This warm dessert is by far one of my favorite treats. The slightly chewy, sticky dough with its mealy bean filling and oh-so-sweet ginger syrup is a heavenly combination. This decadently sweet dessert brings back fond childhood memories for me. My Mom made this every year around Tet/Lunar New Year and since I had it just once a year, it was really special. Even now, I hold-out and only make it once a year. But seriously, I could eat this every day! 🙂
This recipe is really simple thanks to the aid of my rice cooker, a wonderful shortcut tool. (I only drag out my big multi-tiered steamer when it’s absolutely needed.) A lot of people ask me why I don’t roll all of the balls and then boil them instead of doing each one individually. Answer: I love to multi-task! Ok, that’s true but the real answer is that this dough is too soft and sticky. If you let the balls sit, they will ooze and lose their shape so it’s easier to roll one at a time and boil. I share more tips below. I hope you love this dessert as much as I do. Enjoy!
Watch the video below for instructions.
2 cups glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1/3 cup dry peeled split mung bean = 1 cup hydrated beans
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
1-inch fresh ginger
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups water
1-5.6 oz can coconut milk
1/2 can water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp tapioca starch + 2 Tbsp water
Rinse mung beans several times with water and soak beans overnight.
In a large bowl combine flour and water and knead until a soft dough forms. If the dough isn’t sticking together add 1 Tbsp of water at a time. The dough should be soft and moist and resemble bread dough. Knead dough for 2-3 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest on the counter.
Rinse and drain mung beans. Put beans in the rice cooker along with salt. Spread beans evenly on the bottom of cooker. Add water. Close rice cooker lid and set to cook. As soon as the button on the rice cooker pops up (approximately 20 minutes), open lid. Using a flat spoon, mash the beans until you no longer see the individual beans. The beans should look like mashed potatoes. Add sugar and combine well. Scoop the mashed beans onto a plate and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. It should still be warm for this next step. Take 1 teaspoon of bean and roll it between your palms to form a ball. Continue rolling until you run out of beans. (Tip: When your palms become sticky, rinse them with just a bit of water.)
Peel ginger and slice into 1/4-inch thick coins. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water and brown sugar. When the syrup just starts to boil, add ginger. Cover pot, turn heat to low and let the syrup simmer on the back burner.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. Take 1 Tbsp of dough and flatten slightly to form a patty. Place a mung bean ball in the center of the dough. Gently work the dough around the bean ball. Pinch dough together to seal. Gently, roll the ball in the palm of your hand, lightly squeezing dough to form a ball shape. Now roll the ball between the palms of your hands just a few times to finish off the shape. (Tip: You don’t want to use this motion the entire time for making the balls. This introduces too much air and will cause the balls to explode when boiling.) Gently drop the ball into the boiling water. Continue rolling the balls.
When the balls float to the top, they are cooked. Use a slotted spoon to scoop and transfer them into the ginger syrup. Continue until all balls are rolled and cooked. If you have any leftover dough, make little dough balls. (I love these!) Once all balls are cooked, simmer in the ginger syrup for another 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix tapioca starch and water to form a gravy and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, water, sugar and salt. Stir to combine. When coconut milk just starts to bubble, add gravy and stir quickly for 2-3 minutes. Once sauce thickens remove from heat. (Tip: Don’t let the coconut milk get too hot before you add the gravy or it will clump. If this happens, you can strain the coconut sauce to remove the lumps.)
Serve this dessert warm topped with coconut sauce and sesame seeds.
Servings: 15 balls