Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Pearl Of The East - Sago Gula Melaka (Sago Pudding With Palm Sugar Syrup)

This is an incredibly satisfying pudding for me but it does provoke one of those Marmite moments - You either love it (good on you for having great taste in food) or loathe it (what's the matter with you?) For me, this induced fond memories of yesteryear, just like the Ondeh Ondeh, this is something my nan will frequently prepared and being a firm favourite amongst us kids, it's almost a fail safe foolproof pudding as my cousins and I would lap it up without any persuasion, sometimes going in for seconds or even thirds!

The glutinous property of the sago pudding is one main reason why many people also detest it. But to be fair, that only happens when it is badly done, i.e. overcooked which rendered it to the unpleasing gloopy, mushy gelatinous texture which will put any baby food to shame. To prevent this, it first need to be rinse to get rid of any excess starch and then soaked in lots of water to swell up each individual pearl before simmering them to the point of just slightly undercooked. It will then continue to cook from the residing heat to the perfect, bouncy texture that I remember so fondly of.

The pièce de résistance is then the crowning glory of the creamy fragrant coconut sauce and the sweet gula melaka syrup which just made the whole pudding all the more moreish. Mmm....I can just have a big bowl of this and in fact, I did!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

200g sago
250g gula Melaka / palm sugar, chopped
50ml water
300ml coconut milk
2 pandan leaves, tied into knots
tiny pinch of sea salt


Wash and rinse the sago, then soak in plenty of cold water for 20 minutes.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Drain the sago before adding to the pan and simmer for 8 minutes, or until they just starting to turn translucent. Drain in a fine sieve and shake to get rid of any excess water. Spoon the sago into 4 ramekin and press lightly to pack firmly. Leave to cool before chilling in the fridge for an hour to set.
(Note: They will continue to cook off the heat so do not overcooked them or they will be gloopy and mushy.)

In the meantime, prepare the sauces. Combine the chopped gula melaka with the water in a small pan and cook over medium heat until fully dissolved and you have a smooth syrup. Set aside to cool.

For the coconut sauce, heat up the coconut milk in a small pan, add the salt and pandan leaves and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

To serve, loosen the sago from the mould and tip onto individual serving dish. Spoon over the coconut sauce and then the gula melaka sauce.


  1. yum...did you use fresh or canned coconut for this? I can't find any fresh coconut in London unless I go down the labor intensive route of actually buying a coconut and grating, squeezing etc.

  2. The Squishy Monster11 October 2012 at 19:04

    the glutinous properties of this is precisely why I would adore this! Lovely dish!! =)


  3. I used the canned ones as like you say, the fresh ones are too laborious when you just want a quick and simple treat. But I think the fresh ones would make this taste even better!

  4. I LOVE sago! This looks great

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