rice cake confessional

adventures in eating

i heart kalabaws

with one comment

Kalabaws are the unofficial national animal of the Philippines. They are your general beast of burden – plowing fields, lugging heavy loads, etc.

But those are not the reasons I heart kalabaws.

I heart kalabaws because I heart pastillas which are little candies made with kalabaw (or carabao or water buffalo) milk. Usually, pastillas are served in little 2-bite sized candies that have a sprinkling of granulated sugar and then wrapped up in pretty multi-colored tissue paper.

My Ate Lucy, who has been taking care of me since forever (and is so used to it that even at my age she babies me more than anyone else), gave me a bundle of goodies when I saw her in the Philippines. Mind you that she was super busy with the service preparations for my Uncle and she still went out of her way to get me these.

The bag had sugary beans, salted dried anchovies, tamarind candy, and this container of white stuff. The white stuff was courtesy of this thing right here… (thanks Wikipedia for the picture)

I was scared a little and not quite sure of what it was but I opened it up and took a whiff. HOLY COW KALABAW! It’s a giant pastillas and OMG I think it’s made with real kalabaw milk!

They rarely make these with real kalabaw milk anymore which is sad. The milk is wayyyy sweeter than cow’s milk and has an incredible fat content. The candies are made by combining the milk with even more sugar and boiling it until it thickens. It’s left to cool and then, traditionally, rolled and wrapped. In this case, the milk is poured into plastic containers for maximum yumminess.

It has the texture of store bought frosting, a bit grainy but not in an offputting way, rich, creamy, with a few sugar crystals still intact. It’s not cloyingly sweet like store frosting. The sweetness is (this sounds weird) gentler somehow. Maybe it’s the creaminess or the super simple flavor.

My hours of walking around Singapore are completely offset by the ginormous load of calories I’m adding to my daily food intake by the several spoonfuls of this I sneak every day. I love it so much I don’t bother sharing. Thank you Ate Lucy!


Written by joann

July 31, 2008 at 11:35 pm

Posted in dessert, filipino

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One Response

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  1. OMG. i soooo love this. we used to lug jars from arayat to manila, they were great in halo-halo … in just about everything. waaah! its been ages since i’ve had some.


    August 6, 2008 at 10:06 am

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