Coconutty Sago Pearl Pudding with Palm Sugar caramel: The dessert that made all the difference

Posted: September 15, 2013 in Asian, Dessert, Family, Little Thumbs Up!, Malaysian, Sweet
Tags: , , , , ,

Whew!  How time flies. One year has gone by in the wink of an eye.

If you have read my post: My ambitious eleven homemade dishes gone in 30 minutes, you will know why this annual get-together has become part and parcel of my nightmare.

I ended with a BIG question mark in that post, as you may have read.  Would I replicate the same stunt?

Yeah, would I?

When the going gets tough…

…the “tough” got weaker… Sorry, folks!  I could not sacrifice another two or three days for this year’s family reunion.  Let’s say, it has been at the back of my mind 😉

This time round, my other half picked the date. Sunday, 8th September, 2013. It was not the most appropriate timing for me as far as my office workload was concerned. Anyway, I went along with the idea for three reasons, firstly, it was just after the summer vacation and the boys have just started their new academic school year, hence, less school work, secondly, we would be sure to have a full quorum and finally, the weather would (still) be reasonably summer-ish.

Good weather we had for sure at 21 degrees Celsius, a full quorum and an early school year stage 😉

Taking it easy

While my workload soared after our summer break, we took it easy by ordering a 3-course set meal from a Traiteur – starter, soup and the main.  A typical Belgian fare of grey shrimps on a bed of salad with cocktail sauce, creamy cauliflower soup, and roasted veal served with assorted vegetables of braised Belgian endives, carrots and peas and green bean bacon bundle and croquettes. No chillies, spices or pungent smelling ingredients for once…

1a. Sago Pudding_Starter1b. Sago Pudding_Main

Wham bam! Then came the dessert:  A huge contrast to the savoury fare!!

By the way, I have never made desserts for my in-laws. In fact I seldom make desserts. I find our classic Malaysian desserts too “heavy”. Hint: glutinous rice, sweet potatoes, deep fried, beans, condensed milk, egg yolks… erm…  I could almost read my Belgian in-laws’ minds “Yuck!

I have made bubur cha cha, tofu fah, lek tau suan many moons ago for my hubs and two boys and the end result was always identical. I ended up eating everything.  Yikes!

In order not to end up a “junkyard”, I made sure I picked the right dessert that would comply with the Belgian palates. LOL!


I wish I owned that special ice machine that churns out the shaved ice. The Ais kacang or ice kacang would have stood out that day.  Mmmm…yums…

Well, wishful thinking aside, I was quite certain that there was one Malaysian dessert that would stand the test of time. I have made it twice or thrice before and my three guys loved it!

It was none other than the simple sago pearl pudding with drizzles of creamy coconut milk and caramelized palm sugar – the jackpot dessert that made all the difference in the world, my world, at least.  Really!

2. Sago Pudding

Easy as ABC

Only 5 or 6 ingredients, and that’s it!

All you need are sago pearls, palm sugar, coconut milk, pandan leaves (or screw pine), water and salt (optional).

I was really glad that I could get almost fresh stock of pandan leaves from our Asian (Thai) store. I used the needed amount and froze the rest.  They freeze very well, by the way.

3a. Sago Pudding_pandan13b. Sago Pudding_pandan2

Pandan leaves are used to aromatize desserts, like vanilla beans or pods. They are also used as natural food colouring.  I love the smell of pandan in cakes, in steamed jasmine rice, nasi lemak and even curries.

Two times Fifteen!

I am really hopeless in estimating the quantity of food for the required number of guests.  I expected 15 eating guests but it turned out that I made twice as much! Well, never mind, we ate the rest for the next four days 😀

Here’s how I made my sago pudding…

Ingredients –

  • 2 x 454g sago pearls
  • 2 x 200g palm sugar plus 2 cups cassonade brown sugar
  • Plenty of water
  • Pandan leaves (I love pandan leaves; hence I used quite a lot)
  • 1 x 400ml creamy coconut milk
  • A pinch of salt (optional)
  • Some vegetable oil

Method –

1)      Boil quite a lot of the water in a big soup pot, and then add the sago pearls, knotted pandan leaves and stirring quite frequently with a wooden spoon, avoiding the sago pearls sticking massively to the base of the pot. The sago pearls are ready when they turned translucent.  Wash away excess starch from the cooked sago and scoop 2 tablespoons into a lightly greased mould.  I used my all-purpose muffin/ cupcake tray!  Grease lightly with vegetable oil. You will be surprise how easy they come out from the mould.

4a. Sago Pudding_sago pearls14b. Sago Pudding_sago pearls2

4c. Sago Pudding_sago pearls34d. Sago Pudding_sago pearls4

2)      In a smaller pot, pour in a small amount of water, palm sugar, brown sugar, and knotted pandan leaves.  Stir until the palm sugar melts and caramelizes while at the same time exuding the most exquisite aroma of the pandan. My three guys kept popping in the kitchen to check that magical scent floating through their nostrils. Ha ha ha!

5a. Sago Pudding_caramel15b. Sago Pudding_caramel2

5c. Sago Pudding_caramel35d. Sago Pudding_caramel4

3)      In a third pan, simmer the coconut milk with a pinch of salt. For the record, this step is optional.  I used the creamy coconut milk straight from the can, without simmering or adding salt in it. It tastes gorgeous with a more intense coconut flavour.  And oh yes, there’s one pan less to wash and 15 minutes less of waiting time!

4)      Refrigerate the sago, palm sugar caramel and coconut milk, preferably overnight.

5)      Serve the sago pearl pudding on a dessert plate or