Glutinous Rice Cake Recipe (Suman Latik)

Filipino Glutinous Rice Cake - Family Recipe
glutinous rice cake coconut curds

This Glutinous Rice Cake is my family’s own special one. It is has the same ingredients as the usual Filipino Rice Cake (Biko) but instead of the Coco Caramel, it is the coconut oil and curds that are mixed with the rice and brown sugar. It may be different but it is equally delightful and perfect for any occasion or celebration.

Nilukay, our version of Suman Latik

I thought I will start this recipe blog with my family’s (secret) special Glutinous Rice Cake recipe for posterity’s sake. I grew up seeing my Grandma (Lola as we called her) working on this when there was an important occasion. Later on, it was my Ma and my Aunt who would be doing the cooking. I never attempted to do it myself as they have always been there to do it. But when I moved halfway across the world and found myself searching for that comforting rice cake of home, I thought I’d give it a go.

I remembered it to be more labour intensive. It is because of the ingredients available back home that made it so. (Just for context, our coconut milk doesn’t come out of the can. You have to crack open a mature coconut, grate it and squeeze out coconut milk/cream).

glutinous rice cake feature
glutinous rice cake pan

I learned later that this is a version of “Biko” (click for the recipe) or Filipino Rice Cake but cooked in a different way. Nilukay, as they called it in our family involved rendering the coconut oil and curds from the coconut milk and that’s what is used to coat the rice. Biko, even if they have the same ingredients, is about making a coconut caramel from coconut milk and brown sugar  to coat the rice.

The secret here is the Coconut Curds, that is not only used as topping (as with Biko) but incorporated in the Rice Cake itself. It provides the flavour and the texture. I hope you enjoy this family recipe as much as I enjoyed reliving childhood and grandma memories making this.

I will try to walk you through in more detail here, but you can always jump to the recipe card below for the more straightforward instructions.

How to cook Nilukay

Glutinous Rice Cake Ingredients

glutinous rice cake 4 ingredients

Choice of Rice

Basically, we only need three ingredients: Glutinous Rice, Coconut Milk/Cream and Brown Sugar. For this recipe, I mixed black Glutinous Rice just because I discovered it by chance at the grocery store. I know it might not be readily available everywhere, so it doesn’t need to have black rice. It is important to use Glutinous rice though as you want it a sticky rice cake. I did the mix of both rice as I found out that the black rice is not as sticky. The grains are also a bit harder. Although I liked the texture that it contributed compared to just using white sticky rice.

You can use Granulated/White or Light Brown Sugar instead of Dark Brown. You won’t get that definitive taste that the darker Brown sugar provides though. Then if you like/love the Coconut Curds as I do, you can cook extra (but separately).

How to Make the Rice Cake

Cooking the Rice

uncooked black glutinous rice

Wash the rice as you would  and add the required water. You can stick to 1:1, meaning 1 cup of water for 1 cup of rice. If you have Pandan leaves, put them in with the rice.

You can cook rice in the rice cooker. Click on Cook and wait for it to pop and remove from heat/unplug. Do not let it sit on Warm unless you prefer the Rice Cake to have fully puffed up rice.

If using a pot to cook the rice: cook in medium heat and when it starts to simmer, turn the heat to low and cover. Cook until the rice fully absorbed all the liquid. It will yield a softer stickier rice. If you want the rice more cooked and puffed up, leave it on low for a few minutes until the rice is fully cooked. Discard the Pandan leaves (if you used any).

There is no right or wrong way of cooking the rice. It depends on personal preferences. Some people like the rice mushy and clinging together while others prefer a more solid and puffed-up rice. My preference is goldilocks way – somewhere in between or just right :). Remember though that the rice will still cook in the final prep.

Preparing the Coconut Curds or Latik (Lunok in my Grandpa’s dialect)

Here is a full instructional how-to-video of how to make the Coconut Curds. I suggest that you watch it a few times especially if you are unsure. It will make a lot of difference in getting it right the first time.

I also have a separate post just for Latik or this Coconut Curds. You can check it out as well “How to make Latik“.

