In Indonesia, there are desserts made with all sorts of different things that you eat with palm sugar syrup and coconut milk. This type of sweets is called Kolak.
Some popular ones are Kolak Pisang (Pisang means banana), Kolak Ubi (Ubi means sweet potato), and Kolak Biji Salak which is sweet potato balls.
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Now, the latter can be tricky to explain. Because Biji Salak literally means Salak’s seed.
Salak – which is also known as snake fruit due to its scaly skin – is the fruit from palm tree family and is native to some of the Indonesian regions. It has brown scaly skin with beige fruit flesh inside that shaped in lobes like garlic. And each lobe has a large brown seed that looks like a stone. It is from this seed that Kolak Biji Salak’s name comes from 😊.
So yeah, although it may sound like a merry-go-round for me to explain, I hope you understand what and why the recipe I’m sharing with you here has a funny name.
Traditionally, Indonesians enjoy Kolak more than ever during the fasting month, Ramadan. After a long day of fasting, people would break their fast with something sweet. And Kolak is one of the many popular options.
However, Kolak is also liked for an afternoon snack that people enjoy with a cup of freshly brewed Indonesian coffee. Ahh, it reminds of my dad now.
Anyway, I chose to share Kolak Biji Salak recipe this time around. Because, not only it is my favourite Kolak (pardon my selfishness 😄), but also it is something definitely new to many people. So I want to challenge your tastebud for a new food adventure. I promise I will share more recipes of Kolak in the future.
The ingredients you need
There are a few types of sweet potatoes. This recipe uses the most common type which is sweet potato with orangey flesh.
This one is one principal ingredient of the recipe. Tapioca flour is made of Cassava starch, and it is slightly different from its cousin, Cassava flour. Because cassava flour is made of the whole root of cassava that it has more fibre.
I’ve never replaced this tapioca flour with any other type of grain flour. Healthline website suggests that you can substitute tapioca flour with another 6 types of flour. You can check their article here.
The original recipe uses palm sugar. But you can substitute with dark muscovado sugar or dark soft brown sugar.
In Indonesia, people would make their own coconut milk from freshly grated coconut. You can do the same if you want 😉. But for practicality, let’s just use tinned coconut milk. Just make sure you choose a good quality one.
Pandan leaf gives your Kolak Biji Salak a tropical fragrance. So that it will smell authentic. However, don’t worry if you can’t get hold of this aromatic leaf. You can still enjoy your Kolak by using good quality Vanilla extract or even Vanilla seeds from the pod.
Last but not least, you need salt in this recipe. A pinch of salt in your sweet dishes and desserts can actually enhance the flavour and make your cooking taste way better.
How to make Kolak Biji Salak
As I mentioned above, Kolak is the name that refers to Indonesian desserts that have sugar syrup and coconut milk. And the dominant part of this recipe is Biji Salak which is sweet potato balls. So they are two things to focus on this syrupy dish.
The sweet potato balls will have a sweetish taste (from the sweet potato) with a slightly chewy texture. The aim is to get the right chewiness.
Because some recipes use a higher ratio of tapioca flour that they yield very chewy potato balls that they’re almost like rubber.
This happens because people tend to add more flour to make things easy for them to work on the dough. Because the sweet potato may release lots of water that makes your mixture a bit wet and difficult to shape.
Steam the sweet potatoes
You can boil the potatoes, but I find them too wet to work on as they contain more water in the flesh. So I prefer to steam the sweet potatoes. Top tip: cook steam the sweet potatoes with the skin on and let them completely cool down before you peel and start making your Biji Salak.
Make the dough balls
When your sweet potatoes are cooled down, mash them until there is no lump at all. Then add in the salt and the tapioca flour, and mix them thoroughly.
If the mixture is too wet, you can add more one or two tablespoons of tapioca flour. Add in little by little and try not to add more than two tablespoons.
Shape the dough into balls, and cook them in hot boiling water. When they are floating on the surface, it means they’re thoroughly boiled and ready to spoon out.
Boil the sugar syrup and coconut milk
In a saucepan, you boil and simmer the sugar, salt, pandan leaf and water until they become a thick syrup. In another pan, you cook the coconut milk, salt and pandan leaf until the coconut milk looks shiny and has a little bit of oil that separates from the coconut milk.
Assemble Kolak Biji Salak
This is the fun part.
Put some or however many of your cooked sweet potato balls in a bowl. Spoon over some sugar syrup and drizzle over the coconut milk. And enjoy 😃.
Thank you for reading the recipe. I hope you’re now wanting to give it a try. If you do, let me know how you think about your Kolak Biji Salak in the comments below. I also appreciate if you could share and pin the post.
Before you go, don’t forget to check my other recipes that you may equally love.
- Kue Putri Salju – Indonesian Snow White Butter Cookies.
- Chocolate mousse pudding with Aquafaba and no gelatin.
- Agar-agar milk pudding with condensed milk and raspberry.
- Bubur Kacang Hijau – Indonesian mung bean dessert with coconut milk.
- Crispy and fluffy potato donuts.
- Coconut and date cookies.
Thank you and all the best.