Wednesday, 15 April 2009

As Malaysian as you can get - Sago Gula Melaka - Cultural Exchange

If there was one dessert that was truly 100% Malaysian, this would be it. Then again, that's not entirely true as I can also think of a myriad of other desserts that are truly Malaysian. So let's try again. If there was One truly Malaysian dessert that could be Home Made without any fancy equipment (like Ice Scrapers - think Ais Kacang or Cendol!) then this would be it. Hang on, then what about all the tradional Kuih (sweet cake like things but not quite cakes...)that can also be made at home? That's the trouble with Malaysia - just too many varieties of food and dessert!

Okay. How about this? My Favourite Malaysian Dessert, that can be home made without any fancy equipment would be this!

All said and done, Sago Gula Melaka is definetly a famous Malaysian dessert and a firm favourite Everywhere in the country and especially in my house! I would even go so far as to say that Sago Gula Melaka is the quintessential Malaysian Dessert!

Sago Gula Melaka is really not that difficult to make. All you need are 3 ingredients:

1. Sago (but of course!)

Sago is commonly sold as sago pearls and is actually the starch from the pith of the sago palm (Metroxylon sagu Rottboll). Sarawak, in East Malaysia, is the world's largest exporter of Sago. To get Sago, the trunk of the sago palm is split lengthwise and the pith is removed. The pith is then crushed to release the starch, washed and strained to extract the starch from the fibrous residue. The raw starch suspension is collected and this is then made into flour. Sago Pearls resemble tiny dried pearls that when boiled become transparent, soft and almost spongy. This is what is used for Sago Gula Melaka.

2. Gula Melaka

Gula Melaka or Malacca Sugar, is also known as Palm Sugar. Gula Melaka is made from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut tree. Some refer to Gula Melaka as Jaggery but technically, Jaggery is sugar made from the Palmyra Tree. I explained this (with pictures) in my very first post on Cultural Exchange

3) Coconut Milk

Sometimes you take things for granted and assume the whole world thinks the same thing. In one of my earlier posts, when I spoke about Coconut Milk, I realised that a lot of my Western blogger friends think that coconut milk is the juice of the coconut, meaning the clear fluid that you get when you break a coconut. No, no, no! That is what we call Coconut Water - the one that is very good for your daughter (Remember Harry Belafonte and his song Coconut Woman?). Coconut Milk is what the Westerners would call Coconut Cream although coconut cream has been thickened and would be far too thick. Coconut Milk is what you get when you grate the 'meat' of flesh of the coconut - the white flesh inside - and then squeeze it to get a lovely milk that is often used as a thickening agent. We refer to this as Santan
When we talk about Coconut Milk in Malaysia, we also regularly refer to the 'first milk' and 'second milk' or 'first squeeze' and 'second squeeze'. The first squeeze is always the thickest and best tasting and sometime you need to add a little hot water to the grated coconut after the first squeeze to get everything out. Very, very seldom would you do a third squeeze.

So there you have it. The three ingredients for Sago Gula Melaka.

How to make it do you say? Ahhh... well, no real recipe is required and neither do I have measurements for you because it is just so simple!

First, Wash the sago well and let it soak in water for a few minutes. Strain the sago and boil it in water till it becomes soft and transparent. Drain and rinse in cold water to remove the starch. Pour it into a large bowl (or smaller bowls if you like) and let it cool. Whisk in an eggwhite - this is to prevent the sago pearls from sticking together too much. Leave in the fridge to get cold.

Make some liquid Gula Melaka by melting some gula melaka shavings with a little water. Make as much as you like.

Finally, make the coconut milk by grating coconut and squeezing out the milk. If you are using canned coconut cream, thin the cream out with a little water. Some people like to use fresh milk as well but the taste is just not as good.

To serve, spoon some of sago out into a serving bowl, add in as much of the Coconut Milk and Gula Melaka as you like and enjoy!

This is really a most delicious dessert and is found in a large number of Malaysian restaurants and hotels. In fact, I remember many years ago when The Lovely Wife and I were dating, I took her out for dinner. After dinner, I suggested we have dessert at the Crystal Crown Hotel, PJ where I knew they served these Huge bowls of Sago Gula Melaka - for a reasonable price too. Not too sure if they still serve it there... Maybe it's time for a return visit. Good thing for me The Lovely Wife enjoys Sago Gula Melaka as much as I do!


Lyrical Lemongrass said...

This is a favourite of mine too. wooed your wife with sago gula melaka? That's so sweet. :-)

Ms. Kong Piang: said...

One of my favourite local desserts, esp. when the coconut milk is fresh and the gula melaka is from Melaka. It makes a difference.

DaviMack said...

It sounds marvelous! Thanks for the directions for making it!

Anonymous said...

hi dharm,

just to let you know that i found your blog a few months ago by accident, and i think it's great! didn't know you were so multi-talented. i like baking too.

catherine @ maxis.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks delicious - something I would totally love. I have not seen sago here before, but maybe I should start looking for it - is it like tapioca?

Dharm said...

Glad you like Sago Gula Melaka too - its just delicious isnt it!! Yeah... wooing my wife with SGM was kind of cute!! LOL

Ms KP,
This was Gula Melaka from Melaka - and the coconut milk was freshly squeezed too. Definitely makes a difference!

David, let me know if you try it

Thanks for leaving a note that you visited! Didnt know you liked to bake too...!

Sago pearls are a little bit like tapioca pearls and some people substitute it - but its not as nice!

Foodycat said...

Oh yum! I love sago!

glamah16 said...

ove Tapaioca. That looks yummy.

Anonymous said...

mmm...delicious! Great blog, I'll definately be trying some of your recipes!

npm said...

hi there..this my 1st time since i started blogging recently that i found a male baker on blog :). yr kids & wife must be really lucky to have u ard!


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