This ultimate Filipino summer treat, Halo-halo is a sure and delicious way to cool down. With the combination of shaved ice and many different layers of sweet beans, fruits and other treats then drizzled with milk. Let us not forget the toppings, leche flan, ube halaya or even ube ice cream!
Halo-haloin Tagalog means “mix mix” as in this dessert is meant to be mixed together before eating–if you’re into that. Honestly, as a child, I would eat the ice cream on top and fish whatever I liked best from the bottom. I know, I know, how horrible.
Put in a bowl and mix well, then put bowl on top of double boiler with 2 inches of simmering water. Mix with a wooden spoon until mixture is thick enough to form into 1-inch balls when cool enough to handle. Mixture: 12 egg yolks (3/4 cup yolks) 1 can condensed milk (1 1/2 cups), 1/2 tsp. grated dayap (lime) rind or 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 cup softened Magnolia Gold salted butter.
Roll balls in granulated sugar. Put each ball on tiny (1-inch) colored muffin/ macaroon paper. Will last 1 week refrigerated. Re-roll in sugar when sugar melts in the refrigerator.
Leche Flan For Halo-Halo Topping
2 pieces store-bought oval llanera (2 cups capacity aluminum molds).
Put 1/3 cup sugar per mold. Put mold on top of medium fire (use a pot holder) to tilt pan until sugar is dissolved and caramel colored. Repeat with second mold. Pour filling on each. Cover tightly with doubled-up foil with a half-inch overhang. Seal well by crumpling with your fingers. Water from steamer will prevent the center of flan from getting firm. Put on top of steamer over simmering water (do not fast-boil as this will create holes or rough-textured flan). Steam 35 to 40 minutes. Cool. Remove foil. Loosen sides with a knife or metal spatula. Put a deep plate on top and invert.
Mix in a bowl with a wire whisk then strain: 12 egg yolks (3/4 cup egg yolks), 2 cans condensed milk (3 cups) 1 tsp. vanilla extract or ube or pandan flavor.
Note: Another way to serve this is to put some cooked flan in an ice cream glass. Top with crushed ice and some flan. Serve with milk on the side.
There is really no written rule as to what ingredients you can put in halo-halo or how many. It usually varies from region to region. Usually, whatever fruits or root crops that are endemic to a location is a good candidate.
Here are some of the most common halo-halo ingredients that are used:
- crushed or shaved ice
- milk (fresh or evaporated)
- sugar, if needed
- sweetened saba or plantain bananas
- sweetened sweet potatoes
- fresh or sweetened langka (jack fruit)
- sweetened garbanzos or beans
- coconut strips or sweetened macapuno
- sweetened red munggo
- nata de coco (coconut gel)
- sago or tapioca pearls or jelly cut into cubes
- leche flan (topping)
- ube jam or ube ice cream (topping)
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring water to a boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add saba banana slices and cook for a few minutes until cooked through.
Sweetened Jackfruit: (last longer than fresh one)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup ripe jack fruit shredded into thick strips
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring water to a boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add jack fruit strips and cook for a few minutes until tender.
The above plus some additional jarred ingredients should be enough to make at least 16 tall glasses of Halo-Halo. Transfer them into jars or containers and you can store them in the fridge for some days or longer.
Preheat oven to 325 degree F. Soak pinipig in coconut milk.
Caramelize 3 tbsp sugar in a leche flan mold. Spread evenly and set aside. Repeat process with another leche flan mold.
In a bowl, beat eggs lightly. Add condensed milk, pinipig mixture, macapuno, kaong, nata de coco, garbanzos, cheese and lemon rind. Mix to combine.
Pour mixture into the prepared leche flan molds. Place molds in a roasting pan and set in the middle shelf of the oven. Pour enough hot water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the molds. Bake for 1 hour or until top is set.
Let cool to room temperature. Chill for several hours before serving.
To remove from the mold, run a knife around the sides and quickly turn the mold into a serving plate. Pour the caramel sauce over it.
Recipe adapted from the cookbook: “Filipino Cuisine: A Centro Escolar University Centennial Collection.”
Halo Halo Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 195Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Vitamin A 800IU16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Buko halo, a combination of halo-halo and buko salad, usually served directly on coconut shells
Halo-halo is believed to be an indigenized version of the Japanese kakigori class of desserts, originating from pre-war Japanese migrants into the islands. The earliest versions were composed only of cooked red beans or mung beans in crushed ice with sugar and milk, a dessert known locally as “mongo-ya“. Over the years, more native ingredients were added, resulting in the development of the modern halo-halo.
Some authors specifically attribute it to the 1920s or 1930s Japanese migrants in the Quinta Market of Quiapo, Manila, due to its proximity to the now defunct Insular Ice Plant, which was the source of the city’s ice supply.
The spelling “halo-halo” (popularized by Chowking) is considered incorrect by the Commission on the Filipino Language, which prescribes “haluhalo”. The word is an adjective meaning “mixed” in Tagalog, a reduplication of the verb halo (“to mix”).