Apr 16 2013

How to cook Dumbok’ (Indian rice balls) — recipe


Want to experience a taste of India? Try this traditional Dumbok’ recipe from the Santal indigenous community, where families make rice balls to share with their neighbors. They’re usually eaten as a main dish, still warm after steaming!

CFCA serves about 31,000 sponsored children and elderly in India. Vincent Murmu, Bhagalpur-Dumka project coordinator, sends us this recipe for Dumbok’, (pronounced “DOOM-bok”) a traditional dish of the Santal indigenous community in India!

Many of the Santals cultivate rice, which is harvested in the months of November and December. After the harvest, the rice is prepared and ground into flour. The rice flour is then mixed with other ingredients to create Dumbok’, which is shared with neighbors.

This recipe makes approximately 50-75 rice balls.

Time needed from start to finish: approximately 60 minutes.


  • 4 1/2 cups of rice flour
  • 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of whole aniseeds
  • 1 teaspoon of salt



Mix all ingredients together and slowly add lukewarm water until a soft, doughy consistency is reached.


Roll small pieces of the dough between palms to make the rice balls.


Next, cook the rice balls in a steam cooker on medium to high heat.

The members of this community use two pots to cook the Dumbok’. One pot is for boiling water, and the other pot has small holes in the bottom for steaming. The steamer pot is then placed on top of the pot with boiling water.


Once the water is boiling and steam can be seen, the rice balls are placed in the steam cooker.


To prevent them from sticking together, place a small amount of rice balls in the steamer for about five minutes and cover. Continue cooking, and add a few more rice balls to the steamer. Follow this process until the pot is full. Keep lid covered when cooking.


Steam the full pot for 30 minutes, and the Dumbok’ should be ready. (The Dumbok’ will be ready when the inner and outer color of the rice balls are the same. This can be tested by breaking a rice ball in half.)


Serve the Dumbok’ warm and enjoy!

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