Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar (Sago Gula Melaka)

It’s back to recipes posting! Well, I hope that you guys have enjoyed my few series of posts about Japan overall — food, people, sights…. Today, I feel like it’s very suitable (because of the ‘scorching’ weather) for me to share something really special, that I like a lot since I was a kid.

Sagu or Sago comes from the starchy inner trunk of the sago palm. The trees are cut down just before flowing when the starch reserves have built up in the trunk. Sago palm is commonly seen and grows in the watery swamps in South East Asia. Some people may get confused when talk about sago pearls and tapioca pearls, as they both look almost the same. Tapioca is a starch extracted from the root of cassava. The usage of both tapioca and sago pearls are usually interchangeable.

There’s a special relationship between me and sago pearls. I remember being really fussy when I was a kid (like all kids!). My mom made a dessert that it was optional to add sago pearls. When she made it without, I would not even eat it let alone tasting it. But, when it was made with sago pearls added, I would always be the first one to happily serve and eat it, and made sure I had lots of sago pearls in it. :)

Sago is commonly used in making dessert. One of the most popular Malaysian desserts that uses sago is sago pudding with palm sugar (Malay: sago gula melaka). Gula melaka or palm sugar is another common ingredient used in making Malaysian dessert. It has richer flavour and the colour is darker than both Thai palm sugar and most Indian palm jaggery. Sago itself is tasteless, but accompanied with the rich sweet flavour of palm sugar syrup, and drizzled with lots of coconut milk, is probably the best Malaysian dessert on earth!

As summer is approaching, the weather is getting warmer each day. In London, we have been very lucky to enjoy the warm sunshine and blue sky (not sure how long this is going to last though). But, it’s definitely a good sign of summer. During time like this, when it’s ‘boiling’ hot, I like to cool down myself with a sweet and chilled dessert like sago gula melaka. I prepared them in individual glasses so that when I crave for one, I already got a few handy in the fridge waiting for me. ;) Note: You can also use pandan flavoured sago pearls which can easily be purchased at Asian supermarket nowadays.

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Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar (Sago Gula Melaka)

Ingredients:

200g sago
200g palm sugar, roughly chopped
250ml coconut milk
1 pandan leaf
700ml + 2tbsp water
a pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Boil water in a saucepan, add in sago. Keep stirring to make sure that the pearls do not clump together. Cook until sago pearls become translucent.

2. Strain and wash away excess starch in running cold water.

3. In individual small glasses or cups, scoop enough individual portion of sago pearls. Put in the fridge to set and chill.

4. In a saucepan, pour in coconut milk with the screwpine/pandan leaf tight into a knot. Put in a pinch of salt. Boil at low heat and stir constantly. When it starts to bubble, remove from heat and strain into a bowl then set aside to cool.

5. In another saucepan, melt the palm sugar with 2 tablespoons of water on a low heat. Once become syrupy, set aside to chill.

6. Once sago is set and chilled, serve each individual portion with palm sugar syrup and coconut milk.