Sweet Potato Rice Donut Balls

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This recipe idea started from a catch-up lunch with a few of my Cambodian friends who worked near me in the CBD. My friend Shirley bought some Thai sweet potato donuts from Chat Thai and shared them with everyone. They were very delicious and addictive. I just couldn’t stop eating them. Shirley laughed at me as she had the same crush for these donuts. I told her the texture of the donuts were very similar to the Cambodian deep fry balls called Nom Krauch, except it didn’t use sweet potato and Nom Krauch had sweet mung bean filling and was coated by sesame seeds. I challenged myself and was determined to replicate these delicious balls.

I searched for the recipes online, but didn’t seem to find anything that matched what I was looking for. My in-law has Nom Krauch recipe, but that does not use sweet potato. If I could not find anything I will use her recipe and add sweet potatoes and adjust accordingly. However after more searching, I came across a Korean blogger called Holly from Beyond Kimchee blog. Her recipe was the closest to what I was looking for. By adding my small twist to it, I got the balls that I was so addicted to eating.

Holly’s recipe is different to other donut recipes because it uses glutenous rice flour which gives that chewy texture to the balls and not the typical donut texture. Because of my root as a Cambodian, I replaced milk with coconut cream. I know hey, it already sounds exciting. According to Holly, rice flour does not absorb as much oil as wheat flour, another motivation to make these balls. The dough also freezes well, so when I feel like my sweet potato donut fix, I can quickly deep fry them.

Let see if you can recreate this at home and become another addict.

Recipe for Sweet Potato Rice Donut Balls
Made: approximately 40 balls
Time: 20 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
0.5 kg sweet potatoes
2 cups glutenous rice flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour (can omit for gluten free)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup hot coconut cream
oil for frying
Extra sugar for coating (optional)

Process:
1- Cook sweet potatoes with skin on in any method you prefer. I just use microwave according to its instruction. It took me about 8 mins

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2- Halve the cooked potatoes and scoop the flesh out to a bowl. Mash them well

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3- In a large bowl combine all other dry ingredients. (If you have a thermomix, add all in bowl and mix on speed 3 for 5 seconds)

4- Add the mashed potatoes to the rice flour mix and start rubbing them together with your hand. Be extra careful as the potatoes may still be hot. You will soon see them forming fine crumbs. (In thermomix, speed 4 for 5 to 10 seconds then knead for 1 mins)

5- Add half of hot coconut cream first and use spoon to mix them till well combined. Add more coconut cream according to the texture of the dough. You do not want it too wet as it is hard to roll them into ball. The dough should be similar to bread dough. (In thermomix, add warm coconut cream through the lead whole bit at a time and knead for 2 to 3 mins till well combined and get to required consistency)

6- Roll dough into small size balls (smaller than golf balls)

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7- Heat oil but not overly hot. I used low to medium heat and adjust it according to your stove. If the oil is too hot it will burn the outside and the inside is still uncooked

8- Deep fry the balls as needed and freeze the left over. You need to roll the balls around in the hot oil using metal strainer until they become evenly brown and crispy outside

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9- Strain the balls and place them on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil

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10- Place extra sugar in a bowl or plate and coat the balls with sugar (Optional, skip this if you do not like sugar)

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Tips: you can hide a surprise inside the balls. Maybe chocolates, or caramelised shredded coconuts, or sweet mung beans. I have tried it wrapping the dough around a piece of taro coated with sugar and it is quite yummy. Holly’s recipe used cinnamon sugar to coat the balls like the actual donuts. I prefer the taste of raw sugar.

Stir Fry Tofu with Pork and Bean Sprout (Char Taohou)

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This is my sister’s favourite stir fry. It is very simple yet very delicious. I remembered she usually asked mum to make it when she was back home for uni break. Now that she has her own family, she probably feeds them this every week. I cheated a little with this dish as I bought the deep fried tofu in stead of frying them myself at home. This saved me about 10 mins or so but I only did this because the tofu was freshly fried and distributed to the store. How did I know that? Well I befriended the grocery owner ( and also my butcher for the meat) and I could tell the texture of the tofu whether they are fresh or not. If you can’t find already fried tofu, fresh ones are even better, it’s just that you need to fry them first before cooking. The traditional dish also uses chive flowers. I did not have them so I left them out, but there should be plenty at the Asian grocery in Sydney especially Cabramatta.

I hope you give this a go and tell me how you like your tofu.

Recipe for Stir Fry Tofu with Pork and Bean Sprout (Char Taohou)
Serve: 2
Time: 15 mins to 30 mins including preparation time

What you need:
150g bean sprout
150g lean pork fillet sliced thinly
300g fresh firm tofu cut into small rectangles or cubes
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 Cracked black pepper
Olive oil
Chive flowers

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Process:
1- Coat the hot wok or frying pan with some olive oil

2- Pan fry the tofu pieces till golden on every side (I cheated and skipped these two steps because I bought the pre-deep fried tofu). Remove tofu from the pan and set aside

3- Add about a tsp of olive oil and sauté the garlic till golden

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4- Add pork and the seasoning and keep stirring till the pork is cooked

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5- Add bean sprout and tofu and stir till combined. If they look dry add a few table spoons of water as the sprout will also be watery as they are cooked. This should only take two mins or so

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6- Turn off the heat and plate the stir fry, top with chive flowers (if you have) and cracked peppers

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