My mom swears that you can find the best matamis na baococonut jam — in Antipolo.   The town is not too far from Manila, where I grew up.   An hour or an hour and a half trip, if I remember correctly.   It sits on the slopes of a long mountain range so it is a bit cooler compared to Manila and the views of the city are breathtaking.  More so at night when the sky gets illuminated by city lights.

I remember our summer excursions to Antipolo when I was little.  The swarms of vendors around the old cathedral in the center of town.  Women with their children in the square wrapping sticky rice cakes fastidiously with long, young palm leaves.  The scent of fresh mangoes ripening in flimsy bamboo crates and the smell of toasted cashew nuts in tiny brown paper bags.  We would go to church in the morning, picnic in the afternoon, and happily take a bagful of mangoes and rice cakes home along with a few jars of coconut jam. We would spread the thick, deep-brown jam over the rice cakes for merienda and then enjoy the leftover cakes with slices of buttery mangoes for breakfast the following day.

You will never find coconut jam better than what you can get in Antipolo, my mom would always say.  I’ve always trusted her taste in food. The mangoes from Antipolo are sweet but the ones from Zambales are sweeter, I remember her say. Mothers know best, right? And so I can’t wait for her to try my own coconut jam and to hear what she thinks of it when she visits us soon.  Yes, she will be flying to San Francisco in a little over a week and we — Dennis and I plus Stanford included (extra walks for the little guy!) — are very excited. It will be a longer visit this time, longer than her last one two years ago, so there will be plenty of time to catch up on recipes and stories. And I’m sure stories about those Antipolo picnics from long ago will pop up somewhere, sometime.


Ice Cream with Coconut Jam


Vanilla Ice Cream with Coconut Jam and Toasted Coconut Milk Crumbs

Spoon coconut jam into a small glass or glass container and place the glass container in a hot water bath — hot water in a bigger pan or bowl.  Stir the jam and let it warm up until it becomes thin as a sauce.  Spoon the jam into bowls, lay a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, and sprinkle with toasted coconut milk crumbs.


Matamis na Bao — Coconut Jam Recipe
2 large 15-ounce cans coconut milk
8 ounces muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons pandan juice extract

Bring the coconut milk, muscovado sugar, and pandan extract to a boil in a saucepan. As soon as the milk starts to vigorously boil, quickly reduce the heat and let it simmer over medium-to-low heat while stirring frequently. The sweetened milk will slowly thicken and its color will gradually darken into deep chocolate brown. The jam is ready when a spoonful firms up when cool.

Pour the jam into clean glass jars and seal. Coconut jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Latik — Toasted Coconut Milk Crumbs Recipe
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk

Bring coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan and simmer gently over low heat while stirring frequently. Continue to simmer until the milk reduces to a thick cream, about an hour. Continue heating and stirring until the cream separates into coconut oil and latik. Turn the heat off as soon as the crumbs turn a deep caramel brown color. Drain the coconut oil, which can be used for sautéing and baking. Latik will keep for a week stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

  • Tina

    I make latik for haleyang ube & biko but haven’t tried eating ice cream with latik nor coconut jam. Your photo tells me it’s yummy!

    Wishing your mom an enjoyable visit to SF!

  • skip to malou

    oh jun! I am excited for your mom’s visit. i’m more excited and looking forward to the stories and the cooking adventures that she will take you when she comes. i have some recollections of antipolo too and you’ve described it so vividly in this post. i hear the noise, the sea of church goers and the vendors… and the kakanins on the side. i also remember those daily trips when i drove my daughter to assumption antipolo haha. this post is magical.
    hug your mom for me, she did a great job mothering you!

  • Liren

    How wonderful that your mom is coming to visit! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your time with her! Oh Jun, I love how your posts stir up memories. The coconut jam was something I did not enjoy as a child, but my dad LOVED it on bread. As I got older, I really learned to love it, and it’s brilliant with the vanilla ice cream. And Antipolo – my family had a summer house there – so we always spent weekends there – big family gatherings – when we vacationed! Sigh.

