Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is Muar Chi alias to Botamochi and Gyung Dan?

We didn't know that this simple glutinous rice balls dessert has a string of aliases attached to its name until after it was served to our dinner guests, last night. We learnt from our guests that it is called ohagi or botamochi in Japanese, gyung dan in Korean and ginataan in Filipino. I stumbled for a moment to relate this favourite desert of our guests, until my wife prompted me with a clue that its closest relative has the same name as a coastal town in the state Johore. Of course it is known as Muar Chi (麻芝), how could I ever forget this childhood favourite snack! The chewiness accompanied with the natural sweetness of sweet rice flour and with the crunchiness of the toasted peanuts make muar chi a tasty and popular snack in Singapore. In my childhood days, the muar chi vendor would slice a piece and snip away with a pair of scissors into bite size pieces in a round metal tray of grounded toasted peanuts.Over these he sprinkles some toasted sesame seeds and yew chang (fried shallots). But the Japanese and the Korean prefer a dry coatings such as sesame seeds, roasted soybean powder, and cinnamon sugar cling readily to its surface.

To make the Glutinous Rice Balls:

1 cup of glutinous rice powder.
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup grounded toasted peanuts
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup caster sugar
In a bowl combine the glutinous rice powder and salt and mix well. Add the hot water slowly and knead into a smooth dough. Roll into a long roll and divide into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball with the help of your palms. Heat 6 cup of water until boiling; add the rice balls and cook until they rise to the surface of the water. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain. Roll the rice balls in the grounded and toasted peanut, sesame seeds and caster sugar mixture..


  1. phil, in s'pore, you can still get muay chee at some pasar malam.

  2. In hongkong this dessert is called 雷沙湯圓 ;)

  3. Koreans also like to dip it into honey. :)