Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cooking with Ibu Trish: Kelepon

Nicole suggested posting a Kelepon recipe for those who wish to experience the phenomenon themselves, so, go crazy, folks! These are easy to make and really only require one unusual ingredient, glutinous rice flour, which you should be able to get at any Asian store. While you're there, look around for a lump of dark-brown Javanese palm sugar. It's often about the size and shape of a hockey puck. You can substitute brown sugar, but palm sugar has more flavor.

If you really want to get authentic, you can look for pandan flavoring. That's what makes them green. I never found it in Bloomington, despite some good Asian stores that catered to the fairly large Indonesian student population.

These will turn out to be quite similar to the ones you can get right here in the BenHil market ... which is not always the case with Indonesian food you cook at home.

Picture: a kelepon smiley-face, stolen from somebody's website somewhere

Sweet Coconut Rice Balls

1½ cups glutinous rice flour
¾ cup lukewarm water
2-3 drops green food coloring or pandan essence (or just skip it. I don't see the point of food coloring.)
8 tsp. grated palm sugar or regular brown sugar
1 cup fresh-grated or dried coconut, mixed with ½ tsp. salt

Mix the rice powder with the lukewarm water and green food coloring into a firm but flexible dough.
Pull off one full teaspoon of the dough and shape it into a ball approximately 1-inch in diameter.
Push a finger into the center of the ball to make a hole, and put in approximately ½ tsp. of the grated sugar. Seal, and roll it back into the ball shape with the palms of your hands. Prepare all the balls and set them aside.

Prepare a pot half filled with water and bring it to a boil.
Drop the balls into the boiling water. Remove the balls with a spoon once they float to the water surface and then roll the balls in the grated coconut.

Serve at room temperature. Makes 30 rice balls.

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