I shared a dessert called Onde-Onde in the Gilmore Park Community Kitchen. We had a sweet treat day as we have two desserts on the same day. Onde-Onde is a popular street food in South East Asia.


Onde-Onde is very similar to the various Chinese Tang Yuan like Glutinous Rice Ball with Sesame Peanuts Filings, Hong Kong style Tang Yuan and Taiwanese Tang Yuan. The only difference is those Tang Yuan are served in a sweet syrupy soup while Onde-Onde is served dry with shredded coconut coating. It is more like a finger food.


This Onde-Onde recipe is flavoured with pandan leaves. Pandan leaves (also known as screwpine leaves) are used commonly in the South East Asia in making desserts. You can find pandan leaves in the frozen section of some Filipino groceries stores here and even fresh ones from Vancouver Chinatown.

Pandan leaf is used to impart it’s fragrance into the dessert. It is normally discarded after the dish is made like this Sweet Potato Soup. Pandan leaves are also used as a natural green food coloring.


  • 10 pandan leaves
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • few drops of green coloring (optional)
  • 400g glutinous rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of water (more if needed)


  • 100g gula melaka (palm sugar)


  • 150g grated coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt



Source:  The recipe is adapted from Amy Beh at Home.


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Nian Gao (Chinese New Year Cake)

Nian Gao is a traditional Chinese New Year dessert. It is a sticky rice cake which requires long hours (7 hours!) of steaming. It is eaten in Chinese New Year because its pronunciation is a homophone for “a more prosperous year, higher position, grow taller, etc, year after year”. For example, businesses to grow more prosper, working class people to go higher in their career path and for kids to grow taller.

I do have a baked version which takes less than 1 hour to make.


Nian Gao can be kept for a long time. It just need to be re-steamed to regain its soft texture.


For the golden syrup:

  • 300g sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 2 slices lemon

For the Nian Gao:

  • 300g glutinous rice flour
  • 300g sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 4 tablespoons golden syrup
  • banana leaves or parchment papers for lining tins



Continue ReadingNian Gao (Chinese New Year Cake)

Sesame Ball (Zeen Duy)

Cora’s second dish is Sesame Ball (Zeen Duy). Sesame balls can be found in many Chinese bakeries. Chinese believe if you eat sesame balls, your fortunes will expand like the dough expands when it fries.

I like Zeen Duy a lot and remember the days in Malaysia where I always stop and buy some when I see it. In Malaysia, they are usually sold at roadside stores. The ones in Malaysia were huge — like 3 inches in diameter. I miss those stuff a lot. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I have tasted sesame seed balls in Canada, although they are served in some dim sum restaurants.


The Sesame Ball is very light and is practically filled with air on the insides. This is a plain sesame ball but it is also common to have a little bit of fillings of stuff like red bean paste. Anyhow, the plain ones is just as nice because the main flavor of sesame seed is in the crunchiness of the fried sesame seed.


  • 1 package of glutinous rice flour (227g)
  • 2 slabs of brown sugar (peen tong)
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of hot water
  • White sesame seeds for coating
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of sake (Japanese wine); optional



Continue ReadingSesame Ball (Zeen Duy)