Rice Flour Balls in Coconut Sauce (Bua Loy)
By Chai Siriyarn, Marnee Thai
Rice Flour Balls
1 cup glutinous rice flour
1/3 cup mashed, cooked kabocha squash
1 tablespoon coconut cream, skimmed from top of can
1/3 cup water
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons palm sugar, or light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 pandanus leaves, lightly bruised and folded and tied into a knot
1. Combine the glutinous rice flour, mashed kabocha squash and coconut cream in a mixing bowl. Add 1/3 cup water, about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, and knead until the dough is soft enough to work (about 2-3 minutes); add more water if needed, but not so much that the dough sticks to your hands. Roll into several rod-shaped pieces, each about 1/2-inch thick. Pinch off small pieces of dough and use your fingers to roll into lotus seed-sized balls (about 1/2-inch in diameter). Set them aside. Continue until all the dough is used up.
2. Fill a medium pot with water and bring it to a boil over moderate heat. Add the rice flour balls and boil until they float to the surface, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop them in cold water.
3. In another saucepan, combine coconut milk, water, granulated sugar, palm sugar, salt and pandanus leaves. While stirring, bring the liquid to a gentle boil over low heat. Drain the cooked rice flour balls and add to the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Note: This simplified recipe calls for kabocha squash, but in Thailand it’s often made with pandanus juice and taro, which gives the rice flour balls beautiful contrasting green and purple colors. Serve this dessert warm and in small bowls. The name of this dessert is associated with celebrations and good fortune. To Thai people, the marble-sized dumplings resemble the seeds of the lotus, Buddhism’s sacred flower, which is how the sweet got its auspicious Thai name. For extra texture, add sliced young coconut meat when served.