Klepon (pronounced Klê-pon) is a traditional rice sweet, popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a small boiled rice cake formed in a ball, stuffed with liquid gula jawa (palm sugar), and rolled in freshly grated coconut. It is one of my favorite sweets here in Bali, because has just the right level of sweetness, what’s unusual in Indonesia because people here like it SUPER sweet. Many cakes or desserts here have a little bit too much sugar for my taste, but Klepon has just the right amount of the tasty brown palm sugar; if you come to Indonesia you have to try it!
The green color comes from a paste made from the pandan or dracaena plant whose leaves are used widely in South East Asian cooking. In other parts of Indonesia, such as in Sumatra and in neighboring Malaysia, klepon is called as onde-onde. However, in Java onde-onde refers to the Chinese Jin deui, a rice cake ball coated with sesame seeds and filled with sweet green bean paste. Although popular across Southeast Asia, Klepon may have originated in Java. Klepon are often eaten as morning or afternoon snacks along with tea. One must take care when consuming Klepon, because a freshly boiled one usually contains hot palm sugar liquid. In Bali Klepon is famous around the area of Tanah Lot, where you can buy it at small stands on the side of the road. Usually you get them in a package made from banana leaf with 5-6 balls inside.
In the 1950s, klepon was introduced by Indonesian immigrants to the Netherlands and is readily available in Dutch or Chinese Indonesian restaurants and supermarkets all over the country.