Buo Loy, Thai Dessert

Buo Loy thai Dessert Recipe

Buo Loy is a Thai dessert very similar to sesame/peanut balls in ginger tea. This version uses rice flour, sweet potato and pandan leaves to create chewy balls that are stewed in coconut milk. Here’s the complete recipe! 

Buo Loy is translated directly to “floating lotus”. This is because the final dish looks like the interior of a floating lotus. It could also be because of the soft, chewy texture of the little balls! I will not say this is a quick and easy dish to make, as I do for my other recipes. Because this is really quite time consuming to make. However, the end result is very worth it! 

What is Buo Loy

Buo Loy is a traditional Thai dessert that comes in many versions, some even with a poached egg in the centre. Unlike the popular Red Ruby dessert which is served cold, Buo Loy is usually served warm. This dish consists of many tiny little starchy balls, usually made with glutinous rice flour, water and some form of flavouring. 

The coloured balls are usually flavoured with sweet potato, pandan or even carrot. Depending on what you’re using to flavour/colour the rice balls, you’ll have to adjust the quantity of rice flour accordingly. 

Once cooked in boiling water, the buo loy is transferred to a pot of warm coconut milk that’s been heated through with gula Melaka or sugar, and a knot of pandan leaves. If you find this too heavy or sweet, you can change it to a simple sugar syrup boiled with ginger. The sugar plays an important role here though, otherwise, you’ll just be eating stodgy rice balls. 

What you’ll need

Steaming Sweet potatoes for buo loy
Steaming sweet potatoes for buo loy

For the sweet potato balls, you’ll need about 50g steamed sweet potato, 50g glutinous rice flour, and enough water to pull the dough together. I added a tablespoon of water at a time. Using cold water helps as well. I’ve also used a purple sweet potato for the beautiful colour. 

making Pandan juice for buo loy
Making pandan juice for buo loy

For the pandan balls, you’ll need 30g of Pandan leaves, and about 55ml of water. You’ll have to blend these together, then add them to the glutinous rice flour to achieve a dough. 

It’s best to remember that this dough can dry out very, very quickly when left out. So it’s best to keep it covered when you’re rolling out the balls. And cover the balls too once you’ve rolled them out. 

Buo Loy, Thai Dessert

Recipe by Krishy MalCourse: Features


Prep time


Cooking time





You’ll need;

  • Sweet Potato Buo Loy
  • 50g Sweet Potato

  • 50g Glutinous Rice Flour

  • Water as needed

  • Pandan Buo Loy
  • 30g Pandan Leaves, chopped

  • 55ml Water

  • 70g Glutinous Rice Flour

  • Coconut Soup/Broth
  • 200ml Coconut Cream

  • 100ml Water

  • 35g Palm Sugar, shaved

  • 3 Pandan Leaves, knotted

  • Pinch of salt

You’ll need to;

  • To make the sweet potato Buo Loy, steam the sweet potato until it’s tender and soft. If you don’t have a steamer, refer to the notes above to learn how you can DIY a steamer! Once the sweet potato has been steamed and cooled, peel off its skin and place it in a bowl with the glutinous rice flour. Mix both ingredients together until you get sandy rubble, then start adding the water a tablespoon at a time to pull everything together. Eventually, you’ll get a dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl and is quite pliable. Cover the dough in cling and set aside.
  • To make the pandan buo loy, combined the chopped pandan leaves and water in a blender jug, and blend until smooth. Then, run this green mixture through a sieve and collect the water. Measure out the water to make sure you have 55ml. Set aside the remaining water. Then combine the 55ml pandan water with the 70g glutinous rice flour. Knead together to form a dough, similar in texture to the sweet potato buo loy dough. Once done, cover in cling and set aside.
  • When ready to make the buo loy, pinch off small bits from the green and purple dough and roll them into small tiny balls. You will need to put the balls on a well-floured surface, as this dough tends to be very sticky otherwise. Also, make sure you cover the balls with a kitchen towel as you work on them, to keep them from drying out.
  • Make the coconut broth by combining the coconut cream, water, palm sugar and knotted pandan leaves in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the coconut milk is warmed through. Switch off the heat.
  • Bring another pot of water to a simmer, and add a pinch of salt. Then drop in a the buo loy a few at a time. You’ll know when the little balls are cooked as they will start floating. When they do, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the coconut milk broth right away, stirring as you do. Scoop out in little bowls and serve warm.


  • Use dark brown sugar in place of palm sugar, if you have trouble finding the latter.

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