Once upon a time in the Philippines, a little girl snacked on chewy little rice cakes that looked like powdered logs. These rice cakes were not colorful, nor were they endorsed by a blockbuster Disney character on the package.
These rice cakes were made in a humble home in her neighborhood, wrapped in white printing paper and sold by the dozen. The little girl was delighted by its toasted flavor and sticky texture, popping several in her mouth until her tummy could take no more.
Twenty years later, she was picking up food at a Filipino market thousands of miles away from the Philippines, when a familiar package caught her eye. The package read "ESPASOL", the same coconut rice cakes that she adored all those years ago!
She snatched the package, paid the cashier, and rushed home, excited to take a trip down memory lane with her treasure. She ripped the cling film that separated her from the treat, grabbed a log, and took a bite.
Her brow furrowed in disappointment; it tasted unlike the espasol that she remembered. These tasted just like the cling film that she tore apart!
She was frustrated and dissatisfied, but she wouldn't accept defeat from these gross lumps of plastic. If she couldn't have delicious Filipino espasol from the market, she'd have to take matters in her own hands.
Basically, I was seriously craving espasol. During my childhood in the Philippines, I remember its mouthwatering toasted coconut flavor and chewy consistency (similar to mochi!).
I remember my grandparents giving me espasol for merienda (afternoon snack), among the countless yummy snacks we had in the Philippines. They look like little smooth logs, dusted with toasted glutinous rice flour.
That espasol I purchased from a Filipino market a few years ago here in California really did taste like plastic...it was so bad. There was zero trace of that toasted coconut flavor that I desperately craved!
There were quite a few recipes floating around the internet and in my cookbooks, but I decided to take my favorite parts of each one to make my own espasol at home. The espasol I created may look lumpier and fatter than your typical espasol, but DANG it tasted good!
I wanted to make sure the coconut flavor could stand its ground from the flavor of the toasted sweet rice flour, so I mixed coconut shreds into the recipe. It looks a bit strange, but DANG was it delicious!
You can watch the recipe video below. If you tried making this easy peasy recipe at home, PLEASE TELL ME YOU LOVED IT IN THE COMMENTS!