  • Bianca Garcia

    I freakin’ love cocojam. What a genius idea to eat it with coconut ice cream! I completely trust my mom’s taste in food too. In fact I just wrote about kesong puti, na pinaglihi ako :)

  • Sefie Eats

    My sister and her family live in Antipolo, and we visited them for the first time last year. I can’t believe we didn’t pick up any matamis na bao while we were there! But I did try kasoy, which was kind of funny tasting :) We’re lucky enough to be going back again for Christmas, and now I know exactly what I have to get!

  • My Little Expat Kitchen

    I can’t wait to try the coconut jam. What a great combination it must be with that ice cream.


  • Cristina

    Jun: I could just dig into that bowl of ice cream with the coconut jam! Looks and sounds absolutely delicious. Congratulations on your nomination as one of Saveur’s finalists for “Best Regional Cuisine” =)


    oh my god! I have never seen or tasted coconut crumbs! You have totally inspired me!

  • Kulsum

    This looks great. The texture of the icecream is perfection! I’m sure mom’s going to like the coconut jam and yes mom’s know the best :-)

  • Lala

    oooooh Babs, Tita is coming? you know what that means, right? pasalubong!! i’m so, so excited for you.

    we’re gonna ride the coattails of this visit – we as in your alembons shall be sitting on imaginary steps awaiting some yummy recipes for yummy goodies.

    i go home in a month and i am determined to get my ma’s tocino and puto recipe with a visual so i can share with the berks!

    and yes, when it comes to food, mama knows best!

    je t’embrasse,Celine.

  • Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)

    How exciting to have your mom for an extended visit, Jun. I, for one, am anticipating even more mom-inspired dishes from here. Can’t wait! I’m sure it will be so nice to reconnect with each other over food memories, old and new. I already enjoy reading about your childhood food stories related to your mom but am looking forward to more. Now I really must have some coco jam! :-)

  • Authenticsuburbangourmet

    I can only imagine how excited you are for your Mom to visit – such special times! This coconut jam instantly caught my eye and sounds SO wonderful. As usual, your photos are stunning. BTW – I have been voting for you and rooting for you for the Saveur awards!

  • ALittleYum

    Can’t wait to try this — sounds fun to make and yummy to eat!

  • m. k.

    so beautiful!

    I love how certain foods are always associated with an amazing family time.

    well done

  • Stephanie Hua

     omg, jun, this has my mouth watering…i am such a sucker for coconut anything…and with that bowl of ice cream?!! you are evil.  wonderful storytelling as usual :) you completely transported me…

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    What a wonderfully refreshing dessert.  I love the textures here… and the use of coconut in such deliciously unusual ways.

  • saberkite

    I remember eating matamis na bao for a snack as a kid. During vacations in Zambales (shoutout to our mangoes being the sweetest haha), my grandma would have this made for me because she knows how much I love it. Thank you for this post.

  • marzz

    Hubby came home with a jar of coconut jam from Manila… we’ll have this for dessert tonight!

  • Mariko

    Hello new life with coconut jam. I have a feeling this is dangerous.
    I love to hear about your adventures, too. :)

  • Kip Hughes

    Can the pandan juice extract be substituted with pandan extract (e.g. If so, how much extract to replace the juice extract?

  • Jun Belen

    Yes, Kip.  You can substitute pandan extract or essence for the juice.  I’d use a teaspoon of the essence.  You can also skip the pandan flavor and make the jam without it — just coconut milk and muscovado or brown sugar.

  • Linda

    Coconut jam is too dangerous to make more than once a year for me but to discover you’ve paired it with vanilla ice cream…omg I’m in heaven! 

  • canvas art shop

    Sounds delicious and looks it too, must try this!

  • Maya

    what an inspired threesome, this vanilla ice cream-coco jam-latik. must try.