Halo halo is hodgepodge of different ingredients that characterized our long history of foreign subservience and cultural development. Rooted from the Tagalog word halo which means “mix,” this dessert is mixture of different tastes and flavors that describes our cultural heritage.
Though there is no specific recipe for this dessert since every region in the country have their own recipe. Primary ingredients generally include boiled red mung beans (munggó), kidney beans, garbanzos, sugar palm fruit (kaong), coconut sport (macapuno), and plantains caramelized in sugar. Other components may include jackfruit (langkâ), star apple, tapioca or sago, nata de coco, purple yam (ube) or sweet potato (kamote), sweetened corn kernels or pounded crushed young rice (pinipig), leche flan or custard, ice cream and gelatin. Other fruits, such as papayas, avocados, kiwifruit, bananas or cherries, may also be added. Some preparations also include ice cream on top of the halo-halo.
Generally, condensed milk or evaporated milk is used instead of fresh milk, due to the tropical climate of the Philippines.
The ingredients are arranged in a layer and topped by shaved ice, leche flan or iced cream. In a fusion of East and West, the ingredients came from a variety of cultural sphere: red mung beans from China, garbanzos from India, leche flan from Spain and shaved ice and ice cream from the U.S.
The iconic tall halo halo glass can be seen anywhere you go and on the summer months (March-June), you should definitely try it. But the growing number of ice cream parlors, halo halo from local eateries and even fast food chains like Chowking, who can miss this delectable treat?
The best part of eating halo halo is when you are almost done with it. Meaning, when the ice has finally melted together with the milk and ice cream, halo halo eating has now reached its passionate and climactic end – consuming the creme de la creme in its liquid form.
Gone are the days when halo halo were likened to an elixir of life. Who can really resist eating sweet treats rolled into one glass? I can still remember the days when we choose which ingredients to be added in your glassful of halo halo. Roadside halo halo stall amidst the sweltering heat is still worth going as long as gouged on every morsel of pinipig down to the melted ice and mashed leche flan. Savoring every drop of milk and scraps of buko.
Seeing it from a distance is already treat to the eyes. Different colors of green gulaman, red kaong and purple ube stimulate my brain like Pavlov’s dogs.
How to Make Halo Halo
- shredded/juliened melon (cantaloupe)
- macapuno (sweetened coconut meat)
- scooped star apple
- cubed mango make the halo-halo a more exotic fare due to their seasonal availability.
- beans such as black monggo (mung beans) and sweet garbanzos (chick peas) are added to the mix.
- squeezing in with broiled root crops such as diced or crushed camote (yam) and/or gabi (taro).
- colored gelatin (in bright green, red and yellow) made from agar-agar is reminiscent of colorful fiestas.
- to further sweeten the halo-halo, kaong and sago (tapioca) in syrup are used
- saba bananas and langka (jackfruit) that are mollified in syrup can be used as flavor enhancers.
- traditionally, a handful of ice (literally speaking, crushed ice is deftly hand-picked and placed into your tall glass!) entombs the ingredients, making halo-halo-eating a somewhat challenging yet fulfilling endeavor!
- about an inch of evaporated milk settles into your long glass.
- though most of us are used to evaporated milk in our halo-halo, an older variation can be used to douse the icy treat– buko (coconut) juice (this I have yet to sample!).
- to crown the almost-ready concoction, roasted pinipig (pounded roasted rice) and ube (yam), or leche flan (a personal favorite!) are placed atop the crushed ice.
- a scoop of ube ice cream gives us a more sumptuous alternative.
With all the ingredients in place, the halo-halo is complete, inviting, ready to be feasted on.