Small Batch Filipino Rolled Ube Palitaw

Palitaw is a traditional Filipino dessert made with glutinous flour, sugar, shredded coconut and sesame seed. It has a soft, smooth chewy texture with bits and pieces of grated coconut and toasted sesame seed sugar coating. It is a very easy dessert that is often sold in small kiosk in markets.

Ube Palitaw

This Rolled Ube Palitaw is a variation of the original. Just few simple changes to make it more fun and interesting, not to mention attractive. This was flavored by “Ube” Powder (Purple Yam Powder), no artificial food coloring was used.

If you are new to Filipino cooking, welcome. I do not post as much Filipino desserts and dishes in my website but one of my goal is to feature some of our Filipino desserts one step at a time. I want this to be a part of me that I can share with you. Some of you may find it unique, some my find it interesting and some maybe will not be into it. If you are open to trying new food, then I encourage you to step into our Filipino cuisine world and give it a try.

Small Batch Ube Palitaw

We Filipinos love anything with coconut. When it comes coconut desserts and savory dishes, you can count on us, we go nuts with coconuts. Although I do not leave in Philippines anymore, from time I time I still make some of our Filipino desserts here in Canada. I am glad that now a days, a lot of the ingredients are now accessible in most Asian markets. Of course it is not 100% the same using fresh ingredients like shredded coconut or freshly ground glutinous rice, but this is as close as it gets. So I’ll take that, it is better than nothing. It came out pretty good to even with the use of substitute ingredients.

Ube Palitaw By SweetNSpicyLiving

What is Glutinous Rice?

For all you guys who are not familiar with glutinous rice, let us talk about it more before we dive into the recipe.

Glutinous rice is a type rice that tends to be sticky when cooked. The grain looks quite white and not as transparent as regular white rice. The grains are also shorter and thicker. This rice is widely consumed across Asia. It is also called as sticky rice because it gets really thick and sticky when cooked. It is called as glutinous more because of the glue-like- sticky texture once cooked, and not because of lack of gluten in it. But yes, in case you are into gluten free diet, this type of rice is gluten free too.

How to Make Ube Palitaw

The Authentic Filipino Palitaw

Unfortunately, due to the difficulty of accessing the original Ingredients, this version will not be the authentic Filipino Palitaw, but this is the close that it could get. What is authentic Filipino Palitaw? The authentic version was made using a freshly ground glutinous rice. We always buy this in the wet market. They are submerged in water and they almost look like tofu to me. Basically the rice is grounded into powdered form and them mix with water to form into a solid block. Almost the same as this version, but instead we are using a glutinous powdered rice instead of grinding our own. 

Second difference is the shredded coconut. The authentic version uses freshly grated coconut. The texture is fluffier and it taste cream or and milky. In this version, we are using frozen shredded coconut. The big difference is the texture, fresh is always better especially when it comes to shredded coconut. Frozen tends to be watery and wet, but it still works. The substitute ingredients are not that far from the original, a slight difference in texture and taste but it still works. 

How to Make Ube Palitaw By SweetNSpicyLiving

What Makes this Variation Different?

This Rolled Ube Palitaw is a variation of the traditional Palitaw. There are two things that makes this different from a regular palitaw that is usually sold in the market or even the one made at home.

  • First and foremost, the color. The regular Palitaw is white in color, and this one is lightly purple. There was no food coloring added to this variation. What made the color purple is the “Ube” or Purple Yam powder that was added in the glutinous flour. You might ask if there was any taste of Yam in this, and the answer is No. The “Ube”powdered provided only color but no taste of purple yam. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Neither. Even the fresh or frozen ‘Purple Yam’ do not really have any taste. More than the taste, it is the vibrant purple color that made purple yam or “Ube” a popular ingredients in Filipino desserts.
  • The shape is the second prominent difference. The regular “Palitaw” is flat and oblong or round in shape. This, as you can see has been rolled like a tube.
  • The filling. The regular “Palitaw” do not have any filling inside as it is open and flat. This one. I sprinkled shredded coconut and added doll-up of softened butter.
  • The taste. Not a huge difference, but the addition of the butter in the center makes a slight difference in taste. I love the buttery salty taste of the butter with the shredded coconut and sesame seed.

How to Make Rolled Ube Palitaw

Start by mixing boiling water in a pan. This will give a good head start while you make the dough.

Next, toast the sesame seeds until it turned brown and smells fragrant. Although toasting is optional, I highly recommend that you do as it brings out the nutty flavor of the sesame seeds, plus it gives a nice appeal to the Palitaw once coated with eat. Remember, presentation and looks counts, a LOT. Add sugar to the toasted sesame seed and transfer is a plate. You can also buy toasted Sesame seed and skip the toasting step.

