This recipe for Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup (Che Troi Nuoc) is a gooey warm dessert that is truly my favorite sweet treat. The slightly chewy, sticky dough with its mealy bean filling and oh-so-sweet ginger syrup are 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. 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! 🙂
The recipe is really simple thanks to the aid of my rice cooker, a wonderful shortcut tool. A lot of people ask me why I don’t roll all the balls and boil at once instead of doing each one individually. Answer: I love to multitask! Ok, that’s true, but the real answer is this dough is very soft and sticky. If you let the balls sit too long, 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 Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup dessert as much as I do. Enjoy!
Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup (Che Troi Nuoc)
2 cups glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1/3 cup peeled split mung bean (1 cup hydrated beans)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar
1 inch knob fresh ginger
3 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp tapioca starch + 2 Tbsp water
5.6 oz can coconut milk
1/2 can water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Rinse the mung beans several times with water and soak the beans overnight.
In a large bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour and water and knead until a soft dough forms. If the dough isn’t sticking together, add 1 Tbsp water at a time. The dough should be soft and moist and resemble bread dough. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest on the counter while continuing with the next steps.
Rinse and drain the mung beans. Transfer the beans into a rice cooker along with salt. Spread the beans evenly on the bottom of cooker. Add the water. Close the rice cooker lid and set to “Cook”. Once the cooker finishes and switches to the “Keep Warm” mode (approximately 20 minutes), open the lid. Using a paddle spoon, mash the beans until you no longer see the individual beans. The beans should look like mashed potatoes. Add the sugar and combine well. Transfer the mashed beans onto a plate and allow to cool for 10 minutes. It should be warm for this next step. Take 1 teaspoon mashed mung bean and roll between your palms, forming a ball. Continue making balls until all the mung bean is used. (Tip: If your palms become sticky, rinse them with just a bit of water.)
Peel the ginger and slice into 1/4-inch thick coins. In a medium saucepan over Medium heat, combine the water and brown sugar. When the syrup just starts to boil, add the ginger slices. Cover the pot; turn the heat to Low and let the ginger 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 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 the dough together to seal. Gently squeeze between your palms, shaping into a ball. Now roll the ball between your palms to make it round. (Tip: You don’t want to use this motion the entire time for making the balls. This introduces too much air and may cause the balls to explode when boiling.) Gently drop the ball into the boiling water. Continue with these steps, making the remainder of the balls.
When the balls float to the top, they are cooked. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them into saucepan with 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 the balls are cooked, simmer in the ginger syrup for another 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix the tapioca starch and water to form a gravy and set aside. In a small saucepan over Medium heat, combine the coconut milk, water, sugar and salt. Stir to combine. When the coconut milk just starts to bubble, add the gravy and stir quickly for 2-3 minutes. Once the 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.)
To serve, spoon a few sticky rice balls into a dessert bowl along with some ginger syrup. Top with the coconut sauce and roasted sesame seeds.
Enjoy the Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup while warm.
Refrigerate any remaining amounts. Enjoy within 2-3 days. Warm the dessert in the microwave until hot again and enjoy.
Yields: 5 servings