Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Indonesian Glutinous Rice Cakes: Klepon

One of my favourite things about Indonesia is the giant variety of sticky desserts and snacks one will encounter there. They come in an array of tastes, colours and shapes and many of them are traditionally vegan, how great is that? Unfortunately a lot of them are not very easy to make and/or require a lot of work, but the recipe I'm sharing with you today is one of the easiest, so don't be intimidated.


1/4 tsp salt
4 tbl pandan juice
150ml lukewarm water
200gr glutinous rice flour
grated coconut
javanese palm sugar
green food colouring (optional)

1) Combine salt, pandan juice and water in a large bowl. Add food colouring, if using.
2) Sift in the glutinous rice flour. You want to do this bit by bit, don't just dump it all in or you'll be kneading that dough for a looong time.
4) Use a sharp knife to cut the palm sugar into small pieces, I used less than 1/4 tsp per ball.
5) Fill a big pot (with fitting lid) with water and bring to a boil.
6) Take a bit of dough and flatten it in the palm of your hand, place a small piece of cut palm sugar in the middle and form to a small, smooth ball. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
7) Drop a few balls into boiling water and close the lid. They're done once they've floated to the top.
8) Place a generous amount of grated coconut into a large bowl and use a spoon to roll the cooked rice cakes in it until they're evenly coated. The dough can get quite hot so please don't use your hands and let them cool down a bit before you take your first bite. :)


Pandan juice can be bought at most Asian grocery stores, check the the canned goods aisle. You can use pandan extract instead (dissolve 1 tsp into 3 1/2 tbl of water), but I've had bad experiences with them and do not recommend them.
Glutinous rice flour can also be found at most Asian grocery stores, it is also known under the following names: sweet glutinous rice flour, mochiko. It is important for the texture to use glutinous rice flour and not plain rice flour.
Javanese palm sugar. I am not sure how easy it is to track this ingredient down, I haven't had trouble finding it, but I have a feeling this might be one of those things that can be hard to find. Javanese palm sugar is dark brown in colour and has a unique flavour to it, it is used in a lot of traditional cooking and baking and shouldn't be replaced. It is known as Gula Jawa in Indonesia and is usually sold in the shape of small whole or sliced cylinders.

• The dough should be firm and dry, almost a little crumbly. Add more flour if your dough is too wet or more water (one tsp at a time) if your dough is too dry.
• Klepon should be stored in an air tight container in the fridge. They may harden a little but a couple of seconds in the microwave should do the trick.

The money shot:


  1. I don't know anything at all about Indonesian food, but that looks really good.

  2. I am so glad I discovered your blog through the VeganMoFo map. Your posts are beautiful Greetings from Dresden!

  3. bah! Just yesterday I bought some rice flour by now I didn't know what for... Well now I know!
    Thanks for that amazing recipe!

  4. @Tisi: Ha, that's great! Is it glutinous rice flour? There are a lot of great things you can do with normal rice flour, but I think you really need the glutinous kind for this recipe. :)

  5. yup, that's what I wanted to say, and by now I really have no idea why I bought it...
    now there's a reason to find all those other ingridients...

  6. When you write "javanese palm sugar" do you mean Gula Java Brut?
    That would be purchaseable at vegan wonderland :)

  7. @Tisi:

    That one? Should be the same, yes. The price is outrageous though, I almost fell off my chair! :) We pay about 2-3€ per 200gr at the Asian grocery shop, but then again our brand is not organic or fair trade so that explains the price difference.

  8. oooooooh they look amazing and I love the colours.

  9. Oh my god. I love Indonesian food and I am so excited to see the recipes you are posting!!

  10. Can I make them the day before the party and will it taste the same? I like the chewy texture please let me know. ....thx

  11. Can I make them the day before the party and will it taste the same? I like the chewy texture please let me know. ....thx

  12. Hi Nijar,

    if you like the chewy texture I would recommend that you make these on the day of the party. They really taste best fresh, in my opinion! :)

  13. Klepon is very yummi and easy to make.