Friday, February 01, 2013

pulut serundeng (glutinous rice with spiced grated coconut)

I promised in my last post, to show you one of my favourite dishes which uses serundeng, so here I am, with a treat tempting enough to send your diet to Brokenresolutionville. Mine's already there, head hanging in shame. I thought it could use some company. Pulut serundeng is a favourite tea time treat, breakfast or snack item, especially  in the Malay and Indonesian communities, either one or both of whom we owe thanks to, for this inspired creation. Now that I've painfully twisted my tongue, your brain and possibly, English grammar, let's get to the good stuff.

It's extremely moreish and I've never been able to stop at just one or two soft, chewy, coconut topped mounds. Making it is a bit time consuming, but most of it involves leaving the rice to soak for a few hours. If you have your serundeng ready and waiting to crown the mounds of lightly compressed rice, it's not too much of a bother to put together.

I've inherited my love for pulut from my grandmother who could never resist pulut panggang (baked stuffed glutinous rice rolls) putri salat (kaya topped steamed glutinous rice) or pulut inti (coconut and palm sugar topped steamed glutinous rice). Because she had lost all her teeth long before I was even born (thank you wartime nutrition), she always cooked it very tender, and this has become my preference as well.

When undercooked or cooked without adequate liquid, it tends to be quite firm and springy and I find that as such, it contrasts unpleasantly against rather than complements whatever it is paired with. I do think for pulut serundeng the grains should be very tender and moist so they present a more adherent base for the crumbly serundeng. If you prefer firmer pulut (honestly, I do not recommend it for this recipe) reduce the ratio of rice to water to 1 : 2/3 rather than 1 : 1. But, whatever you do, do not skip soaking the rice, to guarantee that it cooks evenly and perfectly, without annoyingly crunchy grains amidst the fully cooked, tender grains.

No description I could muster, would do justice to how truly delicious pulut serundeng is. Perhaps, the best endorsement I could give is to tell you that I don't really like rice and prefer noodles or bread, but a platter of these delicious treats, can bring me to my knees and make me shamelessly stuff my face. Never mind, how criminally fattening they are. Like I said in my last post, they're a very special treat, for when I've been very, very good. I also make them very, very small, so I don't end up very, very big.

pulut serundeng

prep 8 hrs (includes soaking)     cook 40 mins      makes 24 small pieces

300 g (2 cups) white glutinous rice, washed several times, soaked for 6 hours then thoroughly drained
200 ml (1 cup) thick coconut milk or coconut cream
200 ml (1 cup) water
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
4 pandan leaves, cut into short lengths
Desired amount serundeng (for topping)

Prepare a steamer that will accomodate your steaming tray.

Combine all ingredients except for the serundeng and mix thoroughly but gently so rice grains don't break.

Pour mixture into tray and level the top to ensure all rice grains are submerged in the liquid. When water in steamer boils, put in tray and cover. Steam over high heat for 20 minutes then open cover and turn rice over, top to bottom and vice versa.

Cover and steam for a further 20 minutes or until rice grains are evenly tender and translucent. fTurn off heat and remove from steamer. Discard pandan leaves and cool rice until comfortable enough to handle but still very warm. Do not wait until rice is too cool or it will be harder to shape.

Using gloved hands, form rice into small dome shaped mounds and top each mound generously with serundeng. Gently press on serundeng to help it stick.

Transfer to platter and serve immediately with tea or coffee, for breakfast, afternoon tea or as a snack at any time.


  1. Hi Denise ,
    The pulut serundeng in the second last picture is SPECTACULAR.How can you bear to eat them ?
    There ! I''ve said it, risking life and limb !

    1. Hi Usha :) How? How??! Cos they're freakin delicious, that's how! LOL Don't worry, I keep my axe sharp, but I only swing it at nasty, rude people. You have absolutely nothing to worry about ;)

  2. oh my, are we in the same feeling ? LOL - how come ? I made ketan unti *sweet version, since I still lazy to make your savory version LOL* indeed your recipe kill me now, I must to go to Asian store to get stuff ready otherwise I will suffer more.. and you will take responsibility , Lady ... LOL

    1. Haha! I think so Fitri. How come? Mungkin karena cowok gua orang Minang asli? I like pulut inti too, but must eat pulut serundeng first LOL Actually, the serundeng is not that troublesome to make. Kalau benar benar ngidam, bumbunya siapkan dulu. Bangun tidur, cepat cepat masak, siang udah siap makan! No problem! But, I cannot resist pulut serundeng. If you are dieting or on detox, say bye bye to your diet :P

  3. Well said Denise !'swat I said !!

  4. Wow Denise! I'm sold reading your description! I do not think I am ever going to make the serundeng. Where can I get them?

    1. Hi Chef, sorry but I have only eaten pulut serundeng from shops once or twice in my life, so long ago, I can't remember where it was from. Not so easy to find nowadays, that's why I make my own. You can try Malay kueh or nasi stalls in the Eastern part of the island or around Arab Street, especially around Ramadan or in the mornings, year round, when they sell breakfast items. Better chance of finding it in Geylang Serai, especially at the Ramadan bazaar stalls. Hope this helps. Or, ask your equally talented wife to make it lah!

    2. Oh, sorry I forgot - the same goes for the serundeng itself, try Geylang or Arab Street.

  5. I love pulut too but refrain from preparing it too often less I become big, very, very big. It will be hard for me to stop at one of these tasty bites. :)

    1. Hahaha! Yes, Biren. It's shocking how something so small, can inflate our figures so umm...... exponentially LOL But I tell you, it's worth every single, delicious, devilish calorie :D


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