Espasol are Filipino delicacies made from roasted rice flour and sweetened coconut milk. Soft and chewy, these rice cakes are a delicious snack or dessert.
Getting Filipino supplies and ingredients for the blog here in our central Texas has been quite frustrating. Having to drive twenty miles to the nearest Asian grocery store twenty miles just to find it half stocked compared to the Seafood City I used to go to makes me realize how spoiled I have been for the abundance of Asian restaurants and supermarkets and Filipinos from southern California.
The pandesal, kutsinta or pichi pichi that were readily available there and used to take for granted have become precious products for me here in the south. Now, if I long for Filipino kakanin or other delicacies, I have no choice but to do it myself. Which I guess is not a bad proposal.
Items purchased at the store can be scandalously expensive and sometimes not the best quality. And recreating childhood favorites in your own kitchen can be a lot of fun! What can be more rewarding than biting a soft and hard Spanish that you have worked for hours?
What is Espasol?
Espasol is a type of Filipino rice cake popularized in the province of Laguna. This classic delicacy is made of roasted glutinous rice flour cooked low and slow in coconut milk sweetened in a soft and chewy consistency.
The mixture is flattened to the desired thickness, sprinkled with toasted rice flour to cover and then cut into tubular or square shapes the size of a bite. Sticky rice cakes are usually wrapped in banana leaves or Japanese flimsy to serve.
The following recipe is a basic mixture of glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract and salt, but feel free of macapuno or grated buko to obtain an additional texture.
How to make Espasol
Although the ingredients are few and the procedure is quite simple, keep in mind that making Spanish involves a little fat in the elbow since the mixture should be thoroughly stirred and simmered for about 30 to 40 minutes or until it is very sticky or “makunat” (what is the English translation of this word?).
- In a wide skillet over medium heat, add sticky rice flour and toast, stirring regularly, for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until the color changes to pale gold and the aroma turns to nutty. Reserve 1 cup to cover the rice cakes later.
- Do not leave the pan unattended as the flour can burn quickly and will add a bitter taste to the mixture.
- In a wide skillet over medium heat, combine coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Bring to a boil until the sugar and salt dissolve.
- Gradually add 3 1/2 cups of roasted rice flour, beating vigorously to avoid lumps. Lower the heat and continue cooking, stirring and turning regularly, for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until the mixture is very sticky and becomes oily. You are ready when you are tense enough to retreat with a slight pull.
- Sprinkle a work surface with 1/2 of the reserved toasted rice flour. Place the espasol mixture and with a slightly greased knife or spatula, spread to flatten in about 1/2 thickness. Sprinkle the remaining toasted flour and cut the spasol in the desired lengths.
- I like to use a baking sheet to ensure uniform sizes. Watch the video below to see the procedure.
- Wrap the prepared espasol individually in banana leaves or wax paper if desired.
- For leftovers, store them in an airtight container and should be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Try these delicious rice cakes! They require a bit of arm training, but it’s worth the effort. They are delicious and delicious delicacies to have on hand for a midday snack or dessert after meals.