Sticky Rice Cakes with Coconut: the popular Chinese recipe

Total time: 25 Min
Difficulty: Low
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Half a cup of desiccated coconut for decoration
Mango chunks, red bean paste or any other filling you want
glutinous rice flour
150 g
cornstarch or plain rice flour
40 g/around 3 tbsp.
powdered sugar or to taste
30 g/around 2 tbsp.
Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp.
Coconut milk
240 ml

These sticky rice cakes, or nuomici as they are called in Chinese, are a popular pastry in Guangdong province and also in Hong Kong. Sometimes they are called coconut mochi or coconut rice balls instead.

Glutinous rice flour is an important ingredient in many types of Chinese pastry, and it gives these little sweets their chewy texture. They can be a bit fiddly to put together, but it’s worth persevering to make some – they’re divine on a hot summer’s day after they’ve been in the fridge for a few hours.


Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large, heatproof bowl, and mix well.

Place the bowl in a steamer, and cover with cling wrap. Bring the water to the boil and continue to steam for 20 minutes. Stir once during the process to guarantee uniform heat all through.

Transfer out into a clean bowl, and stir with chopsticks to help it cool down. Transfer it to a plate with plastic wrap when it is cool enough to handle. Then knead for 3-4 minutes with the help of plastic wrap to stop it sticking to your hands.

Wrap the dough well and fridge until chilled.

When the dough is well chilled, use your thumb and index finger to form a circle around the dough and squeeze a ball out.

Make an indentation in it, and place your filling in, then wrap the dough around it.

Roll the ball in the bowl with desiccated coconut, and place in a cupcake cup.

Repeat until all the dough is used up. Put all of them in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.


Wait until the dough is cooled down totally before wrapping, otherwise it might be quite sticky.

Brushing some water on your hands can reduce the stickiness of the dough as you work with it.

Choose your own fillings – try different kinds of fruit.

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