Halo Halo Recipe: How to Make the Famous Filipino Dessert
Filipino cuisine is slowly becoming more and more popular in different parts of the world. One of the dishes that has recently taken the world by storm is an ice-based dessert perfect for the summer. Here’s a halo halo recipe that you can make at home!
Visiting the Philippines was an absolute treat—it’s not just the beautiful places; it’s the amazing food, too. Halo halo is one of the most memorable dishes I’ve tried here: it’s refreshing, and has so many layers of flavors <literally!>.
Halo halo is basically a cold dessert composed of a mix of about a dozen ingredients like fruits and sweet preserves. It’s topped with a generous amount of shaved ice, and oftentimes a scoop of ice cream. It’s literally translated as “mix mix.”
Here’s how you can make it at home.
Note: Do not get intimidated by the number of ingredients of the halo halo. You will only need a very small amount of each <think 1-2 tablespoons>) for one serving.
Once you’re done with this halo halo recipe, save all of your leftovers. All of the ingredients below should be placed in the fridge, unless otherwise noted.
I suggest that you find an Asian—or better yet, a Filipino—grocery for all of these ingredients. Descriptions and notes about substitutes are provided below.
1. Evaporated milk, ¼ cup per glass
Note: Canned evaporated milk is usually found in Asian or Latin supermarkets. This is how the traditional halo halo is made
If your search is unsuccessful, however, you can use fresh milk instead.
2. Nata de coco, 1 tablespoon
3. Macapuno (or shredded young coconut), 1 tablespoon
4. Gelatin, 2 tablespoons
Note: Simply follow the boxed instructions in Jell-O for this! In order to know various uses gelatin, you can see here.
5. Sago (or tapioca pearls), 2 tablespoons
6. Sweetened red mung beans, 1 tablespoon
7. 1 banana, 1 tablespoon per glass
Note: You’ll only need one banana for this recipe. Simply cut it into small pieces and use one heaping tablespoon per serving
8. Corn kernels, 1 tablespoon
Note: You can use fresh cooked corn, but canned, sweetened corn is better.
9. Plain corn flakes, 1 tablespoon
Note: a traditional Filipino recipe calls for pinipig, or roasted glutinous rice flakes—very similar to the texture of any plain corn flakes brand. If you can’t find a pack of pinipig in the Asian supermarket, plain corn flakes will do.
10. Ice cream, vanilla or ube/purple yam flavor
Note: Halo halo is fine without the ice cream on top, but I’m telling you that if you do add it to your creation, it will be ten times better!
Make sure that you only use ube or any plain flavor-there are already so many flavors going on that you need something clean-tasting.
11. Sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon
If you have extra, you can make sweet potatoes last longer by freezing.
12. Purple yam paste
Also called ube halaya, this one’s not easy to find. Your best bet is a Filipino grocery! If you don’t find one, don’t worry. As long as you have ice cream, you’re good.
13. Leche flan or egg custard (optional)
Step by Step Directions
1. Combine all the ingredients in the glass/bowl.
The great thing about halo halo is that you basically just dump all ingredients in the container. Add the following ingredients to the glass or bowl:
- Nata de coco
- Sweetened red mung beans
- Banana slices
- Corn kernels
- Plain corn flakes (add this last)
2. Make the shaved ice.
Note: The best device for a smooth consistency is a shaved ice machine. If you don’t have this, however, you can opt for a powerful food processor <check the manual if it can process ice> or a regular blender.
Simply crush enough ice to fill the four glasses of water. Leave room for the ice cream and leche flan/egg custard, if you’re using.
Add the ice in each glass/bowl.
3. Add the toppings.
Once the shaved ice are placed in each glass, pour the milk. This recipe calls for ¼ cup, but you can adjust it according to your preference.
Put a small scoop of the ice cream on each glass, and add the purple yam and egg custard <if using>. Serve right away.
How did your dessert turn out? Obtaining ingredients for a halo halo recipe can be tricky, but I’m telling you—it’s worth it! I hope you enjoyed reading this recipe—I sure had a great time writing it!
If you have questions or comments, send them my way! The comments section below is all yours. I’d love to hear what you think! Suggestions are also more than welcome.