War Hero Maria Orosa Invented Power Cookies. Here’s the Recipe

Darak cookies saved the lives of thousands of Filipinos and Americans.
IMAGE Pxfuel, Wikimedia Commons

Maria Ylagan Orosa was the Philippines’ foremost food technologist. She was also the country’s first woman scientist. She invented soyalac, calamansi juice powder, and most notably, banana ketchup. She was also a war heroine who served as captain in the guerilla forces.

ALSO READ: Maria Orosa, the War Hero Who Invented Banana Ketchup

During World War II, Orosa joined the Marking’s Guerillas, which was one of hundreds of guerilla forces formed against the Japanese. As a secret member of the guerilla forces, Orosa made use of her expertise as a scientist and risked her life smuggling soyalac, one of her superfoods, into prison camps to feed Filipino and American prisoners of war.

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Orosa died on February 13, 1945 during the intense shelling of the Americans in the Battle of Manila. Orosa was one of the 100,000 people who died during the battle that left Manila in shambles.

ALSO READ: How Manila Was Destroyed in a Bloody, Brutal Battle That Killed 100,000 Civilians

In February 2020, a grave marker bearing her name was accidentally discovered in Malate Catholic School in Manila. Although her remains were not found in the site, archaeologists believe she was buried in a mass grave within the area.

Today, banana ketchup is regarded as one of Orosa’s most important legacies to the Filipino people. But she invented hundreds of other recipes that proved useful in feeding a starving nation. One of the superfoods she invented are darak cookies.

ALSO READ: War Heroine Maria Orosa’s Grave Unearthed at Malate Catholic School


Orosa’s darak cookies were fortified with vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin B-complex. The affordable power food became a nutritious meal for Filipinos during the War.

Thankfully, some of Orosa’s superfood recipes were preserved.  Below is the original recipe for Maria Orosa’s darak cookies, the Filipino superfood during World War II.



  • 1/2 cup of rice bran (tiki tiki flour)
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick of butter)
  • Oil for lining the sheets


How to Make Darak Cookies:

  1. Beat the eggs well, then set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually mix in sugar, rice bran, flour, egg, and lime zest to make cookie dough.
  4. Brush the cookie sheet with a thin layer of oil. Drop cookie doughs by teaspoonfuls and flatten to cook evenly. Set each cookie dough two inches apart.
  5. Bake in oven until golden brown.
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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of SPIN.ph as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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