Now make the rice dough. Mix glutinous rice, Ube powder, sugar and water. As you mix, the mixture will start to form into a soft smooth dough. It is soft and pliable, almost like a play dough that you can form into different shape. The dough will not look like much, that is expected as we are making a small batch of 8.

How to Make Rolled Ube Palitaw

Time to shape the dough. First roll dough into a log shape. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. You can also use a kitchen weighing scale if you happen to have one. Lay a plastic wrap and fold it over the piece of dough. Roll into an oblong shape.

Cook the dough in boiling water. You will know it is cook as soon as it floats on the top. Do no over crowd the pan, I recommend doing it one at a time. Remove from the water and pat with paper towel to remove excess water. Excess moisture will make the sugar and sesame seed watery so be sure to remove the excess moisture.

Now, coat the Palitaw with the shredded coconut first, be generous. Fill the center with small pieces of butter. I used the spreadable butter so it is softer. Sprinkle some sugar and sesame seed mixture then roll until it looks like a small tube.

Final step, roll it in the sugar and sesame seed mixture. Arrange in the serving dish and serve more sugar and coconut mixture. I used Banana leaf to wrap the Palitaw and prevent it from opening. If you do not have Banana leaf, use a toothpick to just make sure to remove it when you it eat and let the other people know about it.

Serve it with Caramel Sauce

Just as it is, this is already delicious but why stop there when you can make things better. I love serving this with caramel sauce. any caramel sauce will do but my ultimate favorite is Coconut Caramel Sauce. It pairs really well, hands-down the BEST!

Ube Palitaw with Coconut Caramel Sauce


  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Glutinous Rice
  • 2 tablespoon Purple Yam Powder
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk or Water
  • 3 tablespoon granulated Sugar

For the Sesame Coconut Coating

  • 2 tablespoon Coconut or Granulated Sugar
  • 3 tablespoon toasted Sesame Seed
  • 1 1/4 cup Grated Coconut or Desiccated Coconut
  • 4 cups Water – for boiling
  • 4 tablespoon Butter – optional

For the Coconut Sauce

Get the recipe How to Make Dairy Free Salted Coconut Sauce


  1. Boil the Water: Pour the water in a pan and bring to a boil. Keep in rolling boil while you make the rice dough.
  2. Toast the Sesame Seeds: In a heated pan, toast the sesame seeds until nicely browned and fragrant. Transfer in a plate and let cool completely. Add granulated sugar and mix to combine.
    • Alternatively, you can also use already toasted Sesame seed and skip the toasting step. 
  3. Transfer the Shredded Coconut in the Plate. If using frozen coconut, lightly squeeze to remove the coconut milk. Side aside the coconut milk for use later in making the dough.
    • Alternatively, you can use desiccated coconut or a combination of both
  4. Make the Rice Dough: Mix glutinous rice, sugar, ube powder and water until it forms into a soft, smooth, pliable dough. You should be able to shape it into a small ball without falling apart. If still a bit dry, add a small amount of coconut milk or water.
  5. Portion and Shape: Shape the dough into a log shape and divide into 8 portions. You can also use kitchen weighing scale for even size. Lay a plastic wrap or parchment paper and fold it over the piece of dough. Roll into an oblong shape.
  6. Cook the Rice Dough: Cook the glutinous rice dough in the boiling water for about 1-2 minutes or until it floats on the top. Using a slotted spoon, take each piece out of the water and let the excess water drip. If needed, use a paper towel to pat dry. To much moisture will make the shredded coconut and sugar mixture wet. Do not over crowd the pan, if using a small pan, cook each piece one at a time.
  7. Coat with Shredded Coconut: Roll the cooked dough into the shredded coconut, make sure to coat both sides. Put small pieces of softened butter in the center and sprinkle sesame seed and sugar mixture on top. Roll until it looks like a short tube.
  8. Coat with Sesame and Sugar Mixture: Roll in the sesame and sugar mixture.
  9. Wrap with Banana Leaf: Wrap the center with Banana leaf just to hold it. If you do not have Banana leaf, you can use a toothpick to hold it, or simply arrange it in the serving plate with the seam facing down. this will help prevent it from easily opening up.
  10. Serve: with sesame and sugar mixture on the side and caramel sauce.

Makes 8 pieces

Ube Palitaw

Nutritional Information

Nutritional Information was calculated using Veryfitwell Recipe Calorie and Nutrition Calculator. For details about Nutritional Information in this website, please read the Disclaimer page.

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4 replies »

  1. First time I’ve come across ube palitaw. Looks yummy and inviting, different from what we normally serve. I’ll try making them but something is missing in the ingredients. How much purple yam powder you have to add? Thx.


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