Sweet Rice Balls: A Malaysian Delight

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Sweet Rice Balls, known as “Onde Onde” in Malaysia, are a popular traditional dessert that has captured the hearts of many. These delightful treats are made from glutinous rice flour and are often filled with palm sugar, giving them a sweet and gooey centre. The balls are then rolled in freshly grated coconut, adding a layer of texture and flavour. Onde Onde is a staple in Malaysian cuisine and is often enjoyed during festive occasions and family gatherings.

History and Origin

The origins of Onde Onde can be traced back to Chinese culture, where similar glutinous rice balls are known as “Tang Yuan.” However, the Malaysian version has been adapted to suit local tastes and ingredients. Onde Onde has become an integral part of Malaysian culture, and its popularity has spread to neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Singapore, where it is known by different names.

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Preparation and Variations

The preparation of Onde Onde involves mixing glutinous rice flour with water to form a dough, which is then shaped into small balls. The balls are filled with palm sugar and boiled until they float to the surface, indicating that they are cooked. Finally, the balls are rolled in grated coconut to add a layer of flavour and texture.

There are several variations of Onde Onde in Malaysia, with some versions incorporating pandan leaves for added fragrance and colour. Others may use different fillings, such as red bean paste or sesame seeds. Regardless of the variation, Onde Onde remains a beloved dessert that is enjoyed by people of all ages.

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Significance in Malaysian Culture

Onde Onde holds a special place in Malaysian culture and is often served during festive occasions such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Chinese New Year. The sweet and chewy texture of Onde Onde is believed to symbolize family togetherness and unity. As such, it is often enjoyed in the company of loved ones, making it a dessert that is cherished not only for its taste but also for its cultural significance.


Onde Onde is a delightful dessert that has become an integral part of Malaysian culture. Its sweet and chewy texture, combined with the flavour of palm sugar and grated coconut, makes it a treat that is enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether served during festive occasions or enjoyed as a casual snack, Onde Onde remains a beloved dessert that continues to captivate the hearts of many.


Article curated by Suwaytha Gopal