Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Balls

Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Balls01

This Chinese dessert reminds me of the western molten cake (aka lava cake), that often make people utter “ooz” and “aah” after cutting or biting open the tiny cute ball. Not only does this sweet treat taste heavenly, but also it has an appealing presentation with its melted filling running down. You can impress your family and friends with this easy-to-make dessert in any occasion.

Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Balls (
Printable recipe)
By Christine’s Recipes
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Yield: 10 to 12

Palm SugarPalm sugar, available at Asian grocers.


  • 200 gm red sweet potato
  • 100 gm glutinous rice flour
  • 10 to 12 cubes (each about fingertip sized) palm sugar
  • desiccated coconut , for coating


  • Steam the sweet potato over medium-high heat in a wok, until it’s softened. If it’s easily poked through with a chopstick or skewer, it’s cooked through. Cut into two halves. Spoon out the sweet potato flesh and place in a large bowl. Let it cool until warm.
  • Mix in the glutinous rice flour and knead into a dough. If it’s too dry, add water bit by bit. If it’s too wet, add a bit of glutinous rice flour.
  • Cut the dough into 10 to 12 equal portions. Wrap a small cube of palm sugar with each dough portion. Knead into a small ball. Repeat this step with the remaining dough.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully place the balls into the pot. (Note: If your pot is not big enough, cook in two batches.) Immediately stir the water, make sure each ball doesn’t stick to the bottom. Cook over medium-high heat, until the balls float onto the surface of water. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Drain out the balls onto a lightly greased plate. Make sure they are not stacked together.
  • Roll each ball with desiccated coconut and coat evenly. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Balls02

  • As every sweet potato contains different amount of water, add some water if the dough is too dry, or vice versa, add some flour if it’s too wet. No matter whether you add water or flour, it has to be added by a small amount at a time.
  • The leftover glutinous rice balls can be kept in an air-tight container in fridge for up to a few days. When needed, remove from the fridge and place in room temperature for about an hour, the balls would return soft.
  • To shorten the cooking time of sweet potato: Peel and cut the sweet potato into small cubes before steaming. Smash the flesh with a large spoon, a potato masher or potato ricer.

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