Purple Sweet Potato Dumpling Balls

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Do you know how it feels like when you somehow have all the ingredients at home to cook an impromptu recipe despite not shopping for 1 week?  Granted, this dumpling balls dessert doesn’t really require a lot of stuff, in fact, most of the items are your everyday pantry stocks.  Glutinous rice flour, pandan leaves, sugar.  Checked, checked, and checked.

I always tell my friends that I like to go without grocery shopping for a stretch,  cook/eat based on what is left in the kitchen, and see how long I can last until a visit to the market is finally required.  I cook with simple recipes anyway, so it is not that hard to do a snack or a meal with the basic items in my kitchen.  It’s a great test of cooking creativity (nevermind my barely there culinary skills) and it’s really healthy to get rid of dated ingredients before starting cooking with fresh ones.  Not to mention saving some money along the way by not throwing forgotten and expired stuff.

The purple sweet potato used in the last minute glutinous rice dumpling balls was meant to be baked into bread.  After some delays, I decided to abort plans to bake and turn to making a dessert instead.  There is no details on the ingredient amount, I never weigh anything, but you’ll know that you are getting there when the ingredients come together to form a really soft dough that doesn’t stick to hands.

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Put mashed steamed sweet potato and glutinous rice flour in a large bowl, you can use any sweet potato here, the purple ones happen to be in season now.

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Slowly add water and stir with a spoon till the ingredients come together into a ball.  At this juncture, I like to use my clean hand to knead-mix the dough to make sure that the sweet potato gets to every part of the dough. I also feel the dough with my hands to judge if  it needs more water.  The wetter the dough, the softer the rice balls will be after boiling.  I don’t fancy hard ones, so I will add more water bit by bit to reach the threshold, just before the dough can’t hold its shape anymore or start making a mess in your hands one more drop of water is added.

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I filled the dumpling balls with Thai palm sugar.  They are sold in round cakes like these in the above photo.  They are actually quite soft to be chopped into pieces for storage, I like that they crumble easily when you pinch a piece off, and yet firm enough to be shaped like a dough.

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And that is my simple dumpling filling, just a small pinch of the Thai palm sugar.

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Shape them into balls of uniform size and cook them in boiling water until they float.

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Serve them hot in a sweet soup made by boiling pandan leaves in water and sweeten with more palm sugar to taste.

*Note: The Thai palm sugar gets melted inside the rice balls after cooking, but will return to its solid form when the rice balls cool down.  I prefer slightly runny filling so I must serve these rice balls hot.  If not eaten immediately, I suggest keeping the shaped rice balls in an airtight container and only boil them before eating.  The dumplings get cooked really fast anyway, less than 5 minutes.

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