Rice dumplings with palm sugar

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes 20 dumplings (serves



Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

Pandan paste, a natural extract from the leaves, stains these chewy little dumplings an unlikely shade of green and gives a soft fragrance to the rice flour. There is a surprise waiting inside - as you bite in, a pool of molten palm sugar is released.


  • 200 g (7 oz) glutinous rice flour
  • ¼ teaspoon pandan paste (optional)
  • 80 g (½ cup) dark palm sugar (gula jawa)
  • 100 g ( oz) fresh coconut, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Tip the rice flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in 180 ml (¾ cup) water and the pandan paste. Use a spoon to bring everything together, then knead to a smooth, pliable and beautifully green dough. If it is too sticky, add more rice flour.

You’ll need to shape and cook the dumplings in two or three batches before the dough softens the sugar and makes it melt and leak, so get everything ready. Cut the palm sugar into a rubble of small nuggets and shavings. Line a tray with plastic wrap. Cover another plate with a mixture of the coconut and salt.

Take a piece of dough and roll into a ball about 2.5 cm (1 inch) across (they will swell as they cook). Press in your finger to make a cavity and fill with about ½ teaspoon of the palm sugar. Shape into a ball around the filling and sit on the lined tray while you make some more.

Bring a pan half filled with water to the boil and cook the dumplings. Boil until they float to the surface, then leave for about 30 seconds longer and remove with a slotted spoon. Drain well.

Roll the sticky dumplings in the salted coconut to get a good coating. Serve at room temperature.