Hello Everyone! In Singapore, Malaysia, and even in Brunei, Ondeh-Ondeh refers to a glutinous rice ball kuih (sweet snack or dessert). In Indonesia they call it Klepon. There are two versions of Ondeh-Ondeh. One is made with just plain glutinous rice flour and scented with pandan (screwpine) juice, while the other has a little sweet potato added to the dough.
Ondeh-Ondeh is made with fresh pandan juice and glutinous rice flour rolled in freshly grated coconut with a little surprise on the inside. The surprise makes these balls of Ondeh-Ondeh oh so fun to eat! Its pandan-flavoured skin wraps semi-melted gula melaka (palm sugar) that would burst upon the first bite, like sweet little bombs as the sweetness explodes in the mouth. The slightly salted grated coconut further enhances the deliciousness of this kuih.
Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Rasa Malaysia by Bee.
PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 5-10 MINS | MAKES 12-14 BALLS
- 10 pandan leaves
- 2 cups glutinous rice flour*
- 1 cup water
- 100g freshly grated coconut**
- Coconut sugar***
- Pinch of salt
* Using only glutinous rice flour will make the ondeh-ondeh rather soft in texture. Although some do enjoy such consistency, tapioca flour may be added to the dough to make it slightly firmer. You may also substitute tapioca flour with corn flour.
** If you are using desiccated coconut for this recipe, add 1 tablespoon of water and half a teaspoon of salt to half a cup of desiccated coconut. Mix well and steam the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. The reason for steaming is because you want to achieve a fluffier/softer texture, similar to freshly grated coconut.
*** The amazing taste of ondeh-ondeh comes from the gula melaka, a special palm sugar which has a toffee taste to it. You may substitute this for brown sugar, coconut sugar, or other sweeteners if gula melaka isn’t available. That will, however, change the traditional taste of the ondeh-ondeh.
- Pandan Juice: Place the pandan leaves together with the water in a food processor or heavy-duty blender, and blitz/blend for a few minutes until the pandan leaves have been finely puréed.
- Pour the blended pandan-infused water over a fine sieve and into a small bowl. Strain the liquid from the pandan leaf pulp, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon to extract all of the juice from the pulp. Discard the pandan leaf pulp.
- Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour with the extracted pandan juice and lightly knead to form a smooth dough. Cover the dough and set aside for about 15 minutes to rest.
- Ondeh-Ondeh Balls: Bring a large pot of water to rolling boil. Pinch a thumb-sized piece of dough and flatten lightly and thinly. Fill the centre of the dough with about half a teaspoon of coconut sugar. Roll it in your palms to form a smooth ball and then place each ball on a baking tray lined with lightly greased cling film. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Carefully drop each ball into the boiling water. Do not overcrowd the pot. You may need to work in batches depending on how many balls you managed to make with the dough.
- When they float to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon and shake off the excess water. Coat the ondeh-ondeh balls with the slightly salted grated coconut and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Why does the dough crack?
The dough is too dry. Add some water and knead the dough again. Work in batches and store the dough in a bowl with a piece of damp cloth over it to prevent it from getting dry.
Why does the Ondeh-Ondeh burst while boiling?
Sometimes, the dough may crack during the cooking process. This is due to the thinness of the dough. However, remember not to make the dough too thick either. Wrap it closely around the palm sugar to prevent air from getting in. Otherwise it will burst during the cooking process.
Why did the palm sugar not melt?
The ondeh-ondeh wasn’t cooked long enough. To ensure that the pal sugar has fully melted, simmer them over low heat for another 5 to 10 minutes once they start to float. Also, the trick is to shave the palm sugar with a knife or mandoline or simply chop them into small chunks. This way, they would melt faster. Larger chunks may not melt as quickly as smaller pieces.
How long can ondeh-ondeh last for?
Cooked ondeh-ondeh with grated coconut will only last a day because grated coconut spoils easily. If you would want to prepare them in advance, you may refrigerate shaped ondeh-ondeh for up to 5 days covered with plastic wrap. Shaped ondeh-ondeh can also be frozen for up to 6 months if kept in an airtight container or freezer bag. Simply boil refrigerated or frozen ondeh-ondeh before coating them with shredded coconut.
Before tackling this recipe, I read up on a few different ones online and gathered that on average, these Ondeh-Ondeh Balls take about 10 minutes to cook. I made mine slightly bigger than those in the recipes I looked at, but no way did it take 15 or 30 minutes to fully cook through. It was already way past the 1-hour mark and the balls were still rock hard. At first, I didn’t know where I went wrong… and then it hit me. I was using rice flour instead of glutinous rice flour. What a rookie mistake *facepalm* Nonetheless, after I got around to picking up some glutinous rice flour from the grocers and tackled the recipe again, it was a success!
– Ally xx