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What Is Dodol?

Eugene P.
Eugene P.

Dodol is a type of sweet candy that is produced in Southeast Asia. The base of the candy is rice flour and palm sugar that is formed into dense, slightly sticky squares or diamonds. The dodol can be flavored in many ways, but by far the most popular in Southeast Asia is candy flavored with durian fruit. Other flavorings include mango, apple, pineapple, coconut and vanilla bean. The candy is frequently made before certain holidays and celebrations.

The process of making dodol begins by adding rice flour, palm sugar and coconut milk to a pan. The mixture is heated and stirred constantly. After the elements begin to come together and the sugar has been incorporated, flavorings and spices can be added to the liquid and simmered.

Palm sugar is used to make the base for dodol.
Palm sugar is used to make the base for dodol.

The dodol mixture must be stirred constantly while it is simmering. This is because, if the sugary mixture rests for too long over the heat without moving, it will scorch and the texture and flavors will be destroyed. Stirring is an easy task at first but, as the water boils out of the dodol, the liquid starts to become thicker and it eventually reaches a thick, gum-like texture. In the latter stages of the boiling process, the dodol can become so thick that it will carry the pan along with it during attempts to stir, meaning it will take some effort and two hands to keep stirring. The cooking time can last an hour or more, making this a difficult feat for a single person to perform.

Dodol is flavored with durian fruit.
Dodol is flavored with durian fruit.

Some recipes for dodol call for the mixture to be strained partway through the cooking to remove any chunks of fruits, leaves and other flavoring elements. This can be an important step and also will help to aerate the mixture, making it more flexible after it has cooled. Certain ingredients, such as nuts, do not need to be strained out of the candy and are intentionally added to provide some texture.

Once the dodol has cooked long enough that it is separating from the walls of the pan, it is time to pour it out into a vessel to cool. This can be any heat-safe dish but traditionally is banana leaves. The candy is poured out, leveled and allowed to cool completely. Once it has cooled, it is cut into strips, squares or diamond shapes. Although the candy will not be too sticky to the touch, it is chewy and dense when actually eaten.

Discussion Comments


@Letshearit: Just buy it. It's hard to make; it take nine hours or more to cook.


Can anyone give me some hints for making dodol?

I recently came across a recipe and am curious as to how hard it would be to actually get it right at home. Dodol looks easy enough to prepare, and since I am trying to do an Asian themed food night for a dinner party I am having, it seems like a great thing to try out.

Also, if the recipe calls for one kind of fruit, can you easily substitute another? Or is it best to keep the recipe as is?

I would like to make a couple of varieties, but I am not sure whether or not I would mess up the mix.


@Mae82 - It's too bad you didn't enjoy your first try of dodol, it can actually be really delicious if you find a flavor you like. Some people have a bit of trouble getting past the texture, but I find it fun to bite into.

I recommend that you try mango flavored dodol if you ever have the chance. It is a much milder and sweet flavor and is probably closer to the candy in the West. Pineapple dodol also has a great flavor, being sweet and just a bit tart. Another thing you could try is dodol that has nuts in it. I find that the added crunchy texture takes away from the oddness of dodol.


When I was in Malaysia a friend of mine offered my husband and I some dodol. Figuring it would be fun to try out some of the local candy we gave it a shot. I must say, it was a unique experience.

To be honest, I think rice candy is an acquired taste. For myself, I just couldn't enjoy it. Plus, being durian flavored didn't help, the fruit has a very distinctive, strong taste.

It's interesting actually, a lot of hotels have actually banned durians from being brought into them because of the smell. Definitely not something I would try again.

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    • Palm sugar is used to make the base for dodol.
      By: rafcha
      Palm sugar is used to make the base for dodol.
    • Dodol is flavored with durian fruit.
      Dodol is flavored with durian fruit.