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Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls in a bowl with a spoon in it.
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5 from 12 votes

Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls (Chè Trôi Nước)

When you're craving something sweet, these Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls with Ginger Syrup will hit the spot! They're bite-sized parcels of love, perfect for family celebrations or those special in your life.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Flour rising time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 10
Calories: 489kcal
Author: Jeannette

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

For the glutinous rice balls

  • 500 g / 1.1 lb glutinous rice flour (we get it from the local Asian grocery)
  • 2 US cup water

For the mung bean paste

  • 300 g / 0.66 lb mung beans (make sure they are the peeled and split kind)
  • 3 US cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/2 US cup oil

For the ginger syrup and coconut cream

  • 400 g / 0.88 lb palm sugar (we buy it from the local Asian supermarket; to taste)
  • 1 pandan leaf (we buy it from the local Asian supermarket)
  • 30 g / 0.07 lb ginger (lightly pounded)
  • 850 mL / 3.5 US cup water
  • 200 mL / 0.8 US cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • white sesame seeds (for sprinkling on top)

Instructions

Prep the day before

  • Start by making the dough. Mix the flour with the water until well combined, then refrigerate.
    Note: You will need to let it rise overnight or for 30 minutes at a minimum.
  • Pour the mung beans into a large pot and add the water. Bring it to a boil then keep it on a low heat for 30 minutes or until there is no more liquid.
  • Add the salt and stir the mung beans. Let it cool completely.
  • For a smooth filling, use a food processor and process the mung beans.
  • Pour the oil into a pan and add in the processed mung bean. Stir until it sticks together while adding the sugar.
    Optional: Some families add finely sliced spring onion heads to add more flavor.
  • When cool, roll the mung bean paste into balls then refrigerate to firm up.

Cooking on the day

  • Take the dough out of the fridge and knead it once more. If you find it too dry, add 1 tbsp water in at a time while kneading until you have a smooth consistency.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Fill up a large bowl of cold water and place it beside the pot. 
  • Take the dough and roll it into a ball. Flatten with your palms pressed together.
  • Place a mung bean ball in the centre. Pull the dough around the filling and roll in your palms to completely enclose the paste. Give it one final roll to smooth out all the creases.
  • Gently place each ball into the boiling water as you make them. They will be ready when they start to float.
  • Scoop each cooked ball into the cold water bowl.
    Tip: Continually replace the water with cold water to avoid any balls from sticking to each other. They need to be cool to touch.
  • To make the ginger syrup, bring the water, palm sugar and ginger to a boil in a small pot. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Tie the pandan leaf into a knot and put it into a pot with the coconut cream and salt. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat.
  • Lightly toast the sesame seeds.
  • Drain the water out from where the rice balls are sitting and pour the ginger syrup into the drained bowl.
  • When serving, top with some pandan-infused coconut cream and sprinkle on the toasted sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy warm as is!

Notes

  • Add finely sliced spring onions/scallions to the mung bean paste. Heat up some oil and add the spring onions in on low heat. Let it cook for 30 seconds, then save to add into the paste.
  • Enjoy the Glutinous Rice Balls dessert hot or warm. There are many desserts that can be enjoy hot or cold, but this is one that is ideal when fresh or reheated.
  • Get some helpers! The dough requires quick hands and it doesn't hurt to have children or an extra set of hands helping you roll and scoop.
  • We buy the flour from our local Asian supermarket. Keep in mind that this type of flour cannot be substituted for any other type! Doing so will not give you the same results.
  • We used palm sugar for a deeper and richer flavor, but you can use regular white sugar if that's what you have available.
  • Pandan leaves can be found fresh from Asian supermarkets. They often come sold in bundles.

Nutrition

Calories: 489kcal | Carbohydrates: 96g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 553mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 34IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 3mg