Sticky rice balls

March 30, 2012  •  Category:


There is a substantial workforce  of Filipinos in Lebanon; due to their presence, stores have popped up with a selection of Filipino products.

I love the Filipino ladies that I have encountered in Lebanon and learned a bit  about their culture as well. 

These rice balls are a twist on a traditional Filipino dessert, palitaw, consisting  of  sticky rice pancakes boiled and topped with coconut, sugar and toasted sesame seeds (served on a banana leaf, I am told). 

Don’t be afraid of working with sticky rice flour; it is extremely easy to form these balls. Just place a mound of flour in a mixing bowl, add enough water to get a dough (similar to play-dough) and you are done; (you can also add some sugar or coconut to the dough itself).

These balls are filled with a small sugar cube or a chocolate chip (I used white chocolate). The balls cook in just minutes in simmering water and are then dipped in shredded coconut. 

INGREDIENTS: Makes about 18

  • 1 cup of sticky rice flour (at Asian stores)
  • 3/4 cup of water (can replace with coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup of small sugar cubes or chocolate chips 
  • 3/4 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 drops of food color (per color desired) (optional)
  1. Place the sticky rice flour in the bowl of a mixer; add the water gradually, mixing continuously, until a firm dough forms. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour and if it is too stiff, add a bit more water but do so gradually, one tablespoon at a time. If you want to color the balls, drop a few drops of food color in the dough and mix until the color is even throughout. Form the dough into even-sized balls and fill each ball with a small sugar cube or a few chocolate chips. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  2. Bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer and drop the cake balls, only a few at a time. Cook until the balls rise up to the surface and remove with a spoon and drop in a bucket of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and dip into the shredded coconut and serve. 
Recipe adapted from


14 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    They look so cute and festive! Perfect for Easter. A delightful treat.



  2. Chiara says:

    A wonderful treat , perfect for Easter, thank you Joumana! have a good weekend…

  3. Jeannie says:

    Wow! Your sticky rice balls look so pretty, we have something like this here too where we add palm sugar as the filling, delicious!

  4. Belinda @zomppa says:

    These are so colorful and delightful! Reason enough to smile.

  5. Asmita says:

    These look so cute and the best part is that they are so simple to make. Love it.

  6. Lyndsey says:

    These look great for Easter or spring, love the colors! I have used sticky rice flour before and want to use it again. I will try this soon.

  7. Tobias says:

    Your sticky rice balls look just too adorable! Great choice of colours you have used! In my go-to Asian grocery store, they sell something similar filled with sort of a sweet peanut butter filling. Those are Vietnamese, though and alas, I don’t know what they are called. I knew about these, Japanese mochi and now about a Filipino variation. Thank you for that. 🙂


  8. Banana Wonder says:

    How beautiful! Where did you get those mati toothpicks? I want!

    • Joumana says:

      @Banana Wonder: In Beirut at a store called Orient 499. They have a lot of beautiful things, overpriced, and these were in my price range!

  9. Cheah says:

    These sticky rice balls look so cute and inviting. We have something like this here in Malaysia, prepared with a different filling, like palm sugar or red bean paste.

  10. Oui, Chef says:

    WOW…aren’t these colorful. They look like little fuzzy easter eggs!

  11. Magic of Spice says:

    These are just adorable! I don’t think I have ever tried these before, but they look like spring 🙂

  12. Laila says:

    I made those very cute balls , they are really easy and fun to make. I am a bug fan of coconut milk. The first bite took me all the way to Bangkok.

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