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Yam Balls and Grass Jelly in Palm Sugar Syrup

Taiwan is home to a very famous dessert called taro and sweet potato balls, usually served with grass jelly, red beans, and chilled sweet syrup. It is so famous that there are franchises that specialize just in selling these. In recent years, many of these franchises have opened shops in Indonesia. So, if you want to try making them at home after having a taste at those shops, you can use this recipe to make your own taro and sweet potato balls dessert bowl.

Yam Balls and Grass Jelly in Palm Sugar Syrup
Yam Balls and Grass Jelly in Palm Sugar Syrup

In this recipe, I will just go through step by step to make yam/sweet potato balls, but the method will be the same if you wish to make taro balls. If you want your dessert to be even more festive, you can also include balls made with purple yam! Hm… actually, now that I take a good look at the photos, I think this orange and black color combo works really well for Halloween :)

Yam Balls and Grass Jelly in Palm Sugar Syrup
Yam Balls and Grass Jelly in Palm Sugar Syrup

Yam Balls and Grass Jelly in Palm Sugar Syrup

5.0 from 2 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 8

Print Recipe


  • Yam balls
  • 500 gram yam/sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 100 gram sugar
  • 200-250 gram tapioca starch
  • Palm sugar syrup
  • 100 gram palm sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted (optional)
  • Accompaniment
  • 1 can grass jelly, cut into cubes


  • Yam balls
    1. Steam yam until fork tender, then mashed with sugar until all the sugar has melted and incorporated into the yam.
    2. Add about 200 gram of tapioca starch to the mashed yam, and mix until it becomes dough like consistency. Add more tapioca starch as needed.
    3. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Each portion should be enough for 2 servings. It is best to cook only the portions you wish to consume, so I usually wrap extra portions with saran plastic and store in fridge until needed. (*)
    4. Roll each portion into a thin long log, about 1/2 inch in diameter, then cut into 1/2 inch sections. You can roll each into a ball shape if you wish.
    5. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop the balls into boiling water. Once they float to the surface, the balls are cooked.
    6. Scoop out the balls and place into a pot of cold water to cool them down.
  • Palm sugar syrup
    1. Place all syrup ingredients in a sauce pot, bring to a boil. Stir until all sugar has melted. Strain into a bowl. Cover with a saran wrap and let it cool in the fridge.
  • To serve
    1. Place some cooked yam balls and some grass jelly cubes in a small serving bowl (like rice bowl), top with some palm sugar syrup. You can add some ice cubes if you want.


  • (*) Be sure to consume within 2 days. For longer storage, you may want to freeze them.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Elvira Nguyen Elvira Nguyen says:

    Very good for the eyes, I am sure for the mouth too! You have a very good website. I learned a lot today.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Elvira :) I am happy you like the website.

  • Lan Lan says:

    Can i use corn starch instead of tapioca flour?

    • Anita Anita says:

      I don't think cornstarch will work. If you have sago flour, you can try using that instead.

  • Ella Ella says:

    This recipe reminded me of my favorite dessert that I usually order. The cafe has now closed, so I thought I would try out this recipe. This was my first time trying to cook an Asian dessert, and I was at first afraid it would be too complicated. But wow! I was amazed by how simple and delicious this turned out!!! Exactly how my favorite dessert tastes. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe, I will definitely do it again. Would recommend 100%

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