They said that food is both a friend and enemy of stress. This is so true especially when it comes to desserts. It’s an enemy because, well you know, desserts are loaded with calories so it’s going to make you blow up like a balloon (unless you have it in moderation which is doubtful when you are under stress). I’m feeling a bit stress out lately and I find that cooking especially making Cambodian desserts helps ease my mind and turn my focus on my dishes. Many Cambodian dessert requires a lot of patience and attention to detail such as this Sweet Lil’ Rice Dumplings នុំផ្លែអាយ made with glutinous rice flour stuffed with luscious sweet palm sugar and topped with shredded coconut Mmmmmmmm. 😛 It’s another one of my favorite Cambodian dessert.
There’s a funny story behind this dessert and it’s nickname. My first time experiencing this dessert was at an Asian Market. I didn’t know what they were called then and I had a hard time describing it to my Mother. She told me that it’s also refer to as “Num somlap pdey នុំសម្លាប់ប្តី” which translate to “dessert that kills your husband”. How could a delicious dessert turns into a murder weapon? I later found out that because glutinous rice flour has this soft, smooth, and chewy texture it can sometime be a choking hazardous if not eaten carefully. In addition, because there are palm sugar nested inside it might still be hot when you bite into it. Assuming that the husband doesn’t realize this he might swallow one without giving much thought. Next thing you know…? Well you can play with your imaginations. LOL 😀 So all, please be carefully when enjoying these sweet lil’ dumplings. It might not be suitable for small children or elders with dentures. If serving to your significant others, you might want to let them know what’s inside.
makes about 35 balls
¾ cup shaved palm sugar (If they come in blocks, use your knife to shave it off)
1 ½ cup glutinous rice flour
½ cup hot/warm water
1 pkg shredded coconut
1 tablespoon sesame seed
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch off pieces of palm sugar and roll them into small balls about the size of a dime. Once done transfer it to the freezer so that they say nice, firm and round (figure 1).
In a mixing bowl add rice flour and make a well in the center and gradually pour in the water, drawing in the flour from the sides. Begin kneading to form a dough. You should not use more than ½ cup of water otherwise the dough will get too sticky to handle and you will end up adding more flour. The heat and pressure from your hands will help warm the dough so that it’s easier to knead. Separate them and form a sausage-like roll. Make equal size marking (figure 2).
Remove palm sugar balls from freezer.
Roll the divided dough into a ball and then flatten it into a circle (you will want to make the same number of rice flour circles as there are sugar balls). Place a ball of palm sugar in the center and seal it by pinching and rolling the dough to smooth the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough and palm sugar balls (figure 3).
Once the balls are made bring 8 cups of water to a boil and drop in the filled dumplings and cook for a few minutes, until they rise to the surface. Once cooked, drain the dumplings on paper towel or a colander. They tend to stick to paper towels sometimes.
Lightly toast the sesame seeds on medium heat. DO NOT STEP AWAY from it. Toss or shake them so they toast evenly until light brown and crisp. Transfer it to a mortal & pestle and pound briefly to release their flavor. Mix the sesame seeds with the salt.
Now it’s time to plate it up. Arrange dumplings on a plate and sprinkle with the sesame-seed mixture topped with shredded coconut. Serve immediately.