Ondeh-ondeh

Ondeh-ondeh

Coconut glutinous rice balls

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From
Have You Eaten
Makes
20-30
Photographer
Billy Law

Ondeh-ondeh is my all-time favourite snack; these little coconut-coated pandan-flavoured rice balls are addictively chewy and stretchy, but the best part is definitely the gula melaka (palm sugar) filling inside, which literally explodes in your mouth with a squelch of liquid palm sugar syrup. You simply can’t stop at one.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
150ml water
100g gula melaka, grated, (see note)
150g glutinous rice flour
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
2 tablespoons icing sugar
130g desiccated coconut
pinch salt
10 pandan leaves, (see note)
or 1 teaspoon pandan essence

Method

  1. Put the pandan leaves and water in a blender and blend into a juice. Strain the pandan juice through a fine sieve into a jug, discarding the solids.
  2. Take a pinch of grated gula melaka and roll it into a ball the size of a 5-cent coin. Repeat with the remaining sugar. Set aside ready to be used.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour, tapioca starch, icing sugar and strained pandan juice. Using your hands, knead the mixture into a wet dough — it shouldn’t be sticky.
  4. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Pinch a small piece of the dough and drop it into the boiling water. Let it cook until it floats to the surface, then scoop it out. Wearing a glove, knead the cooked dough back into the main dough until it forms a smooth and sticky dough. Add a little more flour if the dough is too wet. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the desiccated coconut with a pinch of salt. Place the coconut in a steamer lined with baking paper and steam for 5 minutes over a saucepan of simmering water. Spread on a tray to cool completely.
  6. Bring the same pot of water to the boil again and have the tray of desiccated coconut ready, as you will have to do a few things at once at this point. Take a small piece of the pandan dough and roll it into a ball, then flatten slightly in your palm. Place a gula melaka ball in the centre, fold the dough over, seal the edges and then roll it back into a ball. Working in batches of 10–15, quickly drop the balls into the boiling water and let them cook while you make more balls with the rest of the dough.
  7. Keep an eye on the balls in the pot: once they are cooked, they will float to the surface. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, shake off the excess water and drop them in the desiccated coconut. Roll them around until they are nicely coated. Let them cool down before transferring to a serving plate.

Note

  • Pandan leaves are available in Asian grocers, either fresh or frozen. Pandan leaves have a very subtle flavour; bruise the leaves to release the flavour by folding and tying the leaves into a knot before cooking.

Note

  • Gula melaka, or dark palm sugar, is commonly used in Malaysian and Indonesian cooking. Sold in Asian grocers, gula melaka usually comes in a log shape; don’t get it mixed up with the light palm sugar, which is usually sold as small discs. Please be mindful to buy sustainable gula melaka, and stop the unethical practice of forest logging that has destroyed much of the orang-utan’s habitat in Malaysia and Indonesia.
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