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Wajik - Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar and Pandan Leaves

Learn how to prepare wajik (Indonesian sticky rice cakes) with only 4 ingredients: white sticky rice, coconut milk, palm sugar, and pandan leaves. Vegan and gluten-free.

Wajik is a traditional Indonesian snack/cake made with steamed glutinous (sticky) rice and further cooked in palm sugar, coconut milk, and pandan leaves. The cooked rice is then spread and flatted in a baking tray. Once it cools to room temperature, we cut this into small pieces in the shape of a diamond (er, okay, a rhombus or a parallelogram to be geometrically precise). Incidentally, in a card game, the diamond is translated as a wajik. So, you are not supposed to cut your wajik into squares. ♥

Ingredients and the step-by-step guide to prepare wajik (Indonesian sticky rice in palm sugar and pandan leaves).

Ingredients and the step-by-step guide to prepare wajik (Indonesian sticky rice in palm sugar and pandan leaves).

What you need to prepare wajik (Indonesian sticky rice in palm sugar and pandan leaves).

As far as Indonesian snack/dessert/cake recipe goes, wajik is one of the simplest one to prepare. You need only 4 ingredients:

All four ingredients are critical and should not be substituted with anything else. Well, if you must, you can use black sticky rice (black glutinous rice) instead of white sticky rice, but you absolutely need the other three ingredients and these three should not be substituted at all.

Wajik - Indonesian Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar and Pandan Leaves.

Wajik - Indonesian Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar and Pandan Leaves.

A steamer and how to properly steam sticky rice

To make wajik, you will need a steamer to steam the white sticky rice. You can use a bamboo steamer, a stainless steel steamer, or even the steamer basket that comes with your rice cooker if it is large enough to hold the rice. Regardless of choice, here are my tips for successfully steaming sticky rice:

  • Make sure there is enough water in the bottom pot for around one hour of steaming. I would suggest about 2” of water in the bottom pot.
  • Make sure that the water is already boiling and there are plenty of steam visible before steaming the sticky rice.
  • Just to be safe, line your steamer basket with either a clean kitchen towel, or a parchment paper riddled with tiny holes (smaller than the size of sticky rice) before you add the sticky rice. You don’t want the sticky rice to all end up falling down into the bottom pot instead of staying in the steamer basket.
  • Make sure to steam the sticky rice until al dente (soft and tender to bite). I cannot stress this point enough. Since I cannot be sure that we all have the same temperature on our stoves and depending on the size of your steamer (and hence the depth of the rice), steaming time will vary. To test for doneness, grab a tiny spoon of steamed rice and eat it. If you like the texture, then that’s when you should stop steaming. Just for reference, on my 8” stainless steel steamer pot, I need 1 hour of steaming over medium high heat.
Wajik - Indonesian Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar and Pandan Leaves.

Wajik - Indonesian Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar and Pandan Leaves.

How to serve wajik

Like I mention earlier, wajik means diamond, as in the diamond suit in a pack of cards. The cake gets its name from this particular shape, so be sure to cut them into diamonds instead of squares or rectangles. Wajik is always served at room temperature, so although you can refrigerate any leftovers, be sure to take them out from the fridge and only serve them once they have return to room temperature.

Wajik - Indonesian Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar and Pandan Leaves.

Wajik - Indonesian Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar and Pandan Leaves.

Originally published on January 6, 2014. Updated on June 24, 2019 with new photos.

Wajik - Sticky Rice in Palm Sugar and Pandan Leaves


4.9 from 8 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Total Time: 3 hours 15 mins

Serves: 20

Ingredients

  • 400 gram white sticky (glutinous) rice (Indonesian: beras ketan putih), soaked for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • 50 ml hot water
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 200 gram palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa), shaved or chopped to small pieces
  • 3 pandan leaves (Indonesian: daun pandan), knotted
  • Tools
  • 8 inch square (i.e. 20 cm square) baking tray
  • parchment paper, or saran wrap

Instructions

  1. Prepare a steamer over medium high heat with at least 2 inch of water in the bottom pot. Line the steamer basket with kitchen towel/parchment paper riddled with small holes that are smaller than the size of the sticky rice.
  2. Place sticky rice in the steamer basket, and steamfor 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, sprinkle the rice with the 50 ml of hot water. Continue steaming for another 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, boil coconut milk, pam sugar, and pandan leaves in a pot over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stir to make sure that the palm sugar dissolves. Strain, discard the pandan leaves and all the impurities. Return the strained liquid to a large skillet/frying pan.
  4. Once the sticky rice has finished steaming, transfer the rice into the skillet/frying pan containing the palm sugar syrup. Cook on low heat, stir until the liquid is fully absorbed by the rice and is somewhat dry.
  5. Prepare a baking tray lined with parchment paper/saran wrap, then transfer the rice into the tray. Press and flatten the rice with a spatula as best as you can. Let it cool at room temperature, this should take about 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Once it has cooled sufficiently, cover the baking tray with a cutting board. Please use a cutting board that is bigger than the baking tray. Flip the rice onto the cutting board, and cut into small diamond/rhombus/parallelogram shapes.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Ann Ann says:

    Hi Anita, if I want this wajik to be sweeter, can I double the amount of palm sugar? will it affect the consistency of the wajik, meaning will I be still able to cut it into perfect diamonds? Thanks.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Ann, you are welcome to add more palm sugar as needed. It should not affect the consistency at all :)

  • Vikneswaran Vikneswaran says:

    Good morning Anita, I have been doing wajik for few years but I have always seem to have this problem.The glutinous rice becomes hard after being added to the palm sugar mixture,is there any way to make it softer.The method that I have been using is exactly the same as your instruction but I still couldn't figure it out,thank you for helping me

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Vikneswaran, it can mean that the steaming time is not enough, or not enough hot water is sprinkled onto the wajik during the steaming period. My Mom always told me that the steaming time varies depending on the heat, so it is actually better to only stop steaming once the glutinous rice is soft to your liking, and only then proceed to add it to the palm sugar.

  • Ann Ann says:

    Hi Anita, i have 2 queries. 1) If i want to double the recipe, should i double all the given ingredients accordingly and 2) is your wajik the soft type because some of the wajik that i bought from the stalls are rather hard. Sorry i didn't have the time to try your recipe yet but i'm planning to do it in the next few days and your reply will be a tremendous help to me. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks and God bless.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Ann, yes you can double the recipe. As for the texture, it should be not too hard and not too soft (think "al dente" when pasta is done right) :)

  • Gina Gina says:

    Hi Anita, just made your delicious wajik recipe today with great success thanks to my Philippine friend. A couple of minor changes & addition was made so that we could replicate her mother's old recipe. We peeled the skin from a small lime (calamondin) and cut the pieces very fine. This was added to the coconut milk mixture. We used fresh squeezed coconut for the excellent milk. The pandan was also fresh from my garden. We cooked the coconut mixture longer than 10 minutes--more like 15-20, until the bubbles had become small and were uniformly bubbling over the entire surface. Then we removed about 3/4cup liquid from the mixture before adding the rice so that we might be sure it was the correct amount. More can sauce can then be added if necessary, but we didn't need to. Your recipe was wonderful and everyone loved it--thank you!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Gina, glad everyone loves the recipe :) I have never tried adding calamondin into wajik, but it sounds so interesting.

  • Alana Alana says:

    Ok people I love wajik but has never made it Do I cook the rice place in fridge and then go back to the steps

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Alana, you can cool the cooked rice in the fridge once it is placed in a mold (e.g. baking dish, baking tray, cake pan, e.t.c.) as described in step 4. Then, when the wajik is cool, or even cold, gently remove from the mold and cut with a knife. If you oil your knife first before cutting, it won't stick to the wajik. I hope this helps. Ah, wajik is served at room temperature, so if you chill it in the fridge, be sure to return it to room temperature prior to serving.

  • kafeimai kafeimai says:

    Hello Anita. I wish I can fully appreciate you for sharing your knowledge about wajik sticky rice on this post. I prefer to use the bamboo steamer because it does well on my rice and it also keeps the nutrients to a desirable degree. But I would like to ask if the water in the bottom pot will enter the steamer or not? Thanks again,i”ll be expecting your answer soon.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Kafeimei, sorry for the late reply. The water from the bottom pot should not touch the bamboo steamer at all. In fact, irregardless of the kind of steamer you use, always make sure that the water does not reach the steaming basket/pot. I hope this helps.

  • Kafeimai Kafeimai says:

    Thanks for the great recipe, am salivating already.

  • Tammy Tammy says:

    I love your website and I can really use the help to recreate my mother's and other Indonesian delicacies. I hope you will keep up your incredible work!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Aww, thank you so much for your kind words, Tammy. This makes all the time I put into this blog worth it. :)

  • Candice Candice says:

    These are my new favorite snack! I am always craving something sweet when I get home from work, and these are the perfect, carby, tasty, treat. And those pandan leaves infuse such a great flavor!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I love everything that has pandan in it. They have such wonderful fragrance, especially in desserts. :)

  • Tilly Tilly says:

    I'm addicted to this!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Me too. I make this all the time, which annoys my hubby, though he never fails to end up eating most of these! He wants me to make other desserts too. :D

  • Sapana Sapana says:

    This was so tasty and so easy to make!! Love that the rice is cooked in coconut milk. Yum!

  • Irina Karulina Irina Karulina says:

    First, I love your pictures! I would like to get at least one diamond right now. Second, I am in love with this dessert. Cannot wait for a weekend to make it! Thanks for sharing.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thank you, Irina. Have fun with this recipe this weekend. I'm willing to bet you won't be able to stop with only one diamond. ;)

  • Tisha Tisha says:

    This looks like such a great sweet treat for a mid-day snack!

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