Mini Ube Bibingka by
Jen & Leo
Co-founders of Just Eat Life
Queens, New York
There’s a joyfulness that comes through in every video recipe from Just Eat Life. You can hear it in a giddy voiceover about beet juice or see it in a smiling sunny-side-up egg graphic. Behind the channel are partners in life and in business, Jen and Leo. Together they share their happy love of food, flavor, travelling, and teaching through the videos they create.
Their recipe videos are often inspired by either a discovery of a new ingredient or a craving of a dish they’ve had before.
“We’ll be in the market and – it’s my favorite hobby, we hang out with friends in different groceries and just try different things – we’d see a new product or something I haven’t worked with before,” Jen says. “Sometimes that will inspire a new dish.”
“We hang out with friends in different groceries and just try different things.”
When inspiration comes from a craving, it’s often for a meal they’ve had on the road like a noodle dish from a work trip. “We went to shoot different places [in Thailand] and we tried prawn mee”, Leo remembers. “So now we crave that.” That craving has spawned the prawn noodle recipe on their channel.
Sometimes the craving comes from a childhood memory like Bibinkga for Jen. She remembers having the sweet, fluffy rice cake either ordered out or from family friends who made it themselves. When she set out to recreate the recipe, the project became a family collaboration. Her mom shared various recipes she’d heard of and offered ideas on what types of flour to use for a lighter cake. “My sister was the one who said ‘hey, why don’t you try ube and maybe make it smaller?’” Jen recalls.
“The whole time my mom was telling me ‘you need the clay pot, you need the charcoal, and you need to do it outside’,” Jen says. She eventually decided to use an oven to make the recipe more accessible. Jen and Leo hope that viewers will see it as a fun, entry-level Bibingka before experiencing the real thing later on. “Hopefully [viewers] get to visit the Philippines and be like ‘oh yeah, I’ve had that before. I’ve seen that and this is like the real deal. Now I can appreciate it more and understand it’. That’s our goal at least. Even with ourselves.”
Jen and Leo’s Tip:
Prepare your mise en place before anything else. This means getting all your ingredients prepped, portioned, and ready to use – doing so helps make the recipe less intimidating.
- Dry ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups rice flour (glutinous/sweet rice)
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup almond flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Wet ingredients:
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup cooked ube, mashed
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp salted butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp ube flavoring
- 1 salted egg, sliced
- ¼ cup shredded cheese
- 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes or chips
- Frozen banana leaves, thawed
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut banana leaves into rounds and line a muffin tin.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl and whisk until mostly smooth.
- Spray the banana leaf molds with coconut oil or brush with melted butter. Pour the batter ¾ of the way up each cup.
- Gently place toppings and then bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.