Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Light and Easy Traditional Gula Melaka Sago Pudding


You are relaxing at a tropical place, enjoying a light breeze and warmth at 30°C (86°F).

You want something ice cold and refreshing... like a beer, cocktail or icy cold soft drinks.

Or something sweet and soothing... like the traditional southeast Asian desserts that are made with coconut milk.

Are you thinking of what I'm thinking? Yes??? I'm talking about desserts like bubur hitam, chendol and bo bo cha cha. These are the desserts that I crave to eat the most during summery weather like NOW! Unfortunately, the health conscious me have not been eating much of these anymore.

Are these yummy desserts going to be erased from my memory? Kind of sad, isn't it?

"Do you miss eating bo bo cha cha or chendol?" I asked my husband.

"A little... but please don't cook them because we will end up eating more than one bowl!!!" Like me, my husband is conscious of the fat and sugar content of these desserts.

I know! I shall cook something similar but something that is really light, simple and easy. So light that we won't feel guilty after enjoying the dessert. So simple that I can make in small portions. So easy that I can make this quick and often. Hence this is what I have made...

light and easy traditional gula Melaka sago pudding
The light and easy traditional gula Melaka sago pudding
To start, I need to make a gula Melaka syrup.
This gula Melaka, a Malaysia made product is commonly found in most Asian groceries.
I assembled a few ingredients and made this syrup in less than 10 minutes.
Transfer this syrup into a container with cover and chill it in a fridge.
Next I cooked the fine sago.

IMPORTANT: Please aware that sago is NOT tapioca pearl!!! Although the sago do look like tapioca pearl, they are different as they are lighter and easier to digest with less chewy texture. So please take note!

Distribute the well-drained sago into cups or moulds.
Wrap them with cling wrap and chill them in a fridge.
When the syrup and sago are both nice and cold... I assembled and served this dessert with chilled coconut milk.
light and easy traditional gula Melaka sago pudding
Imagine eating this cold, light, refreshing and delicious gula Melaka sago pudding on a hot summer day...
Super satisfying!!!

"Yummm.... Mum, can I have more of these eggs?" asked my son after finishing his bowl of sago pudding.

"Honey, they are not eggs! They are sago!" I tried to explain.

"I don't want sago! I want gula Melaka eggs!!!"

Hmmm... What can I say?

Here's the recipe from the book, The Penang Nyonya Cookbook by Cecilia Tan

Serves 4

100g gula Melaka, plus extra to sprinkle when served
1 pandan leaf, washed, split and knotted*
125g water
salt to taste
200 ml coconut milk, I
 really like the lighter version of this dessert made with Ayam brand coconut milk with 13% fat
100g fine sago (NOT pearl tapioca)

*If fresh pandan is unavailable, you can either omit this ingredient or replace this ingredient with a small amount (1-2 drops) of pandan essence or extract.

Place gula Melaka, pandan leaf and water in a small saucepan. Bring it to boil and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved (less than 5 mins). Taste the syrup and add extra sugar or salt according to your preference but I reckon this amount of sugar is perfect. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool, then chill it in the fridge.

To cook the sago, fill a medium pot with adequate water. Add a pinch of salt and bring it to boil. Add sago and cook until transparent. Pour through a sieve to drain excess water. Divide sago into cups or moulds, then chill them in the fridge.

If you are using coconut milk that is squeezed from grated coconut, add a pinch of salt into the milk and bring to boil. Leave it to cool to room temperature, then chill it in the fridge. If you are using the canned coconut milk, you don't have to cook it before consuming it. Just empty the milk into a clean bowl, mix in a pinch of salt and chill the milk in the fridge.

Combine cold sago with cold coconut milk and syrup and serve.

Enjoy the dessert
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As this is a traditional Southeast Asian dessert to eat for all occasions including Chinese New Year, I would like to link this post at Cook and Celebrate: Chinese New Year 2016 hosted by Yen from GoodyFoodies, Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids at here.


  1. I love gula melaka sago pudding, normally they only have it in Nyonya restaurants.. But usually I will have cendol.. I want one bowl with extra gula melaka and milk please, haha..

  2. I love gula melaka but had them with bean curd than sago pudding. By the way you use shortening very often in baking right? Which is better butter or shortening.

    1. Hi Nammi,

      I prefer to use butter of course! It is tastier with nice milky flavour. Plus I will only use shortening with no trans fat and less saturated fat... I will definitely say NO to Copha shortening and also less to coconut oil because they are extremely high in their saturated fat content.


  3. My mum makes this for us pretty regularly, Zoe. This is wonderfully done! ^.^

  4. Wow , this looks delicious altough the ingredients are imposible to find here in Southamerica, I think. But, what i like from your blog is that, in Australia is summer like in here. When i read European or Northamerican blogs they are all in winter so I feel that your blog its really special to me beause we share something, like the season.

  5. Thanks for the information of Sago n Tapioca pearls. I really wonder what is Sago as all the time we thought Sago is made of Sago or tapioca flour. Some recipe writer asked us to soak the Sago for 10-20 mins. At the end, all became a bowl of powder water.

  6. Don't know this dish, but the recipe looks wonderful. Yes, I'd like more than one bowl -- thanks for asking! :-)

  7. Hi Zoe, your bowl of gula malacca sago pudding looks tempting. Feel like having a bowl now...slurp!!

  8. I always thought that sago is tapioca pearls... Hmm, that's good information... this must have tasted delicious, that combination is really tempting...

  9. Looks yumz! Though I always struggle with the big chunk of gula melaka. :p

  10. My all time favorite Malaysian dessert! Yumms!

  11. Hi Zoe,
    My big kids love sago ... they always request me add some whenever I made some green beans or red beans soup dessert.
    This Gula Melaka Sago Pudding is so yummy and refreshing! Time for me to make some too ... hee..hee :)

  12. Nice pudding
    i really love it
    thank you for the recipe :)