In a large pan or wok (important: I recommend non-stick), bring to a boil in high heat the Coconut Milk. When it starts boiling, lower the heat to low or really really low else you will burn your coconut curds.

how to make latik recipe coconut curds a

This is the lengthy part – simmering away (could take up to 45-60 mins depending on the pot/pan you are cooking it in) but make sure to check-in on it every 10 or 15 minutes. When the coconut milk starts to thicken, slowly and gently scrape the outside. As it reduces and renders the coconut oil, continue to scrape the outside and start scraping the bottom as well. If you missed this part, you will get a flat-pancake like bottom :(.

how to make latik recipe coconut curds b

When the coconut curds start separating from the oil, you can start stirring instead of scraping. The oil will keep it from sticking to the pan at this point. Stir to ensure it cooks evenly – that all the white clumps are gone but without burning the rest.

When almost all the curds are light brown (no more white bits), set aside about 2 tablespoons of the Coconut Curds for topping later. (If you are doing JUST the curds, immediately transfer the coconut oil and curds into a heatproof container. The oil is still hot and will continue to cook so it is important to get it off the heat source and into a different container).

golden coconut curds latik
Golden brown Coconut Curds

Final Prep (putting together)

While still on low heat, fold all the cooked rice into the coconut oil and curds. Add the sugar and salt and mix thoroughly.  Cook in low heat, stirring from time to time so you won’t get burnt bits for another 5-10 minutes. This is the second cooking of the rice and by this time, the rice will be fully cooked.

glutinous rice cake process

When all the rice has come together, it is done. Although you can just test the rice if they are cooked to your desired consistency. Transfer to a container and sprinkle the coconut curds on top before serving.

glutinous rice cake baked

Optional : You can bake as last step but totally optional.  Transfer and spread in an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan to make the Glutinous Rice Cake. Bake in a preheated oven at 320°F for 15-20 minutes to set it in the pan. Remove from oven and let it cool down. Add the coconut curd toppings. Cut into squares and serve.

glutinous rice cake poster
Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 5 mins Cook Time 3 hrs Total Time 3 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 20 Calories: 239
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


This version of glutinous rice cake is my family's own recipe. It is different from the usual Filipino Rice Cake (Biko) but equally delightful and perfect for any ocaasion or celebration.



Off On

  1. Start making the coconut curds. In a pot or pan over medium heat, pour the Coconut Milk and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer until it starts to thicken.

    There is a full instructional how-to-video of making the Coconut Curds in a video above.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the rice as you would. (If you need a more detailed instructions, see above).

  3. As the Coconut Milk starts to thicken, start scraping slowly and gently starting from the outside. Continue to scrape the sides and the bottom as it renders oil and the Coconut Curds separate from the oil and turn from white to golden brown. Stir also from time to time to promote even browning.

  4. As soon as the Coconut Curds are golden brown, reserve 2 tablespoons of curds for topping later. Then add the Cooked Glutinous Rice, Brown Sugar and Salt. Carefully fold making sure that the oil coats the rice and the sugar is distributed evenly and has dissolved completely.

  5. Continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes while folding and stirring from time to time until the rice cake come together and there are no more rice that is not coated with the coconut oil/curd mixture.

  6. When all the rice has come together, it is done. Although you can just test the rice if they are cooked to your desired consistency. Transfer to a container and sprinkle the coconut curds on top before serving.

    Optional :

    You can bake as last step.  Transfer and spread the rice evenly in an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F/180°C for 15-20 minutes to set it in the pan. Remove from oven and let it cool down. Sprinkle the coconut curd toppings. Cut into squares and serve.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 90 g

Servings 20

Amount Per Serving
Calories 239kcal
Calories from Fat 72kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Sodium 15mg1%
Potassium 123mg4%
Total Carbohydrate 39g13%
Sugars 20g
Protein 3g6%

Vitamin C 1 mg
Calcium 1 mg
Iron 9 mg
Thiamin 2 mg
Riboflavin 1 mg
Niacin 3 mg
Vitamin B6 2 mg
Folate 1 mcg
Pantothenic Acid 3 mg
Phosphorus 4 mg
Magnesium 6 mmol
Zinc 6 mcg
Selenium 7 mg
Copper 7 mg
Manganese 27 mg

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption. source:



  1. I used a mix of black and white glutinous rice in this recipe. You can use all white but I will not advise on using all black.
  2. If using fresh coconut milk/cream, it is about 800mL or 3-3.5 cups for this recipe. Although make sure that you don't put too much water when extracting the milk/cream as it will just lengthen the time to turn them into coconut oil and curds.
  3. One cup Brown Sugar packed is about 200 grams. You can use granulated/white or light brown sugar instead of brown but you won’t get that definitive taste that brown sugar provides. 
Keywords: glutinous rice cake, rice cake recipe filipino, suman latik, how to make rice cake,filipino food recipes

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