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Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Palm Sugar

(Kuih Keria)

Sweet Potato Donuts

For me, one of the most exciting culinary adventures is visiting a residential market or roadside vendor who sells kuih keria at 4 pm daily. These delightful Malaysian doughnuts are delicious served as a tea time or as a mid-afternoon snack. Resembling a mini-donut, they are much easier to make at home than the wheat-based donut, which needs to be yeasted. These charming snacks are basically steamed sweet potatoes that are mashed with flour, then formed by hand into plump rings and fried until golden brown. Their subtle sweetness is enhanced when dipped in palm sugar caramel which gives them a beautiful shade of cinnamon. These doughnuts are best eaten on the same day. You can make them gluten free by substituting all-purpose flour with rice flour.


(Serves 6)


400 grams’ yellow or orange-fleshed sweet potatoes

1 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups of canola oil for frying

8-ounce palm sugar, chopped

½ cup water


1. Scrub sweet potatoes clean under running water. Place the sweet potatoes in a pan and fill to cover generously with water. Boil on medium heat until tender, test by inserting a bamboo skewer into the thickest part of the potato, it should go through without resistance, about 20 minutes. Remove sweet potatoes from water and leave to cool.


2. Meanwhile, combine flour and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well.


3. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins. Pick out any tough fiber and discard. Use a potato masher and mash until free of lumps and smooth.


4. Add the mashed sweet potatoes to the flour and knead into a smooth dough. Dust some flour on your hands (this will prevent the dough from sticking) take a small piece of dough (the size of a lime) and roll into smooth ball using both your palms. Flatten the ball slightly and make a hole in the center with your finger or a floured wooden spoon handle. Using your fingers, lightly pat the outer edges and the edges around the hole to form a smooth round doughnut. Place the doughnuts on a clean cloth over a cutting board or a tray until ready to fry. Repeat until all the dough is used up.


5. Heat oil in a small wok or pan over medium heat. Carefully place three doughnuts at a time into the wok, reduce the heat to medium low and fry until golden underneath then flip and fry until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all the doughnuts are cooked on medium low heat. Allow to cool.


6. Bring palm sugar and half cup of water to a rapid boil in a small wok or saucepan over in medium heat for 10 minutes or until the sugar is completely melted. Then continue to simmer until the sugar thickens to a caramel like consistency.


7. Add the cooled doughnuts (if the doughnuts are not cool they won’t coat well) and dip them into to palm syrup, tossing them working quickly to coat before the sugar hardens. Serve immediately.

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