Sapin sapin (steamed coconut layer pudding) is made from glutinous rice or rice flour, coconut milk, ube (purple yam), cassava, and food coloring. Doing entries on Filipino desserts this week made me realize that most of our native desserts are rice based like puto, kutsinta and bibingka.
Sapin Sapin is a complex dessert with several layers and sections. Eaten together it’s a play of flavors and textures in the mouth. The hardest decision to make is what colors you want to eat.
The trick is to get a little of each color in one slice. Each color tastes different. The red layer is the stickiest and has a slight aniseed flavor. The yellow layer is soft and creamy. The white layer is made of layers of all the colors. That’s toasted crispy coconut on top.
The purple layer is made with ube or purple yam. It’s creamy with a thicker consistency. It has a unique flavor. At the tip is glutinous rice which is cooked with coconut milk and sugar. It tastes like sweet sticky rice similar to Thai sticky rice dessert with mangoes. The topping on this slice is called latik which is the byproduct of cooking coconut milk until it becomes oil and further cooking it until these soft, chewy brown crumbs are formed.
The white solid section in the picture below is cassava. It’s my favorite part in the sapin sapin. It’s made from grated cassava (a root crop) and coconut milk.