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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ondeh Ondeh (Onde Onde) - Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Balls





South East Asian sweets and desserts are most strongly defined by the bite sized snacks known as Kuehs/ Kuihs.  Ondeh Ondeh has always been one of my favourite kuehs. I have never been able to resist these sweet chewy coconut coated balls ever since I was young. Soft and chewy in texture, this is probably one kueh that encompasses all the essential ingredients typically used in the preparation of exotic South East Asian desserts. Sweet potato is the essential root vegetable in this dessert while glutinous rice flour imparts the slightly sticky and chewy texture. Coconut milk and pandan juice provide the mild fragrant richness and Gula Melaka (brown palm sugar) rounds up the sweet experience with its distinctive caramel-like flavour.


A good Ondeh Ondeh should be tender yet chewy. The amount of rice flour used should be just enough to yield a bouncy softness that gives way to the burst of Gula Melaka sweetness when chewed. Very often, commercial Ondeh Ondeh loads up on the glutinous rice flour and stinges on the use of Sweet Potato which helps to soften the Ondeh Ondeh.

I have experimented with a few different sweet potato/glutinous rice flour ratio and my favourite so far is this one that uses equal portion of sweet potato with glutinous rice flour. As a result of the higher quantity of sweet potato, the colour will not be the typical jade green colour seen in the commercially sold Onde Onde. It will take on a mossy brown colour. For the photos in this post, I had added quite a bit of green colouring but otherwise, I would be most comfortable to leave it as it is without any artificial colouring.

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #12: Traditional Kueh (October 2011) hosted by Small Small Baker. 

Recipe :

Sweet potato               100g
Glutinous Rice flour   100g
Pandan Leaves(1)       5 pieces
Water                          15ml
Thick coconut milk     30g

Gula Melaka               100g (chopped finely)

Grated Coconut           200g
Pandan Leaves(2)        2 pieces
Salt                              1/4 tsp

1. Cut Panadan Leaves (1) into small pieces and blend it with the 15ml water. Squeeze to get 30ml of dark green pandan juice.
2. Boil sweet potato in the jacket in a pot of water until tender. Cool down. Remove potato skin and mash well.
3. Mix 100g of mashed sweet potato with Pandan juice (1) and coconut milk. (green colouring can be added now if desired)
4. Add in glutinous rice flour and incorporate until the dough comes together.
5. Place grated coconut on a plate. Cut Pandan Leaves (2) into 5 cm lengths and embed in grated coconut. Steam over boiling water for 5 mins.
6. Leave steamed grated coconut to cool completely and mix in 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside.
7. Portion out (4) into 10g dough. Dust hands with glutinous rice flour and roll each 10g dough into a round ball. Use pinkie finger make a well in the center of the ball. Carefully fill the well with chopped Gula Melaka. Seal the opening of the dough and roll it into a ball again.
Place the ball in a shallow plate of glutinous rice flour to prevent them from sticking together.

8. Boil a pot of water. Drop (7) into the boiling water. Cook until Onde Onde floats to the surface of the boiling water.
9. Remove Onde Onde with a slotted spoon and leave it to cool for 2mins.
10. Roll (9) in grated coconut (6). Serve and finish on the same day.


Edith said...

I was thinking about this one, gotten all the ingredients but bought the grated coconut wrongly.

Yours look stunning!

WendyinKK said...

I did a kosong version, with black glutinous flour.
Just posted that last friday.
When I saw the heading of your post, I tot you've perfected the kosong version that you once did.

daphne said...

me too!! I love this. Come to think of it, I haven't made this for a year or so already. I love how the dark sugar oozes out in your photo.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

@Wendy : Wah, Wendy, you still remember I made the kosong version. I almost forgot! I believe this recipe should work really well for the kosong version too... thanks for reminding me!

Passionate About Baking said...

Oh, I truly love this too! It is one of my favourite kuehs. Unfortunately, good ones are quite rare now. Even so, it is quite pricey. Yours looked so good with the gula melaka bursting in the mouth! I love these!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

It's funny that when I was in KL, I made this version of the recipe using sweet potatoes with some friends and they were very surprised! They said the recipe they know for the longest time doesn't involve sweet potato at all! but after tasting it, they were happy I introduced it to them. :) yes, personally I like more sweet potatoes in the dough, the texture is definitely better. Btw, amazing photos as usual! :))

Anonymous said...

Shirley, besides being a great cook and baker, you have such great photography skills. Did you use a white background for the first pic? Sorry sound like a dumb question. Also u can't find grated coconut in my wet market, where did you buy yours?


Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Wyn, thanks for your kind compliments, I am still trying to figure out photography... Yes, I used a white piece of poster paper for the first photo. I bought grated coconut at the wet market. Grated coconut is usually sold at vegetable or tau kua stores in the wet market. To get white grated coconut for coating kuihs, ask the vendor to grate a whole coconut for you, telling them you need the very white grated coconut. Alternatively, go to NUTC Fairprice, at the Tofu section, they have pre-packed fresh grated coconut by Heng Guan.

Anonymous said...

brilliant work, shirley. :)

Like Honey Bee Sweets' friends, the ondeh ondeh I'd made before did not use sweet potato. But its a wonderful inclusion. Which variety of sweet potato did you use? The Japanese "satsumaimo" variety?

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Alan- I don't know what sweet potatoes I used. Nothing fancy just something I got from the wet market. I want to try this with purple sweet potato next :)

Mumsfilibaba said...

It looks very yummy but I dont know where I can get those pandan leaves :P

Jeannie said...

Your version looks delicious and more simple ingredients than the one I used. Will try this recipe next time I make ondeh ondeh.

Jane Chew said...


Quay Po Cooks said...

I see so many onde onde these few days. Tomorrow I must run out to the kuih store nearby and buy some. I am sure those are not as good as yours but beggers no choosers. I just don't have the skill to make kuih kuih.

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

I am always in awe when I visit your blog. You are such a perfectionist. Stunning.

Anonymous said...

I can smell it. :P

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

@mumsfilibaba: if you do not have pandan leaves, the next alternative is to add a few drops of pandan essence to the water. If you don't have pandan essence, then just omit the pandan juice altogether. You will have one missing component but it will still taste good.

busygran said...

Yum! Love your ondeh ondeh! Used to make them, now too lazy!

Cooking Gallery said...

I love this too!! I used to have ondeh ondeh (or 'klepon' in Indonesian) quite regularly when I was younger. Your ones look perfect!

Jo said...

Oh yummy! One of my many fav local desserts. I still have a couple of boxes of gula melaka from Malacca. The gula there is more fragrant that what I get here in Singapore and is absolutely delicious with onde.

Von said...

Am i the only one here who has never had ondeh ondeh before?? :D It looks like mochi balls!! It sounds like something i would love though- I love coconut and pandan flavours and they look so cute and pretty!

MyFudo™ said...

Such exotic taste I can guess! Creamy coconut and refreshing flavor of pandan...Asian treats are heaven here on earth. The name of this dish is so unique. I love this post!

Yummy Bakes said...

Yours look so tender and juicy.

ann low said...

So pretty! Must be very good with sweet potato. Love it!!

lena said...

i must tell you that each time when i see ondeh ondeh being posted, i just feel like grabbing one or two from the screen. i think the filling is the culprit..that melting syrup!!

DG said...

oh this is one of my favourite, i just can't stop eat and eat :) I agree with you eating ondeh2x has to be right for it tender and chewy, so far the best I made also with 1:1 ratio :) but without coconut milk, maybe I should try next time :)

tigerfish said...

ondeh ondeh is also my favorite cos it is one of the only nyonya kuihs that sends spurts of juicy fillings in my mouth when I bite the whole thing!

Angie's Recipes said...

I did something similar before, but with pumpkin ;-)) Must get some sweet potatoes to try your version. Love its earthy look.

Beau Lotus 涟 said...

Yum yum wish I could have some!!!

iva | in my kitchen said...

nice! love the photos. i havent eaten them in ages!

Joanne said...

You are my hero. I cannot think of anything I want more right now than these delicious treats!

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

excellent work...amazed at your presentation shirley..hats off.;)
Tasty Appetite

Anonymous said...

I love onde-onde and most Nyonya kuih. They're delicious.

Indonesia Eats said...

I miss eating this kue for breakfast :) In Java we call it klepon but in Sumatra we call it onde-onde too :)

Yours look soo pretty. I want to grab them out of the screen :)

Anonymous said...


Tried your recipe with some adjustments but quite a few balls exploded. Maybe too much gula melaka or too little glutinous flour.

Will persist again! Sabby

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hey, Sabby - do try again. Did you have problem rolling and wrapping the Ondeh Ondeh? If you do, it could be that your sweet potato paste could be too dry. Add little bit more coconut milk to it.


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