Selamat Hari Raya to everyone who celebrates Hari Raya! It’s a special day for all my Muslim friends, and this sweet treat is bound to delight.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of nutrition and I make it a point to add them to my menu at least once a week. I have it steamed in its jacket for brekkie or as a snack.
A friend once told me to substitute sweet potatoes with rice twice a day for 2 weeks so as to lose some weight. I haven’t tried it though.
But I like it, that’s all, and I cook it many ways as possible, but then, most of the time it becomes a dessert. Ondeh Ondeh is just one of them.
Ondeh Ondeh is a traditional Malaysian/Nyonya delicacy. The recipe varies, some using flour alone as the main ingredient. In fact, most of the Ondeh Ondeh sold at food shops are made with flour, which I do not prefer.
My recipe uses steamed sweet potatoes; of course any variety would do as each tastes different, but good.
Ondeh Ondeh’s main trick is that you need to put 1 whole Ondeh Ondeh into your mouth and let the explosion of melted gula Melaka oozing out mingle with the fluffy sweet potato – so satisfying!
You’ve got to try it and you will know what I mean!
It may look time consuming, but once you get the ingredients, the end result becomes gratifying!
400 gms sweet potatoes
½ to ¾ cup glutinous rice flour
¼ cup pandan juice*
1 pandan leaf, cleaned and knotted**
2 small blocks of palm sugar (Gula Melaka)***
2 cups grated coconut
Salt to taste
Cut the palm sugar into 1 cm cubes or smaller. Keep aside.
Add a pinch of salt to the grated coconut and steam for 5 minutes. Keep aside.
Scrub the sweet potatoes, steam it in their jackets till soft.
Once cooled, remove the skin and mash finely with the flour, pandan juice and a pinch of salt to form a pliable dough.
Form marble-sized balls with this dough, put in about ½ tsp of palm sugar inside each ball and seal it well and properly.
Make sure it is not too big, the size of the finished ball should be the size that can be popped into the mouth at one go.
Repeat till all the dough is formed into balls.
Heat a saucepan of water (half full), add the knotted pandan leaf and bring it to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to bring it to a simmer, then put the balls in gently. Do it in batches to allow the balls to have some space to cook well.
The balls will float once fully cooked.
Remove and place them in a bowl of iced water for 5 minutes. Dunking the cooked balls in iced water cools them down and allows the coconut to stick better.
Drain completely and toss it in the coconut to coat nicely.
* For pandan juice – put some fresh pandan leaves and a little water in a blender. Process and strain the liquid. If you have more than required, you may freeze it for later use for another recipe.
** Tie a simple knot in the pandan leaf – it becomes small enough to throw into a pot, and releases its oils into the food better.
*** Gula Melaka can be found at all Asian supermarkets.
If you cannot find pandan leaves, then use bottled pandan extract.
Sweet potatoes comes in a variety of colours so each time you make it, the dish will change in appearance slightly according to the natural colour of the sweet potato.
You may grate the palm sugar coarsely instead. Make sure you get a good quality for best flavour and taste. Of course you may add more if you like the ondeh ondeh sweeter!