From The Straits Times    |

RECIPE: How to make sweet and chewy muah chee at home

What does home-made muah chee (glutinous rice balls) have that store-bought ones don’t?

The extra sweet taste of satisfaction that money cannot buy. Plus you can heap on the toppings to your heart’s desire.

It is not that difficult to get results that will put smiles on the faces of those getting this delicious treat from you.

I am not a big fan of dishes involving batter or dough because it’s hard to work out a flour-to-water ratio that produces good results.

But I find muah chee to be a snack in a class of its own that is worth pursuing because it is flavoured with nostalgia.

I found that a suitable ratio is one part glutinous rice flour to 1.4 parts water. Using a one-to-one ratio will leave you with muah chee that is too thick in texture without that chewy stretchiness.


There are two ways you can cook the batter – the traditional method is to steam it. The alternative is to fry it.

Either way, it is not going to be tasty if you skip the shallot oil, which helps turn the otherwise tasteless mass of cooked glutinous flour batter into a smooth glistening ball of goodness.

If you like ground peanuts as a topping, you could do things the old-school way and buy raw ground nuts, fry them, then remove their skins before grinding. But I take the easy way out since you can get unsweetened peanut powder at the supermarket.

It’s hard to find ground black sesame though. You can buy toasted black sesame seeds and pop them into a food processor. Don’t over-grind or the black sesame will turn into a paste. What you want is a powdery texture.

In my childhood days, I used to wonder why muah chee sellers wouldn’t give out forks or chopsticks instead of sad little toothpicks.

But now that I can make my own muah chee, I must admit, when you have to fiddle around with toothpicks, that extra bit of work makes the muah chee seem all the more precious and tasty.



100g glutinous rice flour, sifted
120ml water
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp shallot oil



1. Mix glutinous rice flour, salt and water. Stir into smooth batter.

2. Stir in the shallot oil.

3. Pour in a heat-proof dish and steam for 15 minutes.

4. Place the mixture on plate or tray containing topping of choice.

5. Use a pair of scissors to cut the cooked glutinous rice paste into bite-sized pieces.

6. Roll each piece in the topping until fully coated.


1. Mix glutinous rice flour, salt and water. Stir into smooth batter.

2. Heat the shallot oil in a nonstick pan.

3. Pour in the batter and allow it to cook over medium-low heat. Turn and fry until the batter turns opaque and is cooked through.


10 shallots, sliced
200ml cooking oil


1. Heat the cooking oil in a wok. Fry the shallots over low medium heat until golden brown.

2. Place shallots on kitchen paper to drain excess oil. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

3. Reserve the shallot oil for use.


120g peanut powder

3 tbsp fine sugar


1. Mix the peanut powder and sugar.


120g black sesame seeds

3 tbsp fine sugar


1. Briefly pulse the black sesame seeds in a food processor or grinder.

2. Mix the ground black sesame seeds with sugar.


100g peanut powder

20g ground black sesame seeds

3 tbsp fine sugar


1. Mix the peanut powder, black sesame seeds and sugar.

This recipe was originally published in The New Paper.