Asian recipes: Sweet coconut pancakes

Zoete kokos poffertjes

I have a thing when it comes to desserts. I simply cannot resist them. In Asia that doesn’t always mean it’s a good thing, because let’s be honest: most Asian desserts are horrible. Chemical, jelly, ridiculously sweet or a cake with fake cream. You can all find it in Asia without a problem.


I did not like the jelly in Laos!

I never forget that trip I took with my Thai colleagues (I worked for Nike at the time and our liaison office was located in Bangkok) My colleague insisted we go to the locl food court because they had the best desserts there and I just had to try. With high expectations I went along with them and took my seat at a table while my colleagues found me the best thing to have. They came back with a plastic cup… I tried not to be too scared of the neon flashy colors that beamed up at tme. It was afterall the best, or so I had been told. I stuck the plastic spoon in and what came up was a wobbly jelly mass. Mmm, that did not look all that promising, but looks can be deceiving so I put the spoon in my  mouth and for a split second I was very tempted to do that thing young kids do. When they taste something they don’t like they just open their mouth and let it fall out. Of course that was not a polite thing to do and my colleagues were looking at me with high expectations.

Sweet coconut pancakes |

I managed to get rid of the weird mass in my mouth. I swallowed and mumbled something along the lines of ‘it was very different..’ I managed to eat three mouthfulls. Quite an achievement all on it’s own. And my colleague was more than happy to eat the rest.

Funny how desserts or food in general apparently have a geographic thing to it. What you grew up with you tend to like apparently. No jelly for me!

Jelly heaven...
Jelly heaven…

That is not to say that I dislike all Asian desserts. There are a few fine exceptions to the rule and I will definitely let you taste a couple of them.

The first one are coconut pancakes. The rice flour and the coconut instantly transport you back into Asian moods and they are really very very good! In Indonesia you will find them green with a pandan flavor. That is best added by putting a little bit of pandan into it. You can buy that at the Asian store. It’s pretty artifical but that kind of goes with the territory too, so use it or not.Your choice.

We made them in an Aebleskiver pan (yes really. That is a Danish small pancake (poffertjes) pan of which the holes are a lot bigger than your regular small pancakes but you can of course bake them in a normal one or if you don’t have either just make pancakes out of them. They are best when hot out of the pan, as that will give you that small crispy edge.

What is your favorite Asian dessert?


Sweet Asian coconut pancakes

  • Author: Luke Nguyen


  • 500 ml coconut milk
  • 375 gr rice flour
  • 125 gr sugar
  • oil for baking or butter


  1. Place the coconut milk, rice flour and sugar in a mixing bow. Ad a pinch of salt and 500 ml of water to the mix and mix it with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat your pan on medium heat, make sure you put enough oil in each hole!
  3. Make sure the pan is really hot before you put the batter in or else it will be rather difficult to get them out again. Bake for about 4-5 minutes until golden and than flip them and repeat.
  4. They need to be crispy on the outside and sticky on the inside.
  5. Continue until all batter is finished


You should really eat these straight from the pan (try not to do that!) because the edges will be nice and crispy. A bit of icing sugar or honey over the top and dive in. Originally they should be made in a Khao nom kok (Thailand or Laos) or bahn khot (Vietnam) but as mentioned we made them in the Aebleskiver pan. Dutch poffertjespan will work as well.

Written by
Simone van den Berg

Reizen doet mijn hart sneller kloppen. Al sinds ik me kan herinneren wilde ik de wereld ontdekken en andere culturen ervaren. Sinds onze allereerste verre reis naar Mexico in 1997 ga ik graag buiten de grenzen van Europa, maar ook dichtbij is nog zoveel moois te ontdekken! Reizen combineren met lekker eten is voor mij de ultieme combinatie. Van al mijn reizen heb ik stapels 'logboeken'. Vandaar de naam Paper Travels.

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Written by Simone van den Berg