After a couple of failed attempts, I'd finally figured out the best combination of ingredients and the correct method to make onde onde. I came across various recipes which called for tapioca starch. I tried use those recipes, but the onde onde came out hard and the palm sugar do not melt. Onde onde is a bouncy rice ball filled with palm sugar; what fascinating is that it popped inside your mouth with the melted palm sugar. Kinda like a XLB meets mochi.
Kueh or kuih is a culinary genre that is fading away. Hardly anyone make these by hands at their own kitchen anymore. Most are mass produced from factories. I remember my grandma used to make loads of these for her afternoon high tea session. Imagine an English style afternoon high tea session with all these wonderful kueh.
I hope I can breathe new life into this fading genre with a bit of a modern twist. As I was preparing my palm sugar for freezing, I was thinking about melting the sugar into a syrup then freeze them as ice cubes instead. Maybe that will be a better method. I also was painting a picture inside my mind about debunking these onde onde on my plate. Anyway, every time you munch into these, the hot sweet filling will explode in your mouth leaving a hint of pandan and coconut at the back of your mouth. This is the real deal. No artifical coloring or flavoring, unlike the store-bought ones which taste so rubbery and over-sugary-sweet. Without much delay, let's get started with the recipe.
(Make 15 onde onde)
Desiccated Coconut, 1/2 Cup
Sea Salt, Pinch
Palm Sugar Coarsely Chopped, 75g
Pandan Leaves Coarsely Chopped, 10
Glutinous Rice Flour, 125g
Pure Pandan Paste, 1/2 TSP
In a large heat proof shallow bowl, add desiccated coconut and salt.
Stir to combine well.
Prepare a steamer and steam the coconut mixture for about 5 to 10 mins or until the coconut has softened.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the filling.
In a spice grinder, add palm sugar.
Blitz until fine.
Using a 1/3 tsp, scoop and lay each individual scoops onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
You should have 15 scoops.
Cover with cling film and sit in the freezer until frozen.
Prepare the dough.
In a blender, add pandan leaves and water.
Blitz until smooth.
Drain the pandan juice into a bowl thru' a strainer.
Using the back of a spoon, squeeze out any excess juice.
Discard the residue.
You should have 1/2 cup of pandan juice.
*If you have less, add water until it reaches 1/2 cup. Discard any excess.*
Prepare a sauce pot with about 1/2 full with water over medium-high heat.
Bring to a gentle boil while preparing the dough.
In a large bowl, add in glutinous rice flour, pandan juice and pandan paste.
Mix to combine well.
Mix until it comes together into a dough.
The dough should be tacky and smooth.
Pinch 20g of the dough and drop into the pot of boiling water.
As soon as the dough float to the surface, scoop out using a cooking spider.
*Do not off the heat, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer.*
Transfer the blanched dough into the rest of the dough.
Continue to knead until well combined.
The dough should be a tacky and smooth, but not sticky.
*If the dough is too dry, add in 1 tsp of water. if the dough is too sticky, add in 1 tsp of flour.*
Assemble the onde onde.
Bring the pot of water up to a gentle boil by turning the heat up to medium.
Pinch 15g of the dough.
*Cover the rest of the dough with damp lint free kitchen towel. This will prevent the rest of the dough from drying out.*
Flatten the dough into a disc.
Take 1 of the fillings from the freezer.
*Leave the rest of the fillings in the freezer or they will melt super fast at room temperature.*
Put the filling in the middle of the flatten dough.
Seal the filling with your fingers.
*Make sure it is sealed properly.*
Shape it into a round ball.
Drop the dough ball into the boiling water.
Stir the water to prevent the dough ball from sticking at the bottom of the pot.
Once the dough float to the top, allow it to boil for another couple of mins.
Scoop the dough ball out with a cooking spider.
Transfer the dough ball onto the steamed desiccated coconut.
Roll the dough until fully coated.
Repeat the process for the remaining onde onde.
*Do not shape and fill the onde onde all at once, the filling will melt and the onde onde will dry out. Work on 1 dough at a time.*
While popping the last few onde onde in my mouth, I began thinking about the painting which I had envisage while making those kueh. I decided to save the last couple for a bit of an art adventure.
What I did was melting the palm sugar aka gula melaka aka coconut sugar down to a syrupy consistency. To be exact (so you can also try this at home), palm sugar syrup = 50g, fresh lemon juice = 25g and agar agar powder = 1/4 TSP. I stir all of that together and bring it up to a simmer. I let it simmer for a couple of mins, remove from heat and let it sit for 10 mins. I already chilled a bowl of canola oil, which is 500g, in the fridge overnight. I transferred the syrup mixture into a squeeze bottle and dripped droplets into the chilled oil. If you have a syringe, it will work even better.
Again, I let it chilled in the fridge for at least 10 mins. Drained them thru' a fine strainer, wash it thoroughly under running water and set aside to drain off excess liquid. That's how I got my palm sugar caviar. I also added some coconut flakes which I had dried roasted in a skillet. Sometimes we have to be a rebel and be bold. That plate was the painting which I had envisaged.