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Authentic Purple Sweet Potato Klepon (Indonesian Sweet Rice Ball)

purple sweet potato klepon, plated
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Klepon : An Indonesian Tea Time Treat!

Continuing our ethnic food series, I’m incredibly excited to show you how to make these delectable purple sweet potato klepon, aka Indonesian sweet rice balls. This recipe has long been in the making, and I hope you enjoy this easy version of my favorite childhood snack just as much as you loved my Balinese Pie Susu recipe!

Traditionally, klepon (pronounced “klē-pon“) is an Indonesian tea-time snack or dessert that is made with glutinous rice flour, tapioca or sweet potato, coated with freshly grated coconut and and filled with warm gula melaka (coconut palm sugar). In some ways, these klepon reminds me of the Japanese mochi, but with a tropical twist. Yum!

All I can say is that these traditional Indonesian klepon make a delightful treat for any occasion!

Ingredients to Make Purple Sweet Potato Klepon (Indonesian Sweet Rice Ball)

Dough

Gula Melaka Filling

Coating

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What If I Don’t Have Certain Ingredients?

– Gula Melaka: coconut palm sugar blocks can be found in many Asian and ethnic supermarkets. the delicate flavor profile really does wonders for the recipe as a whole, but I have found that substituting with coconut sugar or brown sugar will also work in a pinch!

Freshly grated coconut: while traditional klepon is typically coated in freshly grated coconut, I’ve unfortunately had a hard luck finding that here in the U.S., especially in the Midwest. But no worries – desiccated coconut can work too!

Purple sweet potato: I recognize that purple sweet potatoes are not as common here in the States, and are often more expensive. So if you’re not after the beautiful purple hue, regular sweet potatoes or yams will work just as well!

How to Make Purple Sweet Potato Klepon (Indonesian Sweet Rice Ball)

  1. Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Steam until cooked and soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer sweet potatoes to a mixing bowl. Mash until smooth, then add in glutinous rice flour, salt, vanilla extract, and water. Mix until combined and dough is pliable. If your dough is too sticky, add in a bit more glutinous rice flour and mix until you have a “rollable” dough.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, pinch off about 1 tbsp of the dough and roll into a ball. It should be approximately 1 inch in diameter.
  4. Make a hole in the middle of the ball. Place ⅓ tsp of palm sugar into the hole, then close the dough around the sugar filling. When the sugar is nicely tucked inside, roll the ball again in your palms until a smooth ball is formed. Repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Slowly place the dough balls in the pot of boiling water. Do not overcrowd. Meanwhile, place the desiccated coconut in a separate plate or bowl. When the balls float to surface, strain and set aside.
  6. Roll the dough balls on a plate of freshly grated coconut until coated. Serve immediately. ENJOY!

About the Method: Why Boiling?

Traditional klepon uses palm sugar blocks, which are initially hard chunks when inserted into dough balls. When boiled, however, the palm sugar melts beautifully inside the balls, creating the iconic warm burst of liquid sweetness inside these treats.

After boiling, the balls also become more sticky. This helps the freshly grated coconut to stick better to these klepon, which adds another depth of flavor!

That being said, klepon is best eaten fresh, but will keep in a container for up to 2 days. Do not refrigerate klepon, as texture will harden.

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purple sweet potato klepon, plated

Authentic Purple Sweet Potato Klepon (Indonesian Sweet Rice Balls)

DWELL by Michelle
Indonesian sweet rice balls made with purple sweet potato and glutinous rice flour, filled with warm coconut palm sugar and coated in freshly grated coconut. These traditional Indonesian klepon make a delightful treat for any occasion!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 244 kcal

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 275 g purple sweet potatoes
  • ¾ cups glutinous rice flour (approximately 150g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp water , or coconut milk

Gula Melaka Filling

  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar , or brown sugar (*see notes)

Coating

  • ½ cup freshly grated coconut , or desiccated coconut

Instructions
 

  • Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Steam until cooked and soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer sweet potatoes to a mixing bowl. Mash until smooth, then add in glutinous rice flour, salt, vanilla extract, and water. Mix until combined and dough is pliable. If your dough is too sticky, add in a bit more glutinous rice flour and mix until you have a "rollable" dough.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, pinch off about 1 tbsp of the dough and roll into a ball. It should be approximately 1 inch in diameter.
  • Make a hole in the middle of the ball. Place ⅓ tsp of palm sugar into the hole, then close the dough around the sugar filling. When the sugar is nicely tucked inside, roll the ball again in your palms until a smooth ball is formed. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Slowly place the dough balls in the pot of boiling water. Do not overcrowd. Meanwhile, place the desiccated coconut in a separate plate or bowl. When the balls float to surface, strain and set aside.
  • Roll the dough balls on a plate of freshly grated coconut until coated. Serve immediately. ENJOY!

Notes

* Coconut palm sugar can be found in many Asian and ethnic supermarkets.
* These klepon are best eaten fresh, but will keep in a container for up to 2 days. Do not refrigerate klepon, as texture will harden.
Keyword dairy-free, Gluten-Free, gluten-free treats, klepon, onde-onde, purple sweet potato, rice flour, vegan, vegan treats, vegetarian

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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    made this on my day off yesterday and it came out literally so perfect. My mom is Indonesian and I’ve been missing these most since we moved back to New Jersey. I used 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 water and it turned out fantastic

  2. 5 stars
    wow i missed these so much from my trip to INdo. this was fantastic. a bit time consuming but so worth it. very good.