Filipino Coconut Milk Porridge with Mango and Sago

This version of Filipino tambo-tambo or ginataang bilo-bilo combines sweet mango with sticky rice balls, sago, and creamy coconut milk.
6 servings
Prep Time
10 Mins
Active Time
20 Mins

There are several ways to make ginataang bilo-bilo, a porridge of rice balls simmered in sweet coconut milk. Different provinces have their own unique variations. For example, Pangasinan’s tambo-tambo includes tapioca pearls and local produce like sweet potato, cassava, or saba bananas.

We adapted this recipe from Marvin Gapultos, author of The Adobo Road, whose version of tambo-tambo uses sweet ripe mangoes. The rice balls and sago pearls makes this porridge fun to eat. Powdered milk gives it creaminess; vanilla makes it taste like ice cream. But feel free to skip them if you prefer a more coconut-y flavor.


  • 4 cups water, for boiling
  • ½ cup small dried sago or tapioca pearls

Sticky Rice Balls

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • ½ cup warm water, plus more as needed

Sweet Coconut Milk

  • 1 ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup powdered milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups diced ripe mangoes

Cook the sago: Add water to a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add sago pearls. Once the water returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook pearls, stirring frequently for 15–20 minutes. The pearls should be tender and translucent. Scoop out with a strainer and rinse under cold water. Set aside.


Make the rice balls: Combine glutinous rice flour and warm water in a bowl. Mix with a rubber spatula until it forms into a paste-like dough. Shape dough into balls by rolling them between your palms. Make them any size you want, but don’t make them too big—the balls will still expand a bit while cooking. Coat balls with glutinous rice flour to prevent them from becoming too sticky.


Make the sweet coconut milk: Combine coconut milk, water, sugar, and powdered milk in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.


Cook sticky rice balls: Reduce heat to low and add the sticky rice balls. Cook until the color changes, about 3–5 minutes.


Serve: Stir in sago pearls, vanilla, and diced ripe mangoes. Ladle into bowls and serve warm.


The porridge gets thicker as it cools. Store it in the fridge for a cool and creamy dessert.

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