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No cornstarch Rice cakes (Ablo)

Le Ablo is a Togolese (Abolo Beninese) steamed rice and corn flour dish. The traditional method takes time, although most of it involves inactive waiting periods. The process spans three to four days from the first rice soaking to taking the finished product out of the steamer. In the original recipe the mixture of rice four is steamed in a banana leave or an aluminum mold lined with plastics.

No cornstarch Rice cakes (Ablo)
No cornstarch Rice cakes (Ablo)

I use real cute silicone molds. Properly prepared, the Ablo imparts the slightly yeasty aroma of fermented rice batter. It should be neither sticky nor dry and crumbly. The Ablo should be soft, moist, and with a fine, uniform grain. The essential flavor should be of freshly cooked rice, but it may be sweetened a bit. A lot of people requested the recipe of Ablo without cornstarch, So here it is:


  • 2 cup rice 
  • 4~6 tablespoons granulated sugar (or more according to your taste)
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to make No cornstarch Rice cakes (Ablo)?

Soak the rice overnight

The next day, drain the water and blend the rice with  1 cup water.

Boil 1 cup of water and 1/3 of the blended mixture and cook for 3 mins

Mix the cooked mixture, the remaining  blended rice, sugar, yeast (and water if needed). Place in a warm place for 30 mins.

While the mixture is rising, prepare your molds. 

Add baking powder and salt. Whisk the batter until just smooth. 

Fill the mold to the 3/4. Let the mixture rise in the mold for 30 min.

Bring a steamer with water to running boil.

Working in batches and place the mold in the steamer. Steam for 25 minutes, or until the Ablo have risen and are firm to the touch.

Remove from the molds and enjoy warm or at room temperature. Serve warm with mgbagba, jus de tomate, piment…

Tips on how to make fluffy Ablo:

  • It is not recommended to use rice flour for this recipe as it will yield a slightly sticky cake with tint of yellow instead of snow-white rice cake.
  • Make sure the rice-sugar mixture is cool completely before adding the dissolved yeast.
  • You will need a steamer for this recipe. Make sure your steamer is ¾ filled with water. Let the steamer boils on high heat for at least 10 minutes before steaming the cakes.
  • If your yeast isn’t frothy or bubbly after 10 minutes, it’s probably expired. The active dry yeast is the key ingredient in this recipe.