Sweet Potato Rice Donut Balls


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)

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


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


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)


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


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


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



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.


Sweet and Sour Fish Soup (Samlor Marchu Yuon)

Cambodian family meal mostly consists of jasmine rice and at least two main dishes (one dry and one soup). Dry dishes can be grilled meat or stir fry dish. Today I am cooking one of my favourite soups, Samlor Marchu Yuon. The direct translation is “Vietnamese sour soup”. As the name suggests, this soup originated from Vietnam, but it was modified to suit Cambodia’s produce. There are multiple versions of this soup according to each family. In Sydney, my mum and I had modified it to suit Sydney’s produce. My 18 months old loves eating this soup, in fact it has became our soup dish most weeks as he would only eat these kind of soups recently.

What I love about this soup is that it is so flexible. You can also use chicken in stead of fish or even seafood. In terms of vegetables you can pick and choose from a number of vegetables depending on availability. In Cambodia, the authentic recipe uses young white lotus roots (kror ao chuk). They come in can in Sydney. I had tried it and did not like it because it has lost its sweetness and was very chewy. So my mum and I had experimented a number of vegetables to use for this soup and they work well and I actually like them very much. We also used our home made chicken stock although stored bought one is also ok. In fact, I never used stock in my cooking at all in Cambodia. Only when we moved to Sydney that we learnt how to use stock. I think because back in Cambodia, we normally use whole fish including fish head and the fresh ingredients already make the soup so tasty. So without going on further, lets start cooking and I hope that you enjoy this soup as much as my baby boy Aaron. Please let me know how you go.

Recipe for Sweet and Sour Fish Soup (Samlor Marchu Yuon)
Serving: 2
Time: 15 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
3 cups of chicken stock (if not, water is fine)
1 stalk of lemon grass bruised and/or 1 kaffir lime leave (better to have both)
1 clove of garlic bruised
2 slices of canned ring pineapple or 1/4 fresh pineapple peeled and core
1 medium size tomatoes or 5 cherry tomatoes
1 medium size cucumber
(or any one or combination of these: young white lotus roots, zucchini, winter melon, elephant stem (khdart), celery, bean sprout)
250g fish fillet (white fish or salmon, or even chicken)
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate paste
(from asian grocery, adjust to your preference of sourness. Can also use powder or fresh tamarind if available)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fish sauce (for serving)
A handful of basil or long coriander (culantro or recao) for garnish
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 chilli (optional)

top left to right: tamarind paste, canned pineapple, basil, tomato, cucumber and salmon

Tamarind paste, canned pineapple, basil, tomato, cucumber and salmon

fish sauce

fish sauce

lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves

lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves

1- Put stock or water, lemon grass and kaffir lime and bruised garlic in a cooking pot and bring to the boil


2- Cut the vegetables as in the picture below


3- When the stock is boiled, add cucumber and pineapple, and cook for 5 mins

4- Add in the seasonings: salt, sugar, fish sauce (2 tbsp) and tamarind paste. Taste the soup to see if you are happy with the flavour then add the tomato and the fish. When the soup comes to the boil, turn off the heat and remove pot from hot stove so the fish is not over cooked. Add bean sprout here if you are using them


5- Heat the oil in the frying pan and sauté the garlic till golden. Remove the garlic from oil and into the soup. Discard the oil.

6 – Chop the basil and chilli roughly

7- When serving, add the basil and other garnish on top of the soup. I also add in the fried shallots for crispiness. Put the extra 1 tbsp fish sauce in a small sauce bowl and add chilli in the fish sauce. This is an optional dip for those who want more saltiness and the chilli heat. Serve with steamed jasmine rice. Bon appetite!

The final product

The final product

My dinner tonight

My dinner tonight