Auntie Fe's bichu-bichu
Total time: 45 minutes
Servings: This makes about 2 dozen fritters
Note: Adapted from Crisi Echiverri of Providence. Mochiko rice flour and macapuno coconut can be found at Filipino and Asian markets. Macapuno coconut is shreds of coconut in sugar syrup found in jars.
2 cups mochiko rice flour, more if needed
1 cup coconut milk, divided
1/2 cup macapuno coconut (shredded)
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Canola oil for frying
1/2 cup brown sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the rice flour, and half of the coconut milk and mix well. Add the macapuno and toasted walnuts. Slowly add the rest of the coconut milk, little by little, until a dough is formed. You may not have to use all the coconut milk. If the dough is too sticky, add more rice flour. The dough should be slightly sticky.
2. Dust your hands lightly with rice flour and break off small pieces of the dough, a generous tablespoon in size. Roll the dough between your palms to form little patties. Place the patties on wax or parchment paper.
3. In a large, heavy frying pan, heat a half-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Test the oil by gently dropping a small piece of dough into the pan. If the dough sizzles gently, the oil is ready. Place the dough patties in the pan and fry until golden brown, being careful not to crowd the pan, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place the fritters on paper towels to drain and keep them in a warm place. Repeat until all the fritters are cooked.
4. In a large sauté pan, combine the brown sugar and water. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup begins to very slightly thicken into caramel, about 1 minute. Add the fritters to the sauté pan while they are still warm and toss to coat with the caramel. Serve immediately, ideally right out of the pan.