Note: This is an updated recipe to replace on older bua loy recipe that was fussier than it ought to be.
In Thai the word bua means “lotus” and loy means “floating,” so put together the name of this coconut milk dessert translates as “floating lotus.” More specifically the lotus reference is with regards to the seeds since these little sticky rice dumplings are a similar size.
This is a very easy Thai dessert to make, but it can be time-consuming rolling all those tiny balls. Otherwise this kanom Thai (snack) comes together very quickly.
Unlike many sweet coconut soup based Thai sweets, which are served with ice (like tub tim grop), bua loy is typically served warm. Room temperature is also fine.
This sweet is commonly made from a mixture of different dumplings, with common flavourings/colourings including taro, pandan, and kabocha squash. Here I’ve used sweet potato instead of pumpkin because it’s more easily obtained and works just as well. Don’t feel limited by these ingredients, however, as you can make bua loy with fruit and vegetable juices or even just water and some food dye. I’ve also had positive results by adding a drop or two of floral extracts (like jasmine, rose, orange water) to the dough.
Just keep in mind the amount of water or liquid used will vary depending on what vegetables and the amount used you are using to make the dough.
Bua Loy Coconut Milk Dessert
Thai sticky rice dumplings in sweet coconut soup
The amounts provided for the dumplings have a little room for adjustment. If the dough is too stiff add more water a teaspoon at a time until you achieve the right texture of a somewhat stiff but still pliable dough with a sheen. If it's too runny, add sticky rice flour until the dough is sturdier.
Sweet Potato Bua Loy Ingredients
- 50 grams (about ½ cup roughly diced) sweet potato, steamed
- 55 grams (½ cup) sticky rice flour
Pandan Bua Loy Ingredients
- 70 grams (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) sticky rice flour
- ¼ cup pandan water (plus extra, if needed)
Coconut Soup Ingredients
- 250 millilitres (1 cup) coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pandan leaf, knotted
- To make the sweet potato dumplings, mash the steamed sweet potato and add sticky rice flour. Knead until combined into a sandy textured dough. Add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together with a sheen. This is typically 5-6 teaspoons. Roll into small marble sized balls.
- Prepare the pandan bua loy as above by mixing the pandan water with the sticky rice flour. Add more flour if the dough is too thin, or more pandan water if too thick. Roll the dough into marble sized balls.
- Make the coconut milk soup by adding the coconut milk, both kinds of sugar, salt, and knotted pandan leaf to a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. Do not boil. Discard pandan leaf.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and tip in all of the dumplings. Boil for 30 seconds to a minute, or until all of the balls are floating. Strain with a spider or mesh strainer and divvy up amongst some bowls. Pour the warm sweetened coconut milk over and serve.
- Author: Kip Dorrell
- Serves: 2-3
- Cuisine: Thai (Kanom Thai)