Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)

Like Sweet Corn Pudding, Pulut Inti is yet another childhood favorite easily available at the kuih (dessert) stands back when I was a kid. It is a simple dessert wrapped in banana leaf. Inside the small pyramid shaped package is a mound of steamed glutinous rice topped with inti, a sweet coconut filling. The best Pulut Inti comes with a generous heaping of the sweet inti as the rice is merely to complement it.

It is hard to determine the origin of this dessert. Many of the kuihs native to the Malay culture have been adopted and improvised by the Nyonyas. In this particular dessert, the Malays usually leave the steamed glutinous rice white. The Nyonyas like to streak the glutinous rice blue with bunga telang (blue pea flower), a natural food dye.

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)

Glutinous rice feature in many Nyonya and Malay desserts. Most are sweet like serimuka (glutinous rice with custard topping) and pulut tai tai (glutinous rice cake with coconut egg custard). A savory one that comes to mind is rempah udang (glutinous rice with spicy shrimp filling). Some of these desserts involve many complicated steps and techniques which can be tedious. Pulut inti is an exception as it is fairly easy to prepare.

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)

Frozen banana leaves can be purchased at the Asian or Indian grocery stores. They need to be thoroughly washed, wiped dry, and cut down to size before use. I recently bought a packet for my Nasi Lemak Bungkus and only used two large leaves. I used another two more leaves for this dessert. They do make a lovely presentation. Please do not let this step deter you as Pulut Inti may also be served in a small dish.

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)

I do not have bunga telang and so I left the glutinous rice plain. Bunga telang imparts a very pleasing purplish blue color unlike artificial blue food coloring. Pulut inti is usually eaten at room temperature but it is also delicious served slightly warm. It may be reheated in the microwave.

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 small packets
  • 1 cup (220g) glutinous rice
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp (180ml + 30ml) coconut milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 pandan leaf, cut into 5-inch lengths
  • 1 large piece banana leaf to line steaming rack
  • 8 pieces of 7-inch x 6-inch banana leaves
Sweet Coconut Topping
  • 1 cup (100g) grated coconut, white part only
  • ¼ cup (50g) palm sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • 1 pandan leaf, cut into 5-inch lengths
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp corn starch, mix with 2 tbsp water
  1. Wash and drain glutinous rice 4 to 5 times until water runs clear. Cover glutinous rice with water and allow it to soak overnight or at least 4 hours.
  2. Line a steaming rack with banana leaf. Make sure it is large enough to cover the base and also slightly up the sides of rack. Place pandan leaves on top.
  3. Drain glutinous rice. Mix in salt and transfer to steaming rack. Pour coconut milk onto rice. Cover and steam over medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove lid and fluff glutinous rice with fork. Sprinkle the 2 remaining tablespoons of coconut milk onto rice. Cover and steam for another 5 minutes.
  4. Combine water, palm sugar, and pandan leaf in a small pan over medium heat. When palm sugar has melted, add grated coconut and butter. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook for another minute. Remove pandan leaf and allow it to cool.
  5. When glutinous rice is cool enough to handle, pile about a quarter cup cooked rice onto a piece of banana leaf. Top with a tablespoon of sweet coconut topping.
  6. Bring the long edges of banana leaf to meet in the center with one edge overlapping slightly on one end. Criss-cross the flaps in the center by placing bottom flap on the top on the opposite end. Fold both ends under to form a pyramid shape package.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I am linking this to Flavours of Malaysia hosted by Simply.Food.

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎

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  1. says

    Funny I was going to make a tapioca/coconut dessert wrapped in banana leaves (from my backyard) but I wasn’t sure how to fold the packages. So happy to see this! I still can’t find pandan leaves, even frozen in the Asian market. I want to plant one so I will have it any time I want it. It will go next to my bananas! :) Thanks for sharing the wonderful food from your childhood!

    I only have two more weeks of school, then summer break! I didn’t get to work summer school this year. Hopfully I’ll get on the computer more! :) Have a great weekend Biren!

    • Biren says

      Pandan should grow in Florida but I am not sure if you can find the plant. Most of the pandan sold here come frozen from Thailand without the roots.

      Two weeks will go by very quickly. Then you’ll get to relax and enjoy the beach. :)

  2. says

    Wow!!! Biren!! I’m sure your kitchen smelled DIVINE!! Love the presentation. Erm…personally? I’d prefer the savoury version with the spicy rempah udang. Not sure if this conical-shaped pulut inti was ever served savoury originally? Used to have them sweet, like you have here. The savoury ones I know are pulut panggang (cigar-shaped), am I right? BTW, I just hopped over from the other half of Nona-Nona and I told Denise that I can’t wait for both your third battle of the pans!! 😀

    • Biren says

      Yes, my kitchen did smell very good especially when cooking the inti. The savory version you are referring to is probably the rempah udang where the cooked glutinous rice has a spicy shrimp filling. The entire things is wrapped in banana leave and grilled to give it a smoky flavor. I made it not too long ago and it was delicious.

  3. says

    Hi Biren :) I always thought pulut inti was like little baby nasi lemaks when I was a girl LOL Your little bundles look so adorable I want to break out in baby talk! These were my absolute favourite kueh when I was in school, and now I realise how talented the canteen kueh aunty was! Her stall display case was like a gorgeous painting – so many colours and shapes and she made that section of the canteen smell perpetually of pandan and coconut! No wonder we all swarmed to her stall every recess like bees around their queen! These days I find them a little too sweet to eat more than one of but they are still delightful, especially when the pulut is perfectly cooked and tender right through each grain. Yours looks perfect!

    • Biren says

      Funny, I thought the same too. 😀 These are really cute if I can say so myself. I made sure I had enough glutinous rice for 8 packets so that each person can have 2 packets. Next time I need to double up the recipe.

      Yes, those were the days. Kuih stalls are not as common these days, especially the good ones. A lot of the kuihs are artificially colored and look too green or too blue. They don’t taste as good too. The younger generation is not interested to make these kuihs as some of them are just too time consuming to make. Good thing many food blogs now have the recipe so it won’t be lost forever.

      The inti can be very sweet but you can make it less sweet at home. I did cut down on the sugar. :)

  4. says

    Biren, This is also one of my favourite snacks. I love to buy pulut inti in the school canteen when I was a little girl. Now I can make it myself with your lovely recipe. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Biren says

      This truly was a childhood snack. It seems like quite a few of us share the same experience. :) Kids love pulut inti because they are sweet and easy to eat. My boys are big kids now, but they still enjoyed them. I shouldn’t have taken so long make these.

  5. says

    I am seeing all these pandan recipes on your blog and Denise’s blog, and I am dying to know what it tastes like :-). Is it like a lemon, like a herb? Do they sell pandan extracts? Maybe I could order something like that online… This rice looks really yummy, only I am not sure what exactly kind of yummy :-)

    • Biren says

      Yes, there are pandan extracts but the taste is not the same. Try an Asian grocery store. You should be able to find pandan in the frozen section. It is hard to describe but the fragrance is that of vanilla and jasmine combined with sweet floral notes. When you cook or bake with pandan, your entire kitchen smells so wonderful. I do hope you get a chance to try it. You will not be disappointed.

  6. says

    Hi Biren! Hope you’re doing well! 😉

    Oh! I love Nyonya kuehs very much and I’ll always buy whenever I see it. Now with your recipe, I can eat it as and when I like! :)

    • Biren says

      Thanks Lyn! I am doing well. I hope you are too. :)

      Over here, I don’t get to eat Nyonya kuih unless I make it myself. I made this one because it is one of the easiest. I will probably get to the rst one of these days. 😀

  7. says

    Glutinous rice is a favorite of my family although I can’t eat much of it, feel bloated if eat too much! 1 packet is enough for me please:D

    • Biren says

      Yes, some people do get bloated if they eat too much glutinous rice. It is a little harder to digest than regular rice. Actually I should only be eating only one packet too. 😉

  8. says

    This is definitely something I have never seen before! It’s beautiful and the flavors some wonderful, but then I am a huge fan of sweet glutenous rice! Love the presentation!

    • Biren says

      The pasar malam is a must visit. So many things to see and savor. Yes, lots more street foods coming up in the days ahead. :)

    • Biren says

      I am glad to hear you got to try it. It’s simple but very tasty. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  9. says

    These look spectacular! Really, really attractive. I’ve never worked with banana leaves, but it looks like fun – and your instructions/photos are very thorough. And I love coconut, so I know I’ll like the topping. Great recipe – thanks.

  10. says


    When I saw your pictures – I couldn’t imagine how you would cook them or wrap them but you explained everything so clearly. They must taste so yummy.

  11. says

    This is one of my husband favourite snacks whenever he drop by at roti canai stall (restaurant) for his breakfast. Thanks for the recipe. Will try to make it for him.

  12. Ishtar says

    Hi! These look delicious!!! I was wondering if I could double the recipe and how long the packets would last on the fridge? Please let me know. Thank you!! Ü

    • Biren says

      It will last a day or two in the fridge but you would want to warm it up before serving or the rice will be hard.


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