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Kanom Dok Bua

It is crunchy, fried and sesame nutty. This is the funnel cake equivalent of the Lao world. It is called kanom dok bua in Lao. Dok bua means lotus. In Thai, it is known as kanom dok jok.

This post is a little off from my weekend schedule because of the Lao/Thai/Cambodia New Year. In Southeast Asia, the New Year is a huge festival and people celebrate a whole week. Here in the States, different temples and different cities celebrate throughout the month of April to accommodate for the work week.  Every weekend, there’s a celebration somewhere.

In honor of the New Year, I decided to make these cookies. I tried a few recipes and found that there was a basic ratio of almost 1:1 flour(s) to  liquids, not including the sugar. I adjusted my recipe based on mom’s feedback and ended with this one.  Yes, I have been eating these cookies for weeks. They are crunchy, nutty and easy to snack on.

The recipe itself is fairly easy, but there are a few notes and things that one learns during the process. First thing is that oil temperature is very important. If the oil is not hot enough, the batter will just fall apart. If the oil is too hot it will burn the cookies. I found that when I am using a heavy cast iron pan about 325F is best. When I am using an electric deep fryer, 350F is good. So golden rule is keep your oil temperature between 325F and 350F. Cook time will vary depending on pots and temperature. It may only take a minute on both sides. Watch the color.

Mold – Oh! And one important note related to temperature, make sure to heat up the mold while you are heating up your oil. The mold has to be hot for the batter to stick nicely to the mold. Also, make sure that you dip your mold back into the oil to allow it to warm back up again between each time you dip. It doesn’t take long. Maybe 20-30 seconds. Just don’t keep the mold out of the oil for too long. Your batter will fall apart. Mom told me that these molds are traditionally stored in oil when not in use. At least they did in her village. 🙂

Kanom Dok Bua Mold

While we are on the subject of the mold (which you can get from here (affiliated link), that brings us to the second note. When dipping the mold into the batter, do not allow the mold to be completely submerged in the batter. The batter will cover the top of the mold. You’ll want to get the batter as close as possible to the top for a fuller flower cookie, but don’t let it go over the top. The batter will get stuck on the mold when it hits the oil and you’ll have to break out with the chopsticks to get that batter out of each nook and cranny. Well, I’d break out with the chopsticks anyway. I found it to be easier to maneuver and more precise when using the chopsticks.

Motion – Third note, after you dip the batter, jiggle your mold wand slightly to help the batter off the mold and into the oil.

Oil – This is an oil fried dessert and can be a little oily. To help with this you can line the bowls with paper towels after the initial shaping. Basically, after the cookies have cooled slightly and have been shaped, I placed paper towels between the cookies and the bowl until they finish cooling. This helps with oil on the underside. Gently dabbing the tops with paper towels after they have cooled helps as well.

Considering that all pots and heat sources are different, you’ll learn the nuisances of your fryer. Typically after the first couple, you’ll get the hang of it. It seems tedious, but it’s not too bad once you get in a groove.

Colors and Flavors – I have successfully added a few drops of food coloring and also extract flavoring. It’s a fun way to change things up and add a little brightness to these cookies.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Kanom Dok Bua

Yields: 20

1 cup (128g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120g) rice flour
1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk
¼ cup (60 mL) water
¾ cup (150g) sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Oil for frying

  • Mix the flours, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Add coconut milk, water and egg. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add sesame seeds
  • Place mold in heavy pot with oil while you heat up the oil to at least 325F in cast iron or heavy pot or 350F in electric deep fryer.
  • When it is to temperature, take mold out of oil and dip into batter. Be mindful not to allow the batter to cover the top of mold otherwise the cookie will get stuck on the mold.
  • Jiggle the mold wand slightly to get the batter off the mold.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly golden, turn and cook the other side for another 2 minutes or until golden. (It may not take as long depending on your pot and temperature. Keep an eye on them and turn when golden).
  • Remove the flower from oil and immediately place on a small, overturned bowl to shape the flower. It will cool and harden.

4 thoughts on “Kanom Dok Bua

  • Thanks for the recipe. Turned out great!

  • Victoria

    How do I prevent the cookies from being too oily at the end?

    • Hi. After you place the cookies on the bowl to shape it, you can place it on a plate lined with paper towels. Alternatively, if you do not want that domed shape, you can place it directly on a paper towel lined plate right after frying. Hope that helps.


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