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.

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Cambodian Banana Pudding with Toasted Mung Beans (Chek Khtis)

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Last weekend my mother in law gave me a tier of Cambodian banana, called Namvar. She has a lot of banana trees at her backyard which give plenty of fruits through out the year. There are many types of bananas in Cambodia. I am most familiar with two types: green long one called Chek Ombong (similar to the common yellow ones found in Australia, but not as starchy and much sweeter) and the sweet short fat ones called Chek Namvar.

Chek Namva

Chek Namva

Namvar is very popuar one and is used in many Cambodian desserts. I love to eat them as fresh fruits like the Australian bananas, but because we have so much of them and they are getting very ripe and sweet, I thought I made banana pudding with coconut cream, tapioca pearls or sago and toasted mung beans. There are multiple versions of this dessert, some do not use mung beans but my mum always used the beans and I love the toasty nutty flavour they give to the dessert. I have not tried using the Australian banana, but I do not see why it cannot be used. The cooking time depends on how ripe the banana is, but it should be a very quick dessert. My kids love this dessert (they are my biggest fans especially Aaron). It can be served as it is or on top sticky rice.

I hope you enjoy making and eating the dessert and drop me a line to see how you go.

Recipe for Cambodian Banana Pudding with Toasted Mung Beans (Chek Khtis)
Serve: 4 to 6
Time: 5 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
100g or 1/3 cup mung beans (these beans have been halved with skin removed. You can leave this out, if you do not have them, but highly recommend from me)
1/4 cup tapioca pearls or sago
400g or 6 small ripe bananas
200ml coconut cream
2 1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp sugar ( or 6 if you like your dessert very sweet)

Optional topping
200ml coconut cream
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

key ingredients

key ingredients

Process
1- Boil the water in a cooking pot

2- Heat up the frying pan on medium heat

3- Start peeling the skin off the bananas

4- Toast the beans in the hot frying pan and keep stirring till golden and you can smell the toasty fragrance (not burn). This should take about 2 to 3 mins

toast mung beans

toast mung beans

after a few mins, when they  become golden

after a few mins, when they become golden

5- Pour the toasted beans into the cooking pot with the water and cook for about 5 mins on medium heat till the beans are almost tender. Please do not walk away because if the heat is too high, the boiling water may spill from the pot. (Note if you do not use mung beans you can skip step 4 and 5)

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6- While the beans are cooking cut the banana diagonally into small pieces as below

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7- When the beans are almost tender (after step 5) Add sugar and salt and stir well

8- Add bananas and cook for another 3 mins or so depending on how ripe the banana is. You want the banana to cook through

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9- Add 200ml of coconut cream and stir well and then add the tapioca and stir again

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10- When the mixture just came to the boil, turn the heat off. The tapioca will continue to cook till they become clear. This should take a few mins

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The dessert is ready to be served as it is, but I like to add salty coconut milk on top of my dessert. If you want to try, follow the next step

11- add the extra 200ml coconut cream to a clean cooking pot and cook it in medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp of salt and 1tbsp of sugar and stir till it has little bubble and then turn the heat off

12- To serve, spoon the banana pudding into a small dessert bowl and top it with the salty coconut cream…. I am going to eat mine now. Bon appetite!

Tip: if you serve this on top of sticky rice, add more sugar to the pudding. Double the trouble I know.

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