Food Knowledge

What is Glutinous Rice Ball in Coconut Milk (Bua Loy)?

Glutinous Rice Ball in Coconut Milk (Bua Loy)

Glutinous Rice ball in coconut milk or Bua Loy (บัวลอย) is a popular Thai dessert. Bua (บัว) means lotus, while Loy (ลอย) means floating. Together, Bua Loy is floating lotus. This dessert has colorful chewy, tiny balls made from sticky rice flour, served in sweet and slightly salty coconut milk scented with pandan leaves. Bua loy can be topped with fresh, young coconut meat and poached egg. Natural, healthy ingredients such as fruit, vegetable, and flower are what give the rice balls its bright color and texture. Otherwise, food coloring can be used.

Natural Ingredients for Color and Flavor

Here are the most popular natural ingredients for adding color and texture to the rice balls. Either juice is extracted from the ingredients, or they are mashed and mixed with sticky rice flour before adding water or coconut milk. Some vegetables may need to be steamed first.

– Blue Color: Butterfly Peas Flower
– Orange Color: Carrot, Orange sweet potato
– Purple color: Sweet Purple Potato
– Green color: Pandan Leaves
– Red color: Red beet root
– Yellow Color: Kabocha Squash
– White or Lavendar color: Taro

The hue of each color can be adjusted. For example, add water to dilute the color. Another option is to blend colors together. Lime juice added to butterfly pea flowers will produce a bright magenta color.

Variations of Bua Loy:

Bua Loy has several variations that are also delicious.

–  Besides coconut milk, Bua Loy can also be eaten in fresh milk and ginger soup.
–  Bua loy can also have a filling. One popular filling is black sesame. The sticky rice balls are bigger in size and are usually served in ginger soup.
–  Tapioca Rice Balls in Coconut Milk or Bua Loy Kaew (บัวลอยแก้ว) uses tapioca flour instead of sticky rice flour. The flour is cut into tiny rectangles or squares. It’s chewier and has a clear, shiny color similar to a gem.


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