Ondeh Ondeh Cheesecake

There was a recipe I saw online that caught my attention and I decided to try it – Ondeh Ondeh cheesecake. The Ondeh Ondeh is a tradition Malay or Peranakan kuih (Malay word for cake) that is essentially a bite-sized ball made of glutinous rice flour with a gula melaka (palm sugar) filling, coated with grated coconut. It is one of my favourite Malay snacks and I remember learning to make it back in school. 

The recipe that I saw online intrigued me because it combined a yummy Southeast Asian snack with a western dessert. Alas, the recipe was a disappointment because the cheesecake just wouldn’t set properly. I was determined to find my own way to make the recipe better and started my own experiment. 

After getting my neighbours, whom in my opinion are great food critics because of the rich heritage in their background, to try the two different versions, I am pleased to share my version of the Ondeh Ondeh cheesecake. Here’s the recipe!


2 cups of water

15 pandan leaves

50 mil milk

250g digestive biscuits

80g butter, melted

600g cream cheese, room temperature 

80g icing sugar

1tbsp gelatin

200ml whipping cream

100g Gula Melaka

Grated or Desiccated coconut


For the Pandan Essence:

Boil 2 cups of water and Pandan leaves together on Low heat until the Pandan leaves are softened and the water is half of the original amount.

Pour everything into a blender and blend.
Add 50ml of milk and blend until leaves are all shredded.

Pour everything through a strainer and collect the Pandan Essence in a bowl.

For the Cheesecake:

Line baking tin with baking paper and grease it.

Grind digestive biscuits until fine. Pour in melted butter and mix well. Pour into baking tin, press the biscuits down and put in fridge to set.

Melt gula Melaka on Low heat. 

Pour melted Gula Melaka into the middle of the crust. 

Sprinkle some coconut over the Gula Melaka.

Whisk cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth and creamy.

Boil Pandan Essence in a pot over Low heat. Put gelatin in and stir until gelatin is completely melted.

Pour Pandan gelatin mixture into cream cheese mixture and continue to mix.

Whisk whipping cream until fluffy. 

Fold whipping cream and cream cheese mixture together.

Pour into baking tin. Cover tin with a seraphine wrap and put in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.

Once cheesecake is set, remove from tin. Sprinkle coconut on top, slice and serve.

And this is my version of the Ondeh Ondeh cheesecake. I’m so happy to see that the cake set nicely, compared to the other version I tried. 

The Gula Melaka is hidden in the cheesecake, just like how it would be in an Ondeh ondeh. 

If you like more Gula Melaka, you can increase the amount of Gula Melaka filling, or drizzle some on the cake itself. 

The Pandan essence is quite a lot of work, so if you are short of time or want a shortcut, you can substitute it with instant Pandan essence or flavouring. When it is time to make the gelatin mixture, boil 1 cup of water with 3 teaspoons of Pandan flavouring and 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder.

Most importantly, feel free to improvise from this recipe and tweak it to suit your taste. =) Have fun!


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