Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweetened Coconut Cream (Bua Loi Fak Thong) Recipe

A pumpkin dessert that is very Thai and very easy to make.

Overhead shot of a bowl of pumpkin glutinous rice balls in coconut milk.

Serious Eats / Leela Punyaratabandhu

Why It Works

  • It's an easy, fun, and tasty way to use up leftover pumpkin purée in a Thai dessert.
  • Use only glutinous rice flour to make the dough.

Am I right in thinking that you have some leftover pumpkin purée lying around that you want to use? Am I right in thinking that after this past weekend, you want to cook as little as possible? If I'm wrong, don't tell me; let me live in the disillusionment of thinking that I know anything about you. But if I'm right, here's another pumpkin dessert that's very Thai and very easy to make.

How easy? Anyone who can make little balls out of playdough can make this. Anyone who can boil liquid can make this also. Knowing how to add sugar to liquid until it tastes sweet enough would definitely help. I would go as far as saying that a young child with these three skills can certainly make this with adult supervision.

So what's the catch? Nothing. The only thing that would completely ruin such an easy dessert is that you use the wrong kind of flour. The only kind of flour that works here is glutinous rice flour, preferably imported from Thailand (I recommend Erawan brand).

Thankfully, it's pretty easy to find. Most Asian grocery stores have it. Otherwise, you can go online. The flour is inexpensive and easy to use; you just have to accept the fact that there is no substitute. None.

The rest is easy. This is a classic Thai dessert that can be enjoyed warm or cold.

November 2012

Recipe Facts

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 3/4 cup cooked pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, more or less to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Place flour in a small mixing bowl. Knead pumpkin purée into it to form a smooth dough. If water is needed, add one teaspoon at a time just until you can form a smooth dough. Working quickly before dough dries out, form dough into smooth 1/3-inch balls and arrange them on a tray, making sure they don't touch each other.

  2. Fill a 4-quart pot with water half way and bring to boil.

  3. Meanwhile, add coconut milk, sugar, and salt to a 2-quart pot and bring it to a boil on another burner; reduce heat so that coconut milk mixture is barely simmering.

  4. Once water is boiling, gently drop all dough balls into it; stirring a couple of times to prevent them from clumping. Once dough balls rise to the top, fish them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to coconut milk pot. Taste for sweetness. Add more sugar, if necessary. Turn off heat. Allow dessert to cool down to slightly higher than room temperature before serving.

Notes

Use nothing but glutinous rice flour (Erawan brand is best). You cannot use regular rice flour, tapioca flour, or anything else.