Sago Gula Melaka is a quintessential Malaysian dessert that originated from the port city of Malacca. This dessert comprises of three parts, the sago pudding, coconut milk (santan) and Gula Melaka.
The insipid sago when drenched with creamy coconut milk and a healthy drizzle of sweet caramel-like syrup becomes a wonderfully rich dessert you want to tuck into over and over again.
Sago is a form of starch extracted from the pith of sago palm stems which are now commercially produced in the shape of ‘pearls’. These pearls take the form of dry opaque balls not more than 2 mm in diameter. Boiling sago can be a messy affair as the excess starch tends to get everywhere and can be quite the nightmare to remove. Don’t let this put you off though because the end results is something that will definitely impress!
Gula Melaka is palm sugar which is extracted from the sap of the flower bud of a coconut tree which then boiled until thickened and packed into bamboo tubes forming its cylindrical shape. The colour varies from dark brown to a light golden colour. It is widely used in South East Asia to flavour desserts, salads and even curries.
Screwpine leaves, or pandan leaves as they are locally known is a fragrant plant used to infuse fragrance to dishes and also to add colour. I find that it is used in the same way vanilla is used in the West.
In terms of the availability of these products, it is not hard to find. I would recommend popping into your nearest Asian grocer or even the Asian isle of the bigger grocery stores. Living in the UK for the past number of years, I have always easily located these items.
Sago being boiled; Boiled sago
Cupcake tins are the perfect sago moulds
Pandan leaves, gula Melaka and a pinch of salt