Pandan and coconut dumplings


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    – enough for 4

Appears in

Jackfruit and Blue Ginger

Jackfruit and Blue Ginger

By Sasha Gill

Published 2019

  • About

These dumplings, called onde onde, were one of the first things I learnt to make in home economics classes at school. They are little dumplings that pop like a water balloon when you bite into them and ooze a delightfully floral caramel goo. When rolling these, take care not to roll the skin too thin or the dumplings might burst in the pan as they cook, rather than as you chew them. For this recipe, try to get the type of palm sugar that comes in a block as it is easier to work with.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes



  • ½ cup (85 g) small sweet potato cubes
  • 2/3 cup (85 g) glutinous rice flour
  • pinch of salt

Coconut mixture

  • ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated coconut or ½ cup (35 g) dried shredded coconut
  • 1 pandan leaf, cut into short strips
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) palm sugar, coconut sugar or dark brown sugar


Steam the sweet potato until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 5–7 minutes. Tip into a bowl and add the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons cold water. Mash with a potato masher until you have a smooth, thick dough. Chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Put the grated coconut, pandan leaf and salt in a bowl or cake tin that will fit inside your steamer basket. Mix well, then steam over a pan of boiling water for 15–20 minutes until fragrant and the coconut is soft.

If you are using palm sugar in block form, cut it into small chunks or cubes, as this makes it easier to stuff into the dumplings. If you are using a granulated sugar, like coconut sugar or dark brown sugar, it will be slightly trickier to stuff the dumplings, but not impossible!

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Divide the dough into twenty balls. Flatten a ball in the palm of your hand and press a cube of sugar (or ½–1 teaspoon granulated sugar) into the middle of the dough, then close up the dough and form it back into a ball, encasing the sugar in the middle. Make sure there are no holes in the dough or the sugar will ooze out as the dumpling cooks. Immediately drop the dumpling into the boiling water and continue making the next dumpling. Stop making the dumplings if the pan becomes overcrowded at any stage, and just wait until some of them have finished cooking.

The dumplings are done when they float to the surface, about 3–5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out, then drop into the steamed coconut and toss to coat.

These dumplings are best served warm, while the sugar is still molten – but let them cool for 5 minutes before diving in, so you don’t burn your mouth.