Nom Plai Ai (glutinous rice balls filled w/palm sugar)
If you are Cambodian and looooove your desserts like I do, then these sweet little suckers need no introduction. They are like…little soft pillows, filled with happiness and joy and then off topped with a little bit of heaven.
You do get what I’m saying, right?!?
For the dough:
1 lb of glutinous rice flour
1 1/2 cups-2 cups of LUKE WARM WATER
A pair of food safe gloves
To make the filling:
8 small pieces of palm sugar (about 4.4 ounces)
2 Tbsp of water
*makes about 28 dime sized balls
shredded unsweetened coconut
some coconut oil or vegetable oil
1. Place your palm sugar into a microwave safe bowl and then add in your water. Cover with saran wrap and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Drain out all excess water and stir until smooth.
2. Let your palm sugar firm up SLIGHTLY (about 2 minutes) and begin to roll them into dime sized balls. Work quickly because as it cools, it becomes more difficult to shape. Place palm sugar balls onto parchment paper and set aside.
3. Pour your glutinous rice flour into a large (very large, if you have it) mixing bowl, and add in 1 1/2 cups of luke warm water. Begin to work the water into the dough until it forms a ball. If you need to, add the rest of the water in and continue to work the dough. Once it starts to come together, continue kneading for about 3 more minutes. When done, cover with saran wrap.
4. Boil a large pot water.
5. Take a small piece of dough and work it into a nice, smooth ball. Use your thumbs and flatten it out and place a piece of palm sugar in the middle. Using your fingers and hands, close and then smooth out the seams. Gently, smooth out the finished balls by using the circular motion as seen in the video, below. Place them on parchment paper until ready to cook.
6. Add your balls into the boiling water (being careful not to overcrowd) and cook them until they float to the top. Place them into a colander to drain slightly. THE FILLING WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT!! Please allow several minutes to pass before consuming!!
7. Roll your glutinous rice balls into some coconut oil (this prevents them from sticking to one another) and then top them off with some shredded coconut. Serve immediately!
As soon as you’ve made your dough, you must use it immediately. The longer it sits out, the more dry the dough will become and then it will be a pain to work with! In the video, I placed the rice balls onto mini cupcake liners but I recommend against this! They still stuck like crazy to the liner and I MAY or MAY HAVE NOT eaten a few cupcake liners in the process because they were THAT GOOD. Maybe if you generously coated them in coconut oil first, they wouldn’t stick as much. Also, it’s good to have some extra rice flour on hand just in case your dough is too wet.