Tibok-Tibok is a sweet-based pudding of carabao milk, flavored with dayap (lime) rind, topped with latik. This delicate pudding is so soft, it quivers like a beating heart, thus the name tibok-tibok from “tibok”(tee-BOHK), Tagalog word for heart beat or pulse or, as a verb, to throb.
It is often mistaken for maja blanca because tibok-tibok is likewise immaculately white and sprinkled with a generous topping of latik. But unlike maja blanca which relies on other ingredients like corn to complete its substance, tibok-tibok stands almost solely on carabao milk, the rest of the ingredients are merely supplementary. Tibok-tibokis also reminiscent of the Italian panna cotta—a silky smooth offering made of rich cream and popularly served with a berry, caramel or chocolate. In fact it is often described as the Filipino panna cotta.
But tibok-tibok has a character all its own—it is more rustic, more exotic than maja blanca and panna cotta. Velvety soft and smooth, jiggly like jell-o, it has a soothingly mild sweetness, surrounded by the buttery taste of carabao milk. It’s irresistible by itself but the latiktopping rounds out the overall exquisite flavor. True to its name, there is no other delicacy, local or foreign, that can make my heart beat as merrily as a slice of jiggly wiggly, latik-topped tibok-tibok.
Tibok-Tibok (Carabao-Milk Pudding)
- ¼ c coconut oil divided
- 8 c carabao milk divided
- 4 c kakang gata coconut cream
- 1½ c sugar
- 1 t salt
- rind of 2 dayap (lime)
- ½ c cornstarch
- 1 c latik coconut curd
- Grease a 9-inch square pan with 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil; line with a piece of banana leaf and grease with another teaspoon of the coconut oil; set aside.
- In a tacho (brass paover high heat, bring 7 cups of the carabao milk to a full rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium, let milk boil gently until volume is reduced to about half, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in kakang gata, sugar, salt, and dayap rind. Dilute cornstarch in the remaining 1 cup of carabao milk; stir into the milk-sugar mixture. Keep stirring until mixture starts to thicken. Off the heat, stir in the remaining coconut oil. Pour into prepared pan; let cool until set. Cut into squares; top each square with latik.