruit, but I omitted them due to lack of availability. Of course, you can certainly add them in--as well as whatever else you may fancy--for even more chunky goodness. I am most accustomed to eating ginataan chilled, but it's also wonderful warm, just after being made. For cool weather comfort, it makes more sense to go for the latter method of consumption, but it really is a treat either way. I encourage you to try both and enjoy!