Binignit : traditional Filipino dessert soup

Binignit is a traditional Filipino dessert soup that is popularly enjoyed during Lent and Holy Week, as well as during other special occasions and celebrations. This delightful and comforting soup is made with a combination of root crops, fruits, and sweet treats, simmered in coconut milk and flavored with sugar and sometimes pandan leaves. Binignit is not only delicious but also a reflection of Filipino culinary heritage, showcasing the diversity of ingredients and flavors found in Filipino cuisine.

Ingredients Required

To prepare binignit, you will need the following ingredients:
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Taro root
  • Saba bananas (a type of cooking banana)
  • Jackfruit (fresh or canned)
  • Sago pearls (tapioca pearls)
  • Coconut milk
  • Brown sugar
  • Pandan leaves (optional, for added flavor)
  • Water
  • Optional toppings: toasted rice crispy, langka, sweet beans

Step-by-Step Preparation

  1. Prepare Ingredients: Peel and cut the sweet potatoes and taro root into bite-sized pieces. Slice the saba bananas into rounds. Drain and rinse the jackfruit if using canned.
  2. Cook Root Crops: In a large pot, combine water and pandan leaves (if using) and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, taro root, and sago pearls. Cook until the root crops are tender but not mushy.
  3. Add Bananas and Jackfruit: Once the root crops are partially cooked, add the saba bananas and jackfruit to the pot. Continue to simmer until all the ingredients are cooked through.
  4. Add Coconut Milk: Pour in the coconut milk and stir well to combine. Simmer gently until the soup is heated through and slightly thickened.
  5. Sweeten: Add brown sugar to taste, adjusting the sweetness according to your preference. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Serve: Ladle the binignit into serving bowls and garnish with optional toppings such as toasted rice crispy, langka, or sweet beans. Serve hot and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

Binignit can be enjoyed as a dessert or snack on its own, or as part of a larger meal. It pairs well with traditional Filipino snacks like bibingka or puto, or can be enjoyed alongside savory dishes for a contrast of flavors.

Variations of Binignit

While the basic recipe for binignit remains consistent, there are variations in ingredients and proportions based on regional preferences and family recipes. Some variations may include additional ingredients such as sweet potatoes, yams, or purple yam (ube), while others may omit certain ingredients based on availability and personal taste.

Tips for Perfect Binignit

  • Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor and texture.
  • Adjust the sweetness of the soup according to your preference, adding more or less sugar as needed.
  • Be careful not to overcook the root crops, as they can become mushy if cooked for too long.
  • For a richer flavor, use freshly squeezed coconut milk instead of canned.

Storage and Reheating

Binignit can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply transfer the soup to a pot and gently warm it over low heat until heated through. Add a splash of water if the soup has thickened too much upon reheating.

Conclusion

Binignit is a delightful and versatile dessert soup that showcases the rich culinary heritage of the Philippines. With its combination of root crops, fruits, and sweet treats simmered in creamy coconut milk, binignit offers a satisfying blend of flavors and textures that is sure to delight your taste buds. Whether enjoyed during Lent and Holy Week or as a special treat any time of year, binignit is a beloved Filipino delicacy that brings joy and comfort to all who taste it.

FAQs

  1. Can I use canned coconut milk instead of fresh coconut milk?
  • Yes, you can use canned coconut milk as a convenient alternative. However, fresh coconut milk will impart a richer flavor to the soup.
  1. Are there any substitutions for sago pearls?
  • If sago pearls are not available, you can substitute with small tapioca pearls or even pearl couscous, although the texture may vary slightly.
  1. Can I make binignit in advance and freeze it?
  • While binignit can be frozen, the texture of the root crops may change upon thawing, so it’s best enjoyed fresh.
  1. What is the significance of binignit during Lent and Holy Week?
  • Binignit is a popular dish during Lent and Holy Week because it does not contain meat, making it suitable for Lenten fasting traditions. It is often enjoyed as a symbol of sacrifice and spiritual reflection.
  1. Can I customize the ingredients in binignit?
  • Yes, feel free to customize the ingredients in binignit according to your preferences and dietary restrictions. You can add or omit ingredients based on availability and personal taste.

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