Carioca is a Filipino street food that is chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. This is a treat that my mom would make for us all the time whenever we wanted something sweet after dinner! Lightly crisp rice balls coated in a lovely caramel. What more can you ask for?
Using glutinous flour or sweet rice flour
This recipe is traditionally made with glutinous or sweet rice flour. I do not recommend using regular rice flour. Glutinous rice flour will give the carioca its distinct chewy texture. There are differences between the two. This article from Masterclass describes how they differ. Contrary to its name, glutinous rice flour actually contains no gluten at all!
This recipe uses coconut
Some recipes do not contain coconut milk nor grated coconut. This recipe in particular, does. It is how my family has made these for years and I like the flavour it provides!
Carioca also goes by a number of other names
Depending on the region, carioca is also referred to as cascaron, bitsu bitsu, amongst other names!
Caramel coating for sweetness
Since the dough does not contain any sugar, this recipe relies on the caramel coating for sweetness. In my opinion, it provides the perfect amount of sweetness without making the carioca too sweet. The caramel coating is made from a simple mixture of brown sugar and water, reduced down to a tasty caramel.
Growing up we would have these different ways. Sometimes we would drizzle the caramel over the fried rice balls, other times we would coat them in the caramel. I prefer the latter, which is how they are prepared in this recipe. Be careful when handling the caramel as it VERY hot. After making these for years, I have learned that a non-stick pan makes it so much easier to coat the balls in caramel.
Like what you see? Check out more Filipino recipes!
This recipe makes a LOT so feel free to half the recipe
I was taught how to cook and bake classic Filipino dishes by my grandma and mom. What I love about the recipes is that they seldom use cup or spoon measurements. You would wither eyeball the amount of use the whole bag/jar of something! This is a similar case with this recipe. I provided cup measurements for the grated coconut but just like all recipes I like to share, it’s all up to personal preference.