Palitaw is a Filipino Rice Cake made with glutinous rice dough poached in water, once cooked it is coated with coconut, sugar and toasted sesame seeds.

Palitaw is one of the many rice cakes of the Philippines which is characterised by its small and flat shape.  These delights are made out of sticky rice that is washed, soaked, and then ground but due to commercialisation you can now find ground versions sold on Asian Shops.  Palitaw literally means “to float” in Tagalog and its given that name because on the way it is cooked.  Once prepared it will be in a shape of flat discs then dropped into a boiling water, at first it will sink to the bottom but when it is cooked it starts to float to the surface hence the name.  Once palitaw is cooked it is now drained one by one to prevent sticking.  It is then dipped into freshly grated coconut meat then dipped again on toasted sesame seed then one more time in sugar.

Now with the ingredients involved in this recipe of Palitaw,  everything will be a common pantry ingredient except for the freshly grated coconut specially if you are not living in a tropical country like me.   To replace that what I usually do is combining together desiccated coconut and coconut milk / cream.   Which means you just soak the dried desiccated coconut in coconut cream to re-hydrate them back to nearly their original state.

Palitaw is one of the easiest rice cakes to make, preparation is next to none and it cooks really fast (once you drop it in boiling water and it takes only around 20 seconds for each cake to float), that’s why in most of the homes in Philippines these treats are common in being served at tea time.  If you haven’t tried this before, give it a shot, its real easy.  And if you want to serve some unique treats with your guests, palitaw would be a start, it will certainly kick off a conversation, I know as I did it with my Kiwi friends.

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5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Filipino
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Palitaw is a Filipino Rice Cake made with glutinous rice dough poached in water, once cooked it is coated with coconut, sugar and toasted sesame seeds.




  1. In a non stick pan toast the sesame seeds, mix regularly until golden brown in color. Place in a plate then set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, soak desiccated coconut in 1/2 cup of coconut milk, mix well and make sure the coconut crumbs is properly re-hydrated.  Place in a plate then set aside.
  3. Place the sugar on a plate then set aside.
  4. In a large pot boil 2 litres of water.
  5. While waiting for the water to boil. Mix the glutinous rice flour with water until a soft dough forms (add or remove water as needed).
  6. Once a dough is formed get a table spoonful of dough, place it on a flat surface and flatten it with your palms or rolling pin. Now remove it with a flat frying spatula and drop it briskly in the boiling water. Place around 6 doughs at one time to prevent over crowding and sticking to each other. Now once it floats remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on the plate with grated coconut, give it a good drench then do the same with sesame seed plate, then finally on to the sugar plate.


This desicated coconut and coconut milk procedure is meant for those where fresh grated coconuts is not accessible, otherwise replace it with grated fresh mature coconut


  • Serving Size: 180 g
  • Calories: 690 kcal
  • Sugar: 26.86 g
  • Sodium: 19 mg
  • Fat: 16.42 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.887 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: ‭5.201‬ g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 125.11 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 10.79 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg



15 Responses

  1. boogie. says:

    my aunt who was visiting from the Philippines made these for us last month. its so strange how the smell, taste & even texture (especially palitaw) can bring back childhood memories.

  2. Sally says:

    I like the look of these. Glad to find your blog. Where I live there is a huge expat Filipino community but I know very little about the food or recipes so this is really interesting.

  3. This brings back memories of childhood. I used to make this.

    Came across your blog while searching for some Filipino recipes. It’s good to find a fellow Filipino who is passionate about good food.


  4. Florence says:

    Hi. You have a nice photo and recipe of the Palitaw. I would just like to ask fopr your permission if I can use this picture for a paper regarding Filipino food at school. Sorry for the informal way of asking, but I don’t know how else I could contact you. I hope you don’t mind. Rest assured that it will only be used for academic purposes only and that your blog will be properly cited. Thanks again. 🙂

  5. Mary says:

    I think this is the best recipe of palitaw I’ve seen. Was wondering if you can tell me the difference betweem coconut MILK and coconut CREAM. Also is it safe to consume coconut cream without cooking or warming it first. Do you think I can simmer it first then let it cool before soaking the shreded coconut flakes in it? Thank you for sharing your great recipes!!!!

    • rsmacaalay says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for your kind comments. About the difference, coconut milk has a liquid consistency while coconut cream is much thicker and richer. If you are unsure whether it is safe or not; yes you can always simmer it first then once cooled down you can soak the dessicated coconuts.

  6. Kristine says:

    Ilove all your recipes most especially the palitaw! I’ve been cooking a lot of kakanins but not the palitaw since I’m having difficulty in finding a store that sells fresh grated coconut here in Canada. I love your innovative way of cooking!

  7. My mom used to make this all the time. Her and my dad were Illocano, so they had a different name for it. Dila dila. Meaning tongue. I was born in the U.S., so you know things get lost in translation!

  8. Nora says:

    Can I substitute sweet white rice flour?

  9. JT says:

    I haven’t tried this yet, but my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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