Alua – Macanese Christmas Candy

This famous but rare dessert originated in Macau by the Portuguese around the mid-1800’s and became most popular during the annual Christmas Holiday Season. Many Macanese families would purchase dozens at a time and give them to relatives and friends as Christmas gifts

The recipe was closely guarded by a few individuals who
refused to share its secret recipe even with members of their own
family. When these people died, no one was able to duplicate the
original taste and texture as good as the original Alua even though
many people tried. Then after many years of experimenting with
different ingredients and measurements, this recipe developed into the closest comparison to the original. The only difference is that instead of hand mixing which was the only tedious way in the 1800, it can now be mixed with an electric mixer which saves on the arm fatigue.

  • 28 oz. Coconut milk (2-14oz. cans.)
  • 5 lb. Sweet Rice Flour (modified with non-glutinous flour)
  • 1 lb. Sweet French Butter
  • 2 cups Dark brown sugar
  • 10 oz. Sliced Almonds
  • 8 oz. Chopped Pine Nuts
  • 14 oz. Shredded Coconut Flakes
  1. Soak sweet rice flour overnight in 8 quarts of water.
  2. Drain excess water that rises to top and cook sweet rice slowly over low heat stirring constantly until creamy smooth. Add a little of the drained water if mixture starts to thicken.
  3. In a separate pan melt butter and dissolve sugar in coconut milk while stirring constantly until creamy smooth.
  4. Turn off heat and then add almonds, pine nuts and fold into mixture.
  5. While mixture is still warm and pliable, place into shallow buttered and sugared pans 1" thick.
  6. Refrigerate until firm, then cut into 3" squares, or 1" x 6" bars.
  7. Wrap in wax paper or plastic and then in aluminum foil.
  8. Freeze.
  9. When thawed, a sugar coating will crystallize on the exterior which will give the Alua a crunchy exterior with a soft chewy interior.
  10. Best if thin sliced to ⅛" thickness and eaten with plain hot tea.