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Binagol reigns as the local delicacy originating from the island of Leyte. Soft, sweet and filling – the local treat can be served as a snack or dessert right from the coconut shell covered with banana leaves that are bounded by strings tied around tight several times. Visitors of Leyte can expect to be served with binagol twice or thrice a day because people there are so proud and confident that one definitely cannot resist this kakanin.
Intrigued how the binagol is made, we sought its local producer in Dagami, the municipality known for binagol production.
Binagol is made from talyan, a type of gabi. Unlike the more popular type of gabi in sinigang that is white, small and oval, the talyan shares the same color but is monstrously big and very, very itchy to palate and skin. Left without a choice, makers of binagol have to bear with the itchiness when pairing, chopping and grating the tuber. It is no wonder that some could not bear this irritating predicament and simply bow out of the job.
As living witnesses to this age-old process, we now reveal to you the step by step procedure when cooking binagol:
1. Pare, clean and grate talyan.
- Add coco milk, sugar and peanuts and mix well. Tip: Use the kakang gata (first extract) before using the thinner coco milk to keep the talyan mixture moist.
- Put a layer of the mixture inside the coco shells.
- Add sugary syrup.
- Top with more talyan mixture.
- Cover with banana leaves and use a twine to keep the leaves in place.
- Put coco shells inside a cauldron and immerse with enough water.
- Bring to a rolling boil and boiling temperature for at least seven hours to ensure that the pudding is properly cooked.
- Remove coco shells from hot water, air dry, change twine and retie.
- Binagol is now ready to serve.
Thank you to Terry and Teresa Ortega for sharing their recipe. Their Original Binagol and other sweets can be found at Teri’s Leyte Delicacies in downtown Tacloban City.