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Bua Loi – Thai Rice Balls in Warm Coconut Milk

This Thai dessert is unique as it is meant to be served warm whereas Thai desserts are usually served cold. The consistency of the balls are almost powdery and a bit like Japanese desserts.

In Thailand it is usually to have a sweet poached egg that has been cooked in sugar syrup spooned onto the top of each serving, but that’s optional.

Two different versions are presented here, one basic and the another, similar, but using pumpkin in the ingredients to create a vivid orange colour and rich flavour.

Bua Loi - Thai Rice Balls in Warm Coconut Milk
Author:
Cuisine: Thai
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
Basic Version
  • 1 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 10 drops of pandan essence mixed with ½ cup water
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2½ cups coconut cream
  • ¾ cup packed palm sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs (optional)
Pumpkin Version
  • 1½ cups glutinous rice flour
  • 2½ cups coconut milk
  • 10 drops of pandan essence mixed with ½ cup water
  • 1 cup packed palm sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or a bit more)
  • ½ cup jasmine water (add a few drops of jasmine essence to cold water)
  • ½ cup squash or pumpkin
  • a few drops pandan essence
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour with pandan water to make a stiff dough. Knead well and roll the dough into small balls.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Toss in the flour balls and boil until done (they will float to the surface). Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse with cool water, drain and set aside.
  3. To get coconut cream, remove the lid from a can of coconut milk and, without stirring the contents, remove the top cream and discard the thin liquid.
  4. In a large brass wok, mix 2 cups coconut cream with palm sugar. Bring to a boil and add the cooked flour balls. When the mixture returns to a boil again, remove from heat.
  5. For the topping: in a small saucepan, dissolve ½ cup coconut cream with salt. Remove from heat just as it gets hot.
  6. Serve in individual bowls with topping. If serving with poached or boiled egg, add it on top also.
Pumpkin Version
  1. Peel the squash or pumpkin, remove seeds, and slice the flesh into small pieces. Steam this until it cooks, about 15 minutes. Mash, and measure ½ cup.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the rice flour with cooked squash. Add jasmine water and knead until smooth. You might need to add a bit more water. Split the dough in half. Put one half into a separate bowl, and add a few drops of pandan essence to one half. It will turn to a nice green colour.
  3. Roll each batch of dough separately, and shape it all into little marble-sized balls.
  4. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Toss in the flour balls and boil until done (they will float to the surface). Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse with cool water, drain and set aside.
  5. Warm coconut milk over low heat with grated palm sugar and salt. Raise temperature and bring to a low boil. Add cooked bua loi balls, stir gently, remove from heat and serve in individual bowls.

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John Doe
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Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, John is a superior specialist in growing palms and exotic plants.
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