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Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup

I looked through my old photos and came across my food photos of a particular dessert which is popular throughout Vietnam. It's called Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup or in Vietnamese - Chè Trôi Nước. It can be unfilled coated with coconut or can be filled which can vary. It can be either red bean paste, mung beans, taro, rock sugar, or black sesame filling. The ones I made a couple of years ago contained an easy peanut butter sesame filling. Yes, it was a strong peanut butter taste, it's quite sweet but I love it!! These dumplings can be served hot or warm. When eaten warm, it's chewy and it bursts out with the filling in your mouth and the warm ginger caramelly syrup just tops off the flavour. It can be topped with sprinkles of toasted sesame and some coconut milk. Very delicious.

sticky rice balls in ginger syrup

Get someone to help you since it is quite hard work if you are making a lot! I used my little sister to help me and in return she had some of my dessert lol. This is going to take you about an hour or so because of the steps --- the rolling of peanut butter filling balls, the making of the glutinous rice flour and coconut milk dough and filling the balls with the filling. And then cooking it. Sounds long but worth it at the end. Oh yeah, you can easily buy glutinous rice balls in ginger syrup (usually with mung bean paste) at Inala or Darra on Saturday morning for about $2 or so. But you only get like 3 big balls with mung bean paste and the rest are small unfilled balls. It's worth the value because think of what the person has to go through making the end product for only $2? :)

Peanut Butter filled Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup
Makes about 20 balls serves about 4 people depending how much they eat :PThis is my version I have alternated to suit me :) and I have made more than 20 balls. You can buy all the ingredients at your local Asian supermarket. You can also find these ingredients in you Coles or Woolworths Asian aisle.
You will need:

Glutinous Rice Balls
  • 4 tbs of crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 tbs of icing sugar
  • 5 tbs of roasted sesame seads
  • 1 pkt/ 400grams of glutinous rice flour
  • 1 can of coconut milk

  • 1 piece of julienne ginger (cut in match sticks)
  • 100 - 150g of brown sugar
  • 1 orange or lemon peel (optional)
  • 4 cups water


steps 1, 2, 3

1. In a bowl mix up peanut butter and icing sugar. Roll in small ball pieces. Use water so the peanut butter won't stick to your hands. After rolling into small balls you then roll it into the toasted sesame until well coated and then chill til firm. This will make it easier for you to handle and won't be sticky. This is the filling for your sticky ball.

2. The next step is to mix the flour with the coconut milk to form a soft dough. Now I never measure the quantities so the consistent should be of play dough. Slowly mix about a 1/3 of the coconut milk gradually into the flour and mix until you get a play dough like consistency. If the dough is not pulling together slightly add more coconut milk until you get a soft dough.

3. Now with the dough, take a little in your hand and roll it into a ball double the size of the peanut filling. Indent it with your thumb. Now place the peanut filling in the centre and pinch to enclose the filling. Then gently roll the ball between your hands until it forms into a ball making sure the filling is enclosed. Repeat with all of the ingredients. If you find that you have a lot dough left over just make it into smaller balls with no filling.

steps 4, 5, 6, 7

4. The next step is to cook the rice calls into boiling water . Drop each on carefully...they will sink to the bottom but then after about 5 minutes the balls should rise and float to the surface. You know this is ready.

5. To prepare the syrup, you just need to boil the ginger, brown sugar and mandarin orange peel together until the sugar is dissolved. Boil it on 4 cups of water.

6. For the syrup, in a pot dissolve water, sugar, ginger and peel until it goes all syrupy.

7. Finally, ladle balls into small bowls with the syrup and serve with toasted sesame seeds and drizzle with coconut milk

Note: to best store is to leave it out never in the fridge because what you would find is that even though you will get a nice cold syrup the balls will harden and it will not taste really good! Store them in an air tight container and consume them in 1 to 2 days.


  1. wow, these are really interesting, especially that you start with peanut butter.

  2. @justin - yeah cause im lazy! traditionally you make it with mung bean paste :P

  3. These are my kid's favourite ! I usually fill it with black sesame paste or white sesame paste or peanut paste or red bean paste or sometimes I make plain glutinous rice balls in ginger syrup.This is a regualr dessert for the Chinese during 过冬 and having rice balls 汤圆 symbolise 团圆 ( reunion )