Wajik – Sticky rice Snack with Gula Jawa
This is wajik; a super-sweet sticky rice snack made with coconut milk and Javanese sugar (gula Jawa).
Wajik is a delicious and nutritious snack. Because of the rice and gula jawa it’s pretty heavy and scrumptious. That’s why I think it’s the perfect snack for during or after a walk. When you return home; a pot of hot tea with a sticky wajik! Yummy.
We drink strong black tea, for example, a lapsang souchong, along with our wajik But a strong green Jasmine tea also works well.
Every month I make a favorite dish for one of the readers of Dutch magazine Moesson. Jeanette says on Facebook: “Wajik please!” And she is right!
The recipe is not difficult to make but you have to pay attention to a few details so that it will always be a success. You can also easily make 50 pieces per batch. Nice to bring to a party as a present.
I also explain how I make wajik in a video:
This recipe is enough for 50 wajik and is ready in 1,5 hours (without the time the rice needs to soak in water).
- 500 grams of ketan rice (sticky rice)
- 500 grams gula jawa
- 300 ml of coconut milk
- half block santen (100 grams)
- 3 pandan leaves
- 1 lemongrass stalk
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Soak the rice for at least 3 hours
- Wash 3X carefully until water is transparent
- Steam in rice steamer for 35 minutes with two pandan leaves.
- Spoon the rice through after 20 minutes of steaming
- Melt the sugar in 1/4 liter of water on a low heat
- Heat the coconut milk with the santen, a pandan leaf, lemongrass and salt
- Add the rice with the herbs in a large wok, together with the coconut sauce and the sugar syrup and stir
- Let rest for 20 minutes
- Heat wok on low heat and keep stirring the mass constantly
- If the wajik has become nicely thick and stands up from the edge (bulb), fill up a square bakin tin covered with parchment paper
- Spread evenly across the bottom and press gently
- Allow to dry and cool on the counter
- Place in the freezer for an hour
- Remove from the tin and turn over on a new piece of paper
- Pull away paper carefully
- Put back in the tin. Allow to dry on the counter for a while and freeze for 10 extra minutes
- Cut the wajik
Soak the Rice
The sticky rice must pre-soaked for at least 3 hours. The volume doubles visibly.
In the meantime, I prepare all the ingredients. Pandan leaf I get from the freezer at my Asian store and lemongrass I can buy at the supermarket.
Palm sugar or gula Jawa
Those thick slices you see is gula Jawa: Javanese sugar. Do they sell only palm sugar? No problem, that will work also. This Gula Jawa is only slightly darker, so your wajik becomes darker too.
You can also, if you do not have enough palm sugar, supplement it with (dark) brown sugar or even just with white sugar. But to make it with white sugar only is not how I know wajik; it needs to have a brown color.
I have seen wajik made with palm sugar and ginger juice though. That was a light brown wajik. Beautiful! I want to try it with ginger too soon!
Wash the rice
After three hours, I rinse the sticky rice well until the water becomes transparent.
Rinse carefully because the rice has become quite brittle because of the soaking. I rinse about 3 times and then it is ready to steam.
Steam for 35 minutes
I use my normal, old rice steamer. I do not cook the rice but place it directly in the upper part of the pan (the colander).
I add 2 Pandan leaves. You can also add half a lemongrass here, but I add my lemongrass to my coconut milk. It does not really matter where to add the lemongrass. It needs to go in some part of the recipe (you will mix everything in the end anyway) to give off its delicious flavor.
It is important that your lemongrass is bruised before adding it to a dish. I hit it with something heavy.
I fill the bottom pan with boiling hot water and I leave an opening in the middle of the rice, so the steam can circulate well.
I steam the rice for 35 minutes on full steam. After 20 minutes I scoop the rice through for a moment. I taste it after 35 minutes. The rice must be cooked (not with a hard part middle).
Coconut sauce and sugar syrup
While the rice is steaming, I melt my sugar and warm up my coconut sauce gently.
For the coconut sauce I put 300 ml coconut milk in the pan, I add half a block of santen too. If you cannot get santen, buy thicker coconut milk (cream). But this wajik will work with regular coconut milk too. Don’t worry.
Santen is thick coconut cream sold in blocks. It has some fat in it. I cut my block in length, so that the part with the grease is in there as well (usually the fatty part is on one side of the block of santen).
I also add the pandan leaf, the lemongrass and 1teaspoon of salt.
Do not cook
I do not really bring the coconut milk to the boil because then too much moisture evaporates. I warm it up to the boiling point (you see a few bubbles) and make sure the santen is completely melted. Then I turn off the gas and place the lid on. Now the flavors of the herbs have some time to give of their taste.
For the sugar syrup I melt all 500 grams of gula jawa discs in a 1/4 liter of water.
So, my rice is cooked, the coconut milk is warm and tasty and all the sugar has melted.
Now I’m going to mix everything in my wok. It already smells great. This is wajik ‘deconstructed’ ;-).
I add my rice into my biggest wok. I leave the herbs in for just a while longer.
The coconut sauce and the sugar syrup can be added too.
Then just stir and let it rest for 20 minutes.
The ingredients are all still warm so I cover the wok. Now the warm rice has the chance to take in the delicious sauces once again before we reduce everything to a thick mush.
In the meantime, I cover my square cake shape (with a detachable bottom) with baking paper. I briefly coated the bottom with some butter, so the paper sticks to the bottom. That is easy when the thick, sticky wajik goes in.
After 20 minutes the mix looks like this. The rice has sucked up even more juices and everything seems to have settled. The herbs can be removed and the wok can be placed over fire.
30 minutes stirring
Now you need elbow grease. I have made wajik a couple of times now and for this part of the job you have to concentrate. Because of the sugar and fat in the coconut, everything can easily burn and that is not what you want. That’s why I keep moving my mix on medium fire continuously. I also use a thin wok without non-stick coating so I need to pay attention even more.
Because of the movement, the moisture also has the chance to evaporate quickly, so that everything becomes stiffer and thicker: I clearly feel that I am making candy!
After 27 minutes I see that the contents have been further reduced and the wajik is standing off the edges. Also, the stirring becomes heavy and short threads of sugar form when I stir. It is ready to go into the mold!
Spoon by spoon I scoop it in the baking tin and gently push it into the corners. I want a nice neat slab of wajik.
Yes! Success. Now the cooling starts.
I let the tin cool down on the counter and do not cover it. The wajik also has to dry a little on the top.
If it is completely cooled down (say after an hour). I place it uncovered in the freezer.
After about an hour in the freezer, I take out the wajik and carefully lift it out of the tin (it is heavy!).
Then I turn it over and lace the dried top on a new piece of baking paper. Then I gently pull the parchment paper off from the bottom.
Now that the wajik is turned upside down I place it back in the form.
I do this freezing and reversing to make the cutting easier. Because the top is nicely dry, it does not stick as much to the paper as it is inverted. If you cut the pieces later, they will come off more easily and you will not have to “pull them”.
I now let the sticky bottom dry in the air for a while and place it back into the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Then the cutting can begin!
My tin is 25 X 25 centimeters. I cut out 25 squares that I cut diagonally so that I get nice triangles. Originally you have to cut them into diamond shapes.
I freeze them with a baking paper between each wajik: otherwise, they stick too much after defrosting. You can also keep them in the fridge for a long time in sealed plastic containers (always cover them otherwise they will become too dry).