These doughnuts are a delight of textures - a crispy outer shell surrounding a springy glutinous rice dough, with a delicious sweet mung bean ball at the centre.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (33 votes)

Mung beans can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Mung bean paste is a common filling for sweet treats in South East Asia.


  • 300 g (2 cups) grated palm sugar or raw sugar
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying

Mung bean paste

  • 500 g dried mung beans, washed 3-4 times
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 180 g (1 cup) grated palm sugar or raw sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • 200 g desiccated coconut
  • 4 tbsp grated palm sugar or raw sugar
  • 500 g glutinous rice flour
  • 100 g rice flour


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time: 3 hr

Resting time: 1 hr

1. For the mung bean paste, place the beans and 2 litres water in a large bowl and soak for 3 hours, but no longer. (If they are soaked for too long, they can rot and smell, and may affect the cooking as it will go sour).

2. Once the mung beans have finished soaking, drain, wash once more then steam in a microwave or bamboo steamer for 30 minutes or until the beans are soft enough to mash. Use a potato masher or a blender to process the steamed mung beans into a smooth mash.

3. Place the oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and stir until the colour starts to change and the onion is slightly softened. Add the mung bean paste, palm sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Stir for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, roll into smooth balls, about 1 teaspoon each, and place on a baking paper-lined tray.  

4. Meanwhile, for the dough, place the desiccated coconut, 500 ml (2 cups) water and half the palm sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, then stand for 5 minutes or until the coconut is soft. While the mixture is still hot, transfer to a large bowl, add the rice flours and the remaining palm sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Once it is cool enough to handle, knead the dough for 5-10 minutes or until you’re able to make a ball from the dough. Make sure to squeeze the dough as this brings out the coconut flavours. Once the dough is soft, cover with a damp cloth so it doesn’t dry out. You can freeze the dough at this point and thaw out before using if desired.

5. Working one at a time, roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and press it flat in the palm of your hand. Place a mung bean ball in the centre and mould the dough around it to enclose well. The ball should be about 2-3 cm in diameter. Squeeze the filled ball to remove all the air. If there are any pockets of air inside, the ball will explode when fried. Don’t smooth the surface of the ball. Place onto a tray and repeat with the remaining dough and mung bean balls. Once you have made all the doughnuts, you will notice that the dough softens. Go back and give each one a squeeze to ensure no air has been absorbed. Cover with a damp cloth and allow them to rest for 1 hour.

6. Meanwhile, for the caramel sauce, place the palm sugar and 250 ml (1 cup) water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. When it starts bubbling, remove from the heat and set aside.

7. Pour the vegetable oil into a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan and heat to 180˚C. To test if the oil is hot enough, place one of the doughnuts into the oil and if it begins to bubble then the temperature is right. If the oil is not hot enough, the doughnuts will absorb the oil and get too heavy. Cook the doughnuts in batches for 5-10 minutes, using a wooden spoon to turn them and keep them separate. You know they are cooked when they start to move to the surface and have a nice brown colour. Don’t use any sharp implements because if you damage the external skin of the balls, they will fall apart. Once cooked, remove from the oil and drain on paper towel. 

8. Place the hot doughnuts into a large bowl, drizzle with the caramel sauce and keep turning them until they are covered and the sugar crystallises on the balls. Eat hot or cold. These can last for 24 hours - but don’t refrigerate them as the sticky rice dough and the sugar may harden.


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