Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Ondeh Ondeh: Buah Melaka: Klepon – A Revisit

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There are many kuehs which we grew up eating and enjoying, often not just because they taste good but also the other dimensions of the gastronomic experience that surpass that from just the palate that makes each bite memorable. Like lapis sagu or kueh lapis beras, which can be made more fun by peeling the kueh layer by layer, or in the case of ondeh ondeh, the sheer joy one receives as every one of these sticky and chewy balls explodes with each mouthful to unleash an avalanche of sweet and savory juices from within…

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The ingredients to make ondeh ondeh is pretty standard in traditional kueh making. But be sure to get good quality gula melaka that would melt nicely during the cooking process  for that “gastrorgasmic” experience with each bite. I remember having a good laugh with my friends, on how a famous ST food critic related her wonderful ondeh ondeh experience by being “pleasantly surprised” to find “nuggets of gula melaka” inside, and went on to use that as a yardstick for good ondeh ondeh. Sorry to say but that probably means that the gula melaka used was probably of a more inferior quality and mixed with granulated sugar during its making resulted in unmelted bits during the cooking.

Many folks nowadays using food colouring or storebought concentrated pandan paste for the skin. I still prefer to use natural pandan juice instead. All a matter of personal preference…
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The wrapping bit can be quite tricky, getting the correct ratio of skin to gula melaka. The skin cannot be too thick or by the time the skin has cooked, the gula melaka within hasn’t melted thoroughly. Too much glutinous rice skin would also make the whole kueh taste too “tacky” and “doughy” if you know what I mean. That said, tipping the other side of the scale is also a no no as having too thin a skin may result in disaster during the wrapping with the skin tearing too easily.

In some parts of Malaysia like Melaka, ondeh ondeh are made into tear drops, a result of the pinching off the excess skin from the sealing edge. Locally, we are more accustomed to see them as round balls, not unlike kueh ee.
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I like to pinch out the dough into individually sized portions so that I could get a rough idea of how many pieces of ondeh ondeh I can make that day. The recipe is really a rough guideline and the ingredients ratio only a gauge. The sweet potato used is a major determining factor, with the size, variety, moisture levels all playing a part. Whichever the case, the dough should be pliable or as my folks would say, have the texture and softness of one’s ear lobes before it can be used for wrapping. Now that is a very old school way of kueh making for you, but one that is well trialed and tested…
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The cooked ondeh ondeh balls are then rolled in fresh grated coconut that has been tossed with a pinch of salt and steamed in pandan leaves. They are best enjoyed freshly made and still slightly warm while the aroma from the pandan leaves being still very very apparent. Most of us miss out on such an experience, since the ondeh ondeh from kueh stalls are already well cooled and sometimes even chilled. Try to make it once at home properly, and you would realise what you have been missing out on.
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Don’t forget the cookbook giveaway that is ongoing now until 2nd November. Details in the link below…





One response

  1. Cheah Sew Yen

    The index is nice and lovely

    November 2, 2016 at 11:04 pm

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