Halo-Halo (Filipino Shaved Ice Dessert) – Kawaling Pinoy

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Video Halo halo ice cream

Halo-halo is a Filipino-style shaved ice made with sweetened beans, fruits, and jellies and topped with milk, Leche flan, purple yam jam, and ice cream. It’s a cold and refreshing treat you’ll want year-round!

halo-halo topped with ice cream and leche flan

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We’re in the midst of summer here in Texas, and if there’s one thing about Texas in summer, it’s hot. Like, really HOT. Like, some days it’s 95 F, and you’re grateful it’s only 95 F.

I’m never more as appreciative as I am from June to September that I work from home and seldom leave the house. The girl gotta eat, though, and I occasionally have to brave the oppressive temperature for a food run. Boy, the blistering heat and humidity feel like you’re walking in a bowl of soup!

But as much as I whine about the hot weather, there is no other place we’d rather live. Four months of Summer is not that bad when we have a beautiful fall and mild winter to look forward to. Besides, a scorching hot day is more reason to enjoy a tall glass of halo-halo!

ingredients for halo-halo

What is Halo-halo

Halo-halo, which translates to “mix-mix,” is said to have originated from the Japanese shaved ice, kakigori, and was brought to our shores by Japanese migrants who settled near the ice manufacturing plant in Quinta, Manila.

This Filipino cold dessert is made with sweetened beans, fruits, and root crops such as monggo, bananas, jackfruit, sweet potatoes, ube, nata de coco, and young coconut.

gulaman, beans, pinipig, macapuno, kaong in individual bowls

The delicious assortment is topped with shaved ice, milk, Leche flan, and ice cream. It’s also common to finish it off with a generous sprinkling of crispy pinipig or pounded rice for extra crunch.

As its name suggests, the colorful add-ins are mixed into a creamy and refreshing treat. Each component marries into an exciting medley of creamy, soft, chewy tastes and textures that’s like a party in your mouth!

halo-halo ingredients in a tall glass

Choice of Mix-ins

Don’t let the long list below intimidate you! This Filipino shaved ice is very customizable, and you can have as many or as few items as you like. You can make all the components from scratch or use storebought.

  • Coconut Gel (nata de coco)
  • Sugar Palms (kaong)
  • Sweetened jackfruit (langka)
  • Sweetened saba bananas
  • Ripe Manila mango slices
  • Sweetened sweet potatoes (kamote)
  • Sweetened beans such as garbanzos, red beans, or white beans
  • Sweet corn kernels
  • Gulaman made from agar-agar bars or powdered jelly mix (reduce water required in the recipe to yield a firmer texture)
  • Tapioca or sago pearls
  • Young coconut (buko) or sweetened coconut sport (macapuno)
  • Evaporated or fresh milk
  • Pinipig or rice crispies
  • Purple yam jam (ube halaya)
  • Leche Flan
  • Ice cream (mango, ube, or vanilla flavor)
cooking sweetened saba bananas in a pan

Recipes for homemade ingredients

Minatamis na Saging (sweetened bananas)

  • 3-4 large Saba Bananas
  • 1 and 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Peel the bananas and slice them to 1/2-inch thickness.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat, then add the sugar. Cook until dissolved.
  4. Add the bananas and cook until the bananas are soft and the liquid is reduced and thickened
  5. Turn off heat. Stir in vanilla extract.

Sweetened Red Mung Beans

  • 1 cup red mung beans
  • water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Rinse the beans, then soak in water overnight. Drain the beans well.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add beans, enough water to cover the beans, and sugar.
  3. Stir, then bring to a boil.
  4. Lower heat, cover, simmer until beans are tender and liquid is thick and syrupy.

Sweetened White Beans

  • 1 cup white beans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Rinse the beans and drain well.
  2. Place in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until beans are tender.
  4. Add sugar and continue to cook until the liquid is thick and mostly absorbed.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in vanilla extract.
pouring evaporated milk in a glass of halo-halo

How to serve

  1. In a tall glass, add about a teaspoon each of desired add-ins to about 1/3 full.
  2. Pack the glass with shaved ice.
  3. Drizzle evaporated milk over the ice.
  4. Top the ice with scoops of ice cream, leche flan, and/or ube halaya.
  5. Garnish with strips of macapuno and sprinkle with pinipig, if desired.
top shot of Filipino halo-halo with leche flan and ube ice cream

How to store

Being a type of cold dessert with ice, halo-halo is best enjoyed freshly made. To prep ahead, store the add-ins in individual containers and assemble the dessert when ready to serve.

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