Friday, May 24, 2013

Foodie Friday: Sago Gula Melaka

(We all know I love to eat, so you know I am not kidding around when talking about food. On Fridays, let me torture myself and anyone who might stumble upon this travel blog with a photo of a delicious food I had in my travels. This includes food I made myself. Yes, I cook. This week, Foodie Friday is something special. Not only do I tell you about my favorite dessert, I also show you how to make it. Here it is: Sago Gula Melaka.)

Sago Gula Melaka
Sago Gula Melaka (my own version of it)

It is easy to fall in love with a place like Malacca. Due to this fantastic location along the west coast of Malaysia, it became one of the most prosperous trading ports in Southeast Asia. This UNESCO World Heritage City has a rich colonial architecture, a diverse ethnic make-up, and most importantly, one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. One staple of Malaccan food is Sago Gula Melaka. It is made with cool, soft sago pearls immersed in rich coconut milk and sweetened with dark palm sugar, i.e., gula melaka, which is sold in big solid blocks in the food markets of the city. I first had this sweet and creamy dessert in the Old Town of Malacca and it instantly became a favorite. Of course, making the dessert here in the Philippines, I had to content myself with what's available. I was not able to find palm sugar, so I used muscovado. It is not as dark as gula melaka but it does the job. So without further ado, here is a recipe for Sago Gula Melaka.

Sago Gula Melaka

Sago Gula Melaka Ingredients:
~ Sago pearls (ideally the small ones)
~ Pandan leaves
~ Coconut milk
~ Fresh/evaporated milk
~ Palm sugar (preferably gula melaka but muscovado a good substitute)
~ Water

1. Boil a pot of water. Make sure you have enough in your pot as the sago absorbs the water like nobody's business.
2. When the water boils, lower the heat and pour in your bag of sago pearls. Tear a few leaves of pandan and add them into the pot to give that distinct fresh pandan flavor to your pearls.
3. When the sago pearls become translucent and begin to float on the water's surface, then they are done. Drain the water and run the sago pearls under the tap to remove the starch. This prevents the sago from sticking together.
4. Pour the sago pearls into a dish and set the sago aside in the fridge.
5. Pour coconut milk into a pot and add a few leaves of pandan. Heat the milk on the stove. Coconut milk can be too creamy (and oily, I think), so add fresh or evaporated milk in there. When heated, set aside in the fridge.
6. Melt palm sugar on a pan until you have dark sweet syrup. Set aside in the fridge.
7. When all your ingredients have cooled down, simply plate the sago and add in a generous amount of coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. Enjoy!

Which dessert you had in your travels became your favorite? Have you tried making it at home?

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