Pulut Inti - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping

The beautiful aroma wafting from the kitchen- of glutinous rice steaming in coconut milk and pandan leaves- these childhood memories are forever etched in my mind. On some delightful afternoons, my mum would be hard at work in the kitchen, preparing another round of our teatime favourites, steamed glutinous rice.

Somehow the combination of coconut milk and pandan leaves gives an irresistible flavour to this dessert when it is prepared at home. I am thankful that I picked up the skills to prepare this family favourite and am able to replicate it for my children to savour.


Pulut Inti is a fairly easy dish to prepare and the results are really worth it. The process starts with soaking glutinous rice for about 2 hours. It is then steamed, first without the addition of any liquid. This process makes it less likely to be soggy when cooked. After 10 minutes, coconut milk, salt and pandan leaf should be added. The steaming then continues for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. It is important to add only enough coconut milk to reach the level of the rice. Too much liquid will result in soggy rice!

While the rice is cooking, the sweet topping may be prepared. For this, palm sugar should be chopped and then cooked with a little white or brown sugar, adding a little water to help the sugar to dissolve. Once the palm sugar has dissolved, grated coconut should be added. The mixture should be cooked over a low/medium heat until it thickens.


Once the rice has cooled down a little, it is time to scoop some rice onto cut banana leaves and place the sweet grated coconut on top. Fold the banana leaves in such a way that the sweet topping is slightly exposed. This adds to the allure of these dainty offerings!

Pulut Inti tastes best if it is wrapped in banana leaves. However, if banana leaves are unavailable, it should be just as delicious when served on a plate.



For the Coconut Toppng

1. Place water in a pan. Add palm sugar, brown sugar and a knotted pandan leaf.

2. Bring the sugar to a boil on medium heat and keep stirring until the palm sugar is dissolved.

3. Add the grated coconut and keep stirring until the liquid is absorbed, around 5-10 minutes.

4. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

For the Rice

1. Soak the glutinous rice for 2 hours. After soaking, rinse it and drain the water. Place the rice in a baking tray. Put a knotted pandan leaf in the rice.

2. Bring water to a boil in a steamer. Place the baking tray with rice in the steamer.

3. Cover and steam for 10 minutes.

4. Mix salt into the coconut milk.

5. Pour coconut milk into the rice to the level just enough to cover the rice. Stir the rice briefly to make sure the coconut milk is evenly distributed.

6. Steam again for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. More coconut milk or water may be added if the rice is not cooked yet.

7. Flake the rice and allow to cool slightly.

To Serve

1. Cut banana leaves to required size (about 12 cm by 8 cm) and wash them.

2. Place 2 tablespoons of rice in the shape of a pyramid in the centre of a banana leaf.

3. Place 2 teaspoons of coconut topping on top of the rice.

4. Fold the banana leaf, making sure a little of the coconut topping is visible.

5. Serve while still warm.

6. Alternatively, serve on a plate Instead of a banana leaf.