The Happy Home Cook: Tupig

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Tupig (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Tupig (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

The scent of burnt banana leaves and sweet coconut floated through the air and I saw tupig was being sold by street vendors. Tupig are thin, long, log-shaped kakanin wrapped in banana leaves. They are made of coconut, sugar, sweet rice grains soaked overnight, molasses and rice flour. As we stood on a side street near the market in Tarlac, I didn’t want to haggle with a young vendor, who was much younger than my own sons, over tupig, Tupig are street food, and I loved them as a snack, when I was growing up. There was always a big platter of tupig for merienda, the afternoon snack at our home. These tupig logs were sweet and gooey, and were perfect with a cup of warm salabat. The tupig made and sold in Tarlac may have been influenced by those from the northern provinces of Pangasinan and Ilocos. I longed for these sticky treats so that when I returned to the States, I developed my own tupig creation. This recipe is from my cookbook “How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks” which is sold on Makes 18 to 24 pieces.


1 cup malagkit (sweet rice), soaked in cold water overnight
1 cup coconut milk
1 (8-ounce) package frozen coconut meat (look for ‘mature coconut’ on package) or use 1 cup fresh coconut grated slivers
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup rice flour
1/8 cup dark molasses
18 to 24 banana leaf pieces, cut into 8 x 8 inch-sizes


  • The night before, place uncooked sweet rice grains in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover. Cover and soak overnight in the refrigerator.

  • The next day, drain the water from the rice. Process the wet rice grains in a food processor or blender until the rice texture is a fine powder. This processed rice is called galapong. Set aside while preparing the coconut milk.

  • Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Heat the coconut milk until it is almost burnt, but do not allow fire to get too high or milk will curdle. This will take about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir so the bottom does not stick to the saucepan. You want the coconut milk to have a toasted aroma and flavor.

  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. In a bowl, combine the coconut milk with the coconut meat, galapong, sugar, rice flour and molasses. The texture will be a thick, liquid-like consistency like porridge. Set aside.

  • Prepare the banana leaves: if using frozen, thaw them to room temperature. Drop 2 tablespoons of the rice-coconut mixture in the center of the square piece of banana leaf. The batter will be liquid-like but be patient. Shape the mixture to a slim, 5-inch long log.

  • With the tupig mixture in the center, wrap the banana leaf like a burrito. Roll it away from you. Seal the edges by tucking inside the leaves. You don’t want any liquid pouring out while cooking.

  • Cook the leaf-wrapped tupig on an outdoor grill for 35 to 40 minutes on high temperature. Use tongs to gently turn them so they cook evenly. The outer part of the leaves will look burnt, but the rice mixture inside will expand as it cooks.

  • When done, remove the tupig from the grill and serve warm or cold. The tupig will be a long, solid sticky log. The sweet rice grains stick to each other and expand when cooked.

"How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks" By Elizabeth Ann Quirino

"How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks" By Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey is a journalist and author of the “How to Cook Philippine Desserts: Cakes and Snacks” Cookbook. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and blogs about Filipino home cooking on her site

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