How to make easy Ondeh Ondehs with blue pea flowers.
I had a bunch of dried butterfly blue pea flowers that I was eager to use up, so I experimented with Ondeh Ondehs! I made this alongside my easy Pandan Ondeh Ondeh, and it was equally easy. I love the gorgeous blue my Ondeh Ondehs got, with none of that pesky artificial food colouring.
Ondeh Ondeh, also known as Onde Onde, are chewy coconut-covered balls filled with deliciously melted palm sugar caramel! These poppers are such a fun dessert, and super easy to make.
How to Extract Blue Pea Food Colouring
The blue colour comes from Dried Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers. These are used frequently in Southeast Asian cooking, especially for desserts and as fun drinks. They do not have much flavour; except perhaps a mild, floral, very slightly tangy taste.
To extract the blue colouring, simply steep the dried flowers in water. The colour will leach out immediately. The colour is bright blue from the get-go.
If you want a darker shade, you can do this:
- Steep more flowers in lesser water.
- Steep for a long period of time – try overnight!
Gula Melaka (Coconut Palm Sugar)
The one defining flavour in Ondeh Ondeh is good gula melaka! Gula melaka is coconut palm sugar, and is a traditional sugar in Southeast Asia. It is used widely in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Unlike regular sugar, gula melaka is a mellow sweetness that tastes like caramel.
Gula Melaka comes in blocks, but there are readily-ground versions available as well and they will work. If using block gula melaka, you can either shave or crush the gula melaka.
My favourite – and easiest! – method is to simply chop the gula melaka into rough 1/2 cm cubes. This is the only way I like to make my Ondeh Ondeh. Roughly chopping the gula melaka does a couple of things:
- It’s a lot easier to fill the ondeh ondehs when you don’t have sugar bits that can fall off everywhere and make a sticky mess.
- It does not melt completely, so what you get is a sugar syrup, and then boom, you get a nice crunchy bit of gula melaka in the middle. It’s the best surprise ever!
It is best to chop while gula melaka is fresh out of the refrigerator and still cold, as it will melt and become sticky to handle in room temperature after a while.
Do you need Pandan?
Traditional Ondeh Ondeh requires pandan leaves. In this recipe I did not use pandan leaves, and frankly, I did not miss it! Butterfly blue pea flowers do not have much flavour, so the bulk of flavour comes from the gula melaka.
If you want to include pandan flavouring, use pandan essence. Add a couple of drops to the dough and knead in. You can also try adding vanilla essence instead! Vanilla and gula melaka is a great pairing.
More recipes with Blue Pea Food Colouring
More Asian dessert recipes
Blue Pea Ondeh OndehCourse: Recipes
This recipe makes about 8 Ondeh Ondeh balls.
- Blue Pea Water
1-2 tbsps Dried Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers
1 cup warm water
- Coconut Coating
50g Fresh Grated Coconut
Pinch of Salt
- Ondeh Ondeh Dough
100ml Blue Pea Water, plus extra
100g Glutinous Rice Flour, plus extra
100g Gula Melaka, chopped
- Making the Butterfly Blue Pea Water
- Pour warm water to the dried blue pea flowers and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain through to get rid of flowers. Blue pea water is ready for use.
- Preparing the Grated Coconut
- Arrange the grated coconut in a plate. Sprinkle on salt evenly.
- Steam for 2-3 minutes, and remove from steamer to let cool completely.
- Making the Dough
- Combine the flour and blue pea water. Knead until it becomes a dough that does not stick to your hands. Prepare additional glutinous rice flour and blue pea water on the side in case the dough needs a bit extra of either to form a good dough. If it is too crumbly, it needs more liquid. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a sprinkling of flour and continue to knead.
- Tear off a chunk of dough, about a tablespoon worth, or a ping pong ball size. Roll into a ball, and then with your thumb, create a crevice in the middle. Do not flatten it too thin, or it will break when you boil them.
- Fill with gula melaka. Seal the dough. Roll in between hands again to form a round ball again. If there are any cracks, smoothen over by dabbing wet fingers over.
- Cooking the Ondeh Ondeh
- Get a pot of water boiling gently. Lower in the balls and allow to cook. Once the balls float, let it cook for a couple more minutes, before fishing out of the pot.
- Immediately roll balls in the grated coconut, and it will not stick to each other.