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.

My Signature Meatballs (Sui Mai)

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Good evening all! How are we? I am absolutely pumped after two weeks off for a family holidays to Bali and Cambodia. We also took our mothers along with us. We tried to take our parents out to places as much as we could before they get too old to walk. Our fathers were not so keen on Bali, so they missed out. We spent nine nights in Bali Indonesia, one night in Singapore and four nights in Cambodia. The Bali holiday was a relaxing one as we spent most of our time at a luxury resort. Kudos to Pan Pacific Nirwana’s management and staff, the resort was very well maintained and the staff were very friendly and welcoming. The foods were very delicious every where we ate in Bali. However, the Cambodian trip was what left me inspired and energised to love life and my families even more. I was very touched by all my uncles, aunties, cousins and friends who came and visited us and took us around to places despite their busy life and hardship over there. After living in Australia away from all the relatives and friends, I had not felt that connection and care for a long time. I felt so blessed to have them in my life.

Enough about my trip, tonight I am sharing with you a recipe for my signature meatballs. This meatball dish is a fusion of Italian and Cambodian meatballs (Sui Mai). The recipes are made up as I neither know how to cook the authentic Khmer nor Italian meatballs, but the flavour combination is explosive. My family loves it. Each time I made them, I made a lot so that I can distribute some to my in-law and my parents. They can be served with pasta, breads or rice.

There is a secret ingredient which made the meatball special. It is lemon zest. I have tried the recipe without it and I know I can’t go without my zest. And the Cambodian in me tells me to also use coriander in my meatballs and it works a treat. The Italian side of the dish should be the pasta sauce and some other herbs that I also use. So without any more delay, please try the recipe below and let me know if this should be my signature meatballs.

Recipe for my Signature Meatballs (Sui Mai)
Make: 30 meatballs (golf ball size)
Time: 20 mins preparation, 30 mins cooking

What you need:
1kg pork mince
4 onions
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 bunch (about 5 to 6 roots) of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp black peppers
zest of two lemons or limes
2 jars of pasta sauce (2 x 500g)
olive oil

Process:

1- Peel onions and chop them finely

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2- Combine all ingredients and mix well

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3- Coat the frying pan with some oil. If you make a small portion, just use the cooking pot as you will need it later

4- Make balls the size of golf ball or larger and arrange them on the frying pan or pot

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5- Place the frying pan on cooktop on high to sear the meatballs all around. Note that because I made a lot of the balls, I need to do this in a few batches

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6- Transfer the seared balls into a pot, then add the pasta sauce. You can choose any flavour of the sauce you want, or just a pure tomato paste. I love roasted vegetables and garlics

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I used Dolmio because it was on sales

I used Dolmio because it was on sales

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9- Cover the pot with lid and shake the pot slightly so that the sauce mix with the balls without stirring because stirring it can break the balls. Continue cooking on medium heat for another 10 to 15 mis depending on the amount of meatball made

10- Serve with rice or pasta or baguette

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Tips: If you don’t have coriander at home, I have used other dried herbs such as rosemary, basil and thymes. They all worked well. This can also be used to make burger patty.

Stir Fry Beanette Beans with Minced Pork and Dried Shrimps (Char Sandek Barang)

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My apology that I have not posted in the last few weeks. I have been busy planning our family holiday to Bali and Cambodia. Although when I am back, I will also be busy with study as the semester would already start. I will try to post twice a month if everyone in the family are healthy as winter hasn’t been too kind since becoming a mum. Only when I started this blog that I realised how much work bloggers have spent on the contents of their blogs. I now read blogs with respect. Anyway, the holidays are all booked and tours are organised. I am very excited and look forward to seeing some friends and families in Cambodia. Only three more sleeps to go! My older son Eric has counted down daily since 6 weeks ago.

For tonight dinner I am making stir fry beanette beans with minced pork and dried srimps. I like beans whether they are snake beans, sweet peas or beanettes. I find it quite fascinating how some flavour combinations work together. Sweet peas for example go very well with seafood such as prawns or squids while beanettes go very well with minced pork. Beanettes are called Sandek Barang in Khmer (French beans). Anything with the word french attached to it is considered more valuable and therefore more expensive in Cambodia. Potato is one example. The normal potatoes we have here in Australia are called French potatoes in Khmer and they are more expensive than sweet or other types of potatoes. For this reason, we often used more snake beans in Cambodia. In Sydney, it is the opposite, beanettes are cheaper and available all year round.

My love for this dish started from one lunch at Din Tai Fung. They have this dish on the menu although they use snake beans and it was so delicious. I then tried to modify it at home using beanettes and add dried shrimps for more saltiness and textures. It was beautiful and has became our regular dish.

Recipe for Stir Fry Beanettes Beans with Minced Pork and Dried Shrimps (Char Sandek Barang)
Serve: 2
Time: 15 to 20 mins including preparation

What you need:
100g beanettes
150g minced pork
1 tbsp dried shrimps (optional). They can be found at most Chinese grocery
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 sugar
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil

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Process:
1- Wash and cut beans into small pieces (cut into 2 or three depending on bean’s length). Wash dried shrimps with water (it may not be necessary, but I was taught to do so)

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2- Heat wok or frying pan on high and add oil and garlic. Saute garlic till golden

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3- Add minced pork and use the wooden spatula or spoon to break the mince to evenly small pieces. Add the seasoning and keep stirring till the mince become golden

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4- Add dried shrimps

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5 – Add beans and stir for another 2 mins till the beans are slightly cooked but still firm and the colour are still bright green (or if you like your beans softer, cook for a min or so longer). Turn off the heat

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6- Serve with steam rice

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Tips: adjust seasoning according to your taste. Can use soy sauce and reduce salt. I have done it before and it works fine.