How many of you had home science classes? I know they have replaced it with Kemahiran Hidup (Living Skill) classes which the Education Department somehow deem are more useful to students. In KH, Form 3 (Year 9) students make wooden boxes as their exam project. I'm not sure what these boxes are for. They look like tissue boxes. My son went through 3 years of KH from which his greatest achievement was a wooden box which got stolen which the teacher casually brushed off because everybody will get the same marks as long as they made The Box. I'm sure some good will come out of KH. I'm not seeing it but I just have to trust the educators that making boxes is better than learning to cook. Never mind that the rest of the world is getting back into the kitchen, as evidenced by the countless food programs on TV, not to mention food blogs. Students must make tissue boxes because that will help them survive in the jungle or the desert or when they go to college.
If you went through Home Science like I did, you wouldn't have to make The Box. You'd have made rock buns, sardine sandwiches, curry puffs and ondeh ondeh, classic Malaysian tea time treats in the 70s. I suppose you'll have more success impressing your future MIL with a wooden tissue box than with a spread of teatime goodies. Ah, as the world turns.
Ondeh ondeh is one of those super easy to make glutinous rice balls snacks available in most Asian countries. In China, glutinous rice balls called tang yuen have sesame or red bean paste filling and are served as a sweet soup while chi fa bun are served like Japanese mochis, finger snacks with red bean paste or peanut filling, coated with glu rice flour to prevent sticking to each other, and dangos, which are plain unfilled glu rice balls, roasted over a fire and doused with a sweet soy sauce. Ondeh ondeh are by far the prettiest of them all because rolled in shredded fresh coconut, they look soft and fluffy. Tastewise too, ondeh ondeh are more delicious because there's the flavor of the pandan leaves, gula melaka (a wonderfully-scented brown sugar from palm trees) and fresh coconut. Even if you've eaten ondeh ondeh before, it never fails to give a pleasant surprise at first bite when the liquid gula melaka squirts in your mouth. Ordinary brown sugar is nearly flavorless but gula melaka has an amazing flavor. If it was a French sugar, it'd be ranked as a gourmet item but no worries, we'll keep our gula to ourselves.
This ondeh ondeh recipe is from Zurin and I am posting it specially for my two older kids. Yi said ondeh ondeh are selling at A$3 for 5. I have this great idea. My kids can sell ondeh ondeh at Vic Mart's weekend fair for pocket money. 500 would bring in A$300 per day, 4 times per month makes A$1200. That is nearly RM4000 per month for working once a week. Wait. I think I'll go over and make some pocket money myself.
2 cups glutinous rice flour
150 ml water
5-7 pieces pandan leaves
1/3 cup gula melaka, finely chopped
1 cup fresh coconut, shredded*
* you may have to use Hawaiian coconut if fresh coconut is not available. Hawaiian coconut makes prettier ondeh ondeh but doesn't taste as good as the fresh coconut.
Prep: pound or whizz the pandan leaves into a fine mess. Mix the leaves with the water and massage the mixture well to release the juice. Squeeze into a large glass and strain into a measuring jug to remove any leaf bits. If you don't get 150 ml, top it with water. I've used more pandan leaves to get a stronger color and fragrance but you adjust it because pandan plants vary in their flavor and color.
1. Mix the pandan water with the glu rice flour until it comes together. You may need to add 2-3 tablespoon of water. Don't make the dough too wet or the balls won't hold up and will stick to your plate. If dough is too wet, you can flour your palms.
2. Break off bits of the dough, or roll it into a log and break off from there. Make the ondeh ondeh small so that you can pop it into your mouth without biting into two and risk squirting gula melaka at your new date. Maybe that's not a bad idea. Roll each dough bit into a smooth ball.
3. Get a pot of water boiling.
4. Using your thumb, make a dent in the middle of the ball and spoon about 1/3 teaspoon of gula melaka into the dent. Push the dough together to seal the dent. Roll until smooth. Do not make the dent too big because you don't want to fill it up with lots of sugar (traditionally, a lot of sugar is used but that's not nutritionally correct now). If the dent is big and not fully filled up with sugar, the ondeh ondeh will collapse after it cools.
5. Drop the balls into the boiling water. Use a slotted spoon to move the ondeh ondeh so that they don't stick to each other. When the balls are cooked, they will rise to the surface. Give them another minute or more (they won't disintegrate) so that the gula melaka melts. You should test one to see if the gula has melted. I like to switch the heat off and scoop a few balls out to roll in coconut each time, leaving the rest floating in the water.
6. Roll the balls in the grated coconut to coat. Let cool.