This is the “charcoal stove” being used to cook the “Bibingka” or the Filipino Traditional Christmas Rice Cake. They are are handmade from either clay or cement.
The preparation of Bibingka is very time consuming.
- A specially made clay pan is lined with banana leaf then placed on top of this kind of stove with pre-heated charcoals.
- When the clay pan is a bit heated, the Bibingka mixture will be poured into it, then another piece of banana leaf will be placed on top of the mixture to cover it.
- Another “pan” of pre-heated coal is placed on top of the clay pan of bibingka mixture. The “pan” of coal is usually made from scraps of galvanized iron.
- The heat from the burning coals should be balanced and just enough to “bake” the bibingka gradually to the desired sponge-like texture. A slightly charred Bibingka is acceptable and is sometimes preferred by buyers.
This charcoal stove is very popular back in the days when the LPG gas stove is not yet available. People prefer to cook food using charcoal instead of firewood because it does not produce smoke as much as the burning firewood. Smoke from firewood sometimes affect the food taste and also cause coal stains on the pots. In spite of the popularity of the LPG gas stove, most household still have this charcoal stove especially in the province, because it can be used anytime that you run out of LPG. It is also being used for broiling.