Klepon is a traditional Southeast Asian green-coloured balls of rice cake filled with liquid palm sugar and coated in grated coconut, originating from Indonesia. The sweet glutinous rice balls is one of popular Indonesian kue.
In Japanese they do have Mochi cake and this one is similar to it.
It is a boiled rice cake, stuffed with liquid palm sugar (gula jawa/merah/melaka), covered in coconut bits. The dough is made from glutinous rice flour, sometimes mixed with tapioca. It is green because the glutinous rice dough is flavoured and coloured with a paste made from the leaf of pandan or dracaena plant (daun suji) — whose leaves are used widely in Southeast Asian cooking.
The small pieces of palm sugar initially are hard when inserted into glutinous rice dough and rolled into balls. The balls then are boiled, subsequently the palm sugar melts due to high temperature, creating a sweet liquid inside the balls’ core. The balls then are rolled in grated coconut, thus the coconut bits stick to the sticky balls’ surface.
One must be careful when consuming a klepon. Besides the possibility that the bite could squirt and eject liquid palm sugar, a freshly boiled one – which usually contains hot liquid palm sugar, should be consumed carefully or best to be left to cool down for some moment. This makes it especially hard to make, requiring a good amount of skill. Klepon are traditionally served in a banana leaf container, in traditional marketplaces they are sold in banana leaf package containing four or ten balls. Today however, they might be packed in plastic wrappings.
I did once when FM Service Halmstad Kommun had a Culture Day and I did promote Indonesia with some batik clothes, sarung and these klepon. So many people told me it’s very interesting and lots of people came to my stand to try this amazing klepon which everyone was taking about it.
As the ingredients, you can get them in your nearby Asian Store!
I N G R E D I E N T S
- 1 ½ cup glutinous rice flour
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¾ cup coconut grated, desiccated or shredded
- 1 tsp pandan flavouring
- ¼ cup palm sugar gula melaka/gula jawa, chopped into small pieces (around 1-2cm / ½ in)
- Pinch salt
H O W T O P R E P A R E
- Steam or thaw shredded coconut to get it soft and fluffy (around 5-10 minutes). Optional: Cover with a towel to keep moist until ready to use. Or you can just put in a bowl and pour a bit of water then set it in the microvawe for 5minutes.
- In a small saucepan, add the cup of coconut milk, teaspoon of pandan flavouring and pinch of salt. Warm on low heat for a few minutes and remove.
- In a medium bowl, add 1 & ½ cups of glutinous rice flour and warmed pandan coconut milk. Stir with a spoon until combined, then knead until it turns a soft dough. It should be flexible and pliable at this stage.
- Begin to shape klepon balls by taking heaped teaspoon of the dough and rolling it around into a ball (around 3cm / 1 in, in diameter). Work quickly here so the dough doesn’t dry out. Tip: Place dough in a plastic bag to hold in the moisture.
- Now it’s time to stuff them with the palm sugar! Take a ball and push an indent into the centre, making a hole. Pop in a piece of chopped palm sugar and close the dough over the hole. Make sure it’s sealed by pinching the dough back together, then roll it back into a ball with your palms.
- Repeat until all the klepon are ready to cook!
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Once boiling, place the klepon into the pot. Avoid overcrowding, and do them in batches if necessary. The dough is cooked when they float to the top. This usually takes around 5-10 minutes, you can cook them a little longer to ensure the gula melaka melts and heats up on the inside. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon once cooked.
- Next, grab the steamed bowl of coconut and roll around the klepon to coat them. Use a fork or spoon if you want to avoid the coconut and klepon sticking to your fingers.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Make sure not to burn your mouth on the hot gula melaka inside!