Ginataang Halo Halo Recipe With Flavored Bilo Bilo and Tikoy

ginataan bowls with bilo bilo, sago, kamote, saba, tikoy in coconut milk sauce
IMAGE Roselle Miranda

Ginataan is one of those dishes that you might enjoy for merienda but it's also just as festive to serve for fiestas, celebrations, and other gatherings. Also known as ginataang halo halo, this version of the soupy dessert is inspired by the genius dessert by Luk Yuen that takes the humble ginataan and gives it a Chinese New Year twist: it's got tikoy mixed in. The beloved Chinese restaurant even goes one step further from this ginataan + tikoy concoction and offers it plus three other tikoy-centric desserts just in time for Chinese New Year

For this recipe, we take that inspiration and make a version that makes a lovely ginataan for Chinese New Year or whatever celebratory event you want to serve this.  

What Is Ginataang Halo Halo?

A classic ginataang halo halo recipe is a mix of many sweet ingredients in a coconut soup or sauce. These normally include saba bananas, sagokamote, and sweetened langka or jackfruit. It also commonly includes chewy rice balls or bilo-bilo which is also the main ingredient that normally thickens the coconut milk soup into a thickened sauce. That's why this kind of ginataan is also known as "ginataang bilo bilo".


Many stir in ube halaya or add chunks of fresh ube to dye the cream a pretty purple hue. It's not always available but even when it's not added, this local Filipino dessert recipe is still delicious, hearty, and satisfying.  

How To Serve Ginataang Halo Halo With Bilo Bilo and Tikoy

Many dishes are delicious fresh from the stove, and the ginataang halo halo is one of them. This version is loaded with ingredients! You won't be lacking in finding a new ingredient to enjoy eating with every spoonful, so be generous when you ladle it out into the bowls. 

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However, there are those who love desserts hot as much as they do cold desserts. Fortunately, this dessert is just as delicious and tasty either way so you can choose to reheat it (or not) when it's stored and you suddenly have guests over that you need to feed. 

How To Make Ginataang Halo Halo With Bilo Bilo and Tikoy

This ginataang halo halo recipe starts off with cooking sago and creating the bilo bilo or sticky rice balls. These are a mixture of glutinous or malagkit rice flour mixed with water and sugar. These are normally plain white but to make these extra festive for a party or celebration, you can dye them with food coloring and flavor them with extracts. We divided the dough into three and used langka, ube, and strawberry extracts for our bilo bilo dough. Roll the dough into small pieces and set aside. 

cubed tikoy and bilo bilo or glutinous rice flour balls on a plate ready to be cooked
This is how the cubed tikoy and flavored bilo bilo should look like before cooking.
Photo by Roselle Miranda

Next, prepare the other ingredients that you want to add. We used saba, kamote, and of course, tikoy. In this recipe, we use saba bananas, kamote, and of course, tikoy. Since this recipe includes sweetened tikoy, we didn't make too many bilo bilo since these are basically the same kind of kakanin. We wanted the flavored bilo bilo to be a colorful contrast against the white tikoy


Cooking the ginataan involves creating a creamy sweet soup where the ingredients will simmer. This is made with coconut milk, water, and sugar. You can adjust the sugar to your taste so it's not too sweet for you. Once you have the coconut soup simmering, you can add the bilo bilo, kamote, and bananas one at a time, simmering in between each addition, so you know these are all cooked through. 

flavored and colored bilo bilo or glutinous rice balls in ginataang halo halo recipe
The flavored bilo bilo will become more vibrant in color once cooked. Doesn't it look so pretty? 
Photo by Roselle Miranda

Last to go in are the cooked sago and tikoy since these no longer need to be cooked further but just heated through. 

Tips To Make Ginataang Halo Halo With Bilo Bilo and Tikoy

Despite how easy it might seem to make ginataan, you can make a mistake and that's what we discovered. Here are cooking tips to keep in mind so you don't have to suffer the same mistakes we did: 

1 Cook the sago first. 

If you can't find already cooked sago at the palengke, you might have to cook it yourself at home. Try to find the small sago since these cook waaaay easier than the large sago. Also, read the instructions (Basically, cook it in boiling water, not cold, unlike gulaman.) or you might end up with a pot of goo instead of sago pearls. 

2 Make a dough, not a paste. 

The biggest mistake you might make when making the bilo bilo is adding too much water. Be conservative with the amount you add because rice flour absorbs a lot of water. So add it by the teaspoon and mix well before adding that extra teaspoon. 


3 Add the tikoy last. 

Our biggest mistake creating this recipe was adding the tikoy with the bilo bilo. The tikoy is already cooked so instead of needing to simmer it, you just need to reheat it. This way, it retains its shape and doesn't end up like a glob on your spoon. 

How To Store Ginataang Halo Halo With Bilo Bilo and Tikoy

Since ginataan contains coconut milk, you need to refrigerate this if there are any leftovers. Simply transfer to a container with a lid and store. Reheating is easy; you can reheat it in the microwave, on the stove, or eat it cold straight from the refrigerator. 

Ginataang Halo Halo Recipe With Bilo Bilo and Tikoy


Prep Time
40 mins 
Cooking Time
30 mins 
Ready In
1 hr 10 mins 
Chinese, Filipino
Cooking Method

Ginataang Halo Halo With Flavored Bilo Bilo and Tikoy Ingredients

How to make Ginataang Halo Halo With Flavored Bilo Bilo and Tikoy


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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