What is Klepon?
Klepon is an Indonesian sweet also popular in Malaysia (called Onde Onde). These chewy Pandan-flavoured balls are bursting with melty coconut sugar and it’s hard to stop at one! This recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegan and is an easy one that comes together in about 20 minutes.
There aren’t too many Ingredients in this recipe but you might be unfamiliar with them so here’s a little rundown:
- GLUTINOUS RICE FLOUR – sticky rice flour – it’s naturally gluten-free, even though some people think it’s not because of the name, but GLUTIN-ous refers to the stickyness of the flour, not that it contains GLUTEN. My favourite brand is Erawan, a thai brand that make high quality finely ground rice flours. (This brand is recommended by Celiac Australia which may be useful to know if you are gluten-free)
- PALM SUGAR – is coconut palm sugar, and does not come from the same place as palm oil. There is a variety that ranges in colour from light to dark and while I used a darker one for this recipe, they all work. If you’ve never had palm sugar before I would recommend buying a lighter one as most people prefer the flavour. I used Wayang brand Gula Aren. Gula Jawa will have too strong and earthy a flavour as it is an unrefined coconut sugar.
- PANDAN/ PANDAN FLAVOURING – Pandan is a leaf that has an exquisite flavour that is very popular in South-East Asian desserts. It’s a bit like a coconutty vanilla and when extracted from the leaf is a bright vibrant green!
- SHREDDED COCONUT – it’s traditional to roll klepon in freshly grates coconut that is moist and delicious (steam the coconut to make it last longer) but dries dessicated or shredded coconut will work too.
Klepon – Chewy Indonesian Pandan Balls with Coconut Palm Sugar
Klepon – Indonesian Chewy Pandan Balls with Coconut Palm Sugar
- 240g glutinous rice flour
- 2 tbsp full-fat coconut cream
- 200 ml water
- 1/2 tsp pandan flavouring
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup palm sugar (gula aren) grated or cut into small pieces
- shredded coconut
- 1 pandan leaves optional
Make the dough
- Combine all dough ingredients in a bowl and mix well til you get a soft pliable dough.
Form the balls
- Roll 1/2 tbsp ball of the dough and flatten lightly in the palm of your hand. Make a little indent and place about 1/4 tsp amount of palm sugar in the centre. Fold the dough around the sugar to cover completely
Cook the balls
- Prepare a large plate and grease with a little neutral oil. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the pandan leaves if using. (I like to cook one test ball first to make sure the cooking time melts the sugar completely.)
- Cook in batches. Adding 8-10 balls to the water at a time. Stir gently so the balls don't stick to the bottom. Boil for 4-5 minutes to allow the sugar centre to fully melt and then carefully remove and place onto the greased plate.
- Once you've finished cooking all the balls, allow to cool slightly before rolling in coconut and enjoy!