Halo-halo is a shaved ice dessert that originated from my homeland, Philippines. “Halo” (hah-loh) means “mix”, so “halo-halo” literally means mix-mix. It’s a fitting name to this delicious dessert where a combination of shaved ice, evaporated milk, fruits and ice cream is mixed in a tall glass or bowl for the consumer to enjoy. It’s the perfect dessert to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Ais Kacang from Malaysia and Singapore is a similar dessert.
This is a very easy to prepare dessert. Finding the ingredients, mainly the beans and fruits, may be the only difficult part. The ice for this dessert is a similar consistency to that of a snow cone. The street vendors in the Philippines use a metal ice shaver (which looks like a timber plane) on a huge block of ice. It’s very entertaining to watch when they get to work making your halo-halo. Of course if you don’t have either of these tools, a blender that is capable of crushing ice will do. It’s what I did for this halo-halo.
The halo-halo mix can be bought from a Filipino grocer. It comes in a small and large jar which usually contains sweetened fruits and beans such as jackfruit, boiled kidney beans, nata de coco (coconut jelly), red mung beans and sugar palm fruit. The small jar has enough for two servings. Very convenient if you want a quick fix halo-halo but there’s not much variety. However, if you prefer more fruits or beans over the other, they can also be bought individually in small or large jars. I absolutely love red mung beans and nata de coco out of all of them. I am certain that these fruits and beans are sold in asian grocers as they have their own variant to this dessert. I’m just not certain what they’re called.
I usually arrange my halo-halo in this order: Beans and fruits first, followed by crushed ice, topped with more fruits (or jelly), a drizzle of evaporated milk and then finishing off with a scoop of ice cream. Of course you can be more adventurous with the flavourings and toppings for halo-halo. In the Philippines, a serving of “Special Halo-Halo” contains an extra topping of ube (purple yam) and leche flan. Oh boy, just thinking about that is making me crave for more halo-halo this summer. Well, why not? It’s the best time of year to enjoy this delicious, sweet and refreshing dessert.
Halo-Halo (Mix -Mix) – for 1 serving
½ the contents of a small jar of halo-halo mix or
1 Tbsp of sweetened red mung beans
1 Tbsp of sweetened kidney beans
1 Tbsp of sugar palm fruit
1 Tbsp of sweetened nata de coco (coconut jelly)
1 Tbsp of sweetened jackfruit
1-1½ cups of crushed ice
1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
drizzling of evaporated milk
Arrange the sweetened beans and fruits on the bottom of a tall glass or bowl, followed by the crushed ice. Top off with ice cream and a drizzling of evaporated milk. Mix all ingredients (hence halo-halo) and enjoy.
Now of course, if you can’t find the halo-halo mix or the sweetened beans and fruits in store, then by all means, enjoy this dessert with your favourite fruits and ice cream.