Klepon is a sweet snack made of glutinous rice flour with palm sugar filling and coated with grated coconut.
These deliciously chewy sweet treats are very popular in Java, Indonesia.
You can find street food sellers who do Klepon in most traditional markets across Java. It’s one of the well-known Jajanan Pasar which means savoury snacks and sweet treats that are sold in traditional markets.
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There are hundreds of foods sold as Jajanan Pasar. Every market in each region of Indonesia has its own traditional snacks and sweets. But some have similarities or are exactly the same.
History of Klepon
Historically, Klepon is an influence of Indonesian Chinese food. It’s an improvisation of Chinese’s mochi.
The difference lies in the filling and the coating.
Mochi in Indonesia has sweet peanut filling and is coated with cornflour.
Whilst Klepon has palm sugar on the inside with grated coconut on the outside.
But the glutinous rice bit has exactly the same texture.
Oh, another thing, Klepon is flavoured with the extract of Suji leaves and Pandan leaves.
Glutinous rice flour
Likewise, you can get rice flour from an Asian shop or online. You only need a little bit of rice flour for the recipe. Just ⅕ portion of glutinous rice flour, that is 50 grams.
Traditionally, Indonesian people use Suji leaf to colour the sweet dishes. And this leaf is almost always paired with a Pandan leaf. Because the two leaves have a similar fragrance that enhances each other.
But to make life easier, I use ready-made Pandan extract that I can buy online. It does the job and makes my Klepon tastes and looks exactly the same as the one I had in Indonesia.
Palm sugar or soft dark brown sugar
In Indonesia, lots of sweet dishes use palm sugar. But here, in the UK, it’s not easy to find it. So I substitute it with soft dark brown sugar.
A little salt in sweet dishes makes the flavour way better.
Slaked lime water
It is basically a Calcium Hydroxide. It is used to help the glutinous rice stay soft and chewy. You only need a tiny bit of Slaked lime. For this recipe, you just mix ⅛ tsp of slaked lime powder (Calcium Hydroxide) with 2 tablespoons of water.
I used a cup and a tablespoon of water for this recipe. I suggest you put the water little by little as you work on the dough. Add more water a teaspoon at a time if your dough is too dry.
Mix and knead well after each addition. Take care not to put too much water.
The original recipe uses freshly grated coconut that steamed before using. But for this recipe, I use dry desiccated coconut.
Honestly, I don’t find any difference whatsoever from the Klepon that I had when I was in Indonesia. In fact, using desiccated coconut makes the Klepon stay fresh longer.
Because freshly grated coconut has moisture that makes the coconut go off very quickly. Even if you steam the coconut beforehand, your Klepon will only last a few days when stored in the fridge/ refrigerator.
How to make Indonesian glutinous rice balls stuffed with sugar and coated with coconut
The first time I made Klepon I was so surprised with how easy and simple it was.
First, you make the dough by mixing all the dry ingredients and then add the slaked lime water and the water. Mix and knead the mixture until you it doesn’t stick on your hand and has a soft-to-touch texture like children playing dough.
Secondly, take one tablespoon of the dough and shape it into a ball. Flatten the dough and put a teaspoon of brown sugar in the centre. Cover the sugar with the edges of the dough and shape the dough back into a ball. This time, a bigger ball.
Thirdly, boil about 1-1.5 litre of water in a cooking pot. When the water boils, put the dough balls in the water. When they float on the water surface, let them cook further for another 2-3 minutes before you take them out.
Fourthly, Roll the cooked Klepon balls on the desiccated coconut. Enjoy.
Top tips to make deliciously chewy Klepon
- Grease your hands with a little oil before working on the dough to make the balls.
- With just a drop of oil, grease a plate to put the ready cooked glutinous rice balls before rolling them on the coconut.
I surely hope you are now interested to try this recipe. If you do, please share what you think about it in the comments below. You can also share the pictures of your creation. It will be awesome and beneficial for others to see.
Last but not least, don’t forget to check my other Jajanan Pasar recipes that you may love.
- Bubur Kacang Hijau – Indonesian mung bean dessert with coconut milk.
- Serabi Kuah – Indonesian pancakes with sugar syrup and coconut milk.
- Kolak Biji Salak – Indonesian sweet potato balls in palm sugar syrup and coconut milk.
- Potato donuts.
Thank you and all the best.