It is called halo-halo (like ‘hello’ but with an ‘a’). It is a traditional dessert originating from the Philippines. We first tried it when we were in Manila performing on tour. We attended a big welcome party with lots of traditional dishes, and Halo-halo was our favourite. It is another southeast Asian food discovery that we really want to share.
Halo-halo is an in interesting dessert. It is similar to a trifle or a parfait – but very different. It is traditionally served with shaved ice, and as you can see, lots of tasty layers. It can be presented in its different parts which allows you to choose what you want to have, and how to layer it. We decided to try it with traditional Halloween colours (and keep it vegan) and chose our ingredients accordingly.
Out first layer is a sweet purple yam paste! Purple yams are sweet potatoes that are naturally very purple. First we peeled and boiled the yams and then mashed them up in the food processor. Then we returned them to the pan with some brown rice milk, brown sugar and a bit of natural butter substitute. We simmered it until it thickened into a nice thick paste. After cooling, we put it into the fridge.
The next layer is stewed jackfruit and banana. Jackfruit is a VERY large tropical fruit (it is only available pre-cut in supermarkets) that has a very strong tropical fruit flavour. The bananas we used were the nice little organic ones. We just cut the fruit up and stewed it with a little water and a little bit of brown sugar. This also was stored in the fridge.
The final cooked layer is the sweet green beans. These are simply dried mung beans, soaked overnight, and then boiled with some brown sugar until they are soft. They are then drained and placed in the fridge to cool. (We really wanted to maximise the eerie green colour so we mixed our with a little wheatgrass powder!)
Next is grass jelly – an ominous black sweet jelly made from chinese herbs and sugar. And our snow white topping is young coconut flesh – freshly scraped out of a coconut of course! We garnished with a little more of the purple yam and then sprinkled on some crushed peanuts.
To assemble your halo-halo, you simply layer it into a glass, and drizzle with coconut or rice milk. Then it’s ready to eat! Not only is it super tasty but it is actually quite healthy as far as desserts go. It’s all vegetables and fruits – with a bit of sugar – and you can always mix or change any parts you like!
This a great idea for a Halloween party because you can put all the ingredients out separately (with spooky names of course!) and your guests can assemble it themselves as they like it. Give it a try!
Helpful Halo-halo Links