Tibok-tibok, Kapampangan’s carabao milk pudding

Tibok tibok’s name

Although this delicacy is widely sold in other parts of the country, its history traces its roots to Pampanga. It was said that its name was derived from a local term that means throbbing. According to Campampangan food historians, the locals learned to cook this dish during the Spanish colonization. Allegedly, there was a woman who was cooking this delicacy, when a suitor visited her. When they have seen that it was throbbing while it was being cooked, they called it “tibok-tibok.” The word tibok tibok exactly describes what happens to the mixture when it hints that it is already cooked.

A delicacy that’s using locally sourced ingredients

Traditionally, tibok tibok is made of carabao’s fresh milk. Since water buffalos are native in the country, it was practical to use it to put some flavor in this delectable treat. As a result of using this kind of milk, the delicacy has a slightly salty taste. This significant ingredient is included in the heirloom recipes of Kapampangan families. 

Main Ingredients

This pudding only requires three basic ingredients. The fresh carabao’s milk, sugar, and glutinous rice flour. To complete the taste of this sweet treat, it requires “latik” or coconut curd cream. To give it an interesting aroma and subtle additional leafy flavor, the mixture is poured into a pan with banana leaves that are greased with oil. Others put it into molds if they don’t have banana leaves available. Once the mixture is cooked and cools off, it becomes firmer. When serving, the dish will be sliced into square or diamond-shaped small servings. 

Modern Variation

Since not everyone can easily avail carabao’s milk, some are using cow’s fresh milk. However using regular milk may not result in a richer, creamier, thicker, and slightly salty taste that you can achieve if you use carabao’s milk. Moreover, other modern-day tibok-tibok uses cornstarch instead of rice flour. Using cornstarch will give it a thick milky mixture instead of a pudding texture. 

Similarity to Maja Blanca

While a lot compares this dish to maja blanca as they are prepared similarly and have almost the same look and delicate consistency texture, the two delicacies are different in their ingredients. Tibok Tibok uses carabao’s milk while maja blanca uses coconut milk.  Tibok tibok doesn’t have corn kernels but maja does. Moreover, tibok tibok uses glutinous rice flour but maja uses cornstarch. Hence a discerning tastebud will be able to identify that the two are different in taste and texture. Tibok tibok is milky, richer, creamier. 

Taste

Tibok Tibok has a creamy white color and has a soft pudding texture. It is creamy, milky, and rich. It is sweet and has a slightly salty taste. It is flavorful and aromatic with its latik, which complements the sweet taste of the pudding. Due to its delicate texture, tibok-tibok can melt away in your mouth. 

Best time to eat

This dish is perfect for a snack or dessert. 

Finding tibok-tibok

While there are different modern versions of this delicacy, Kapampangan’s tibok tibok remains to be distinct from others because up to this day, there is still some Kapampangan who cook tibok tibok using the traditional recipe. One of the stores where you can find tibok tibok with its traditional and original recipe is Susie’s Cuisine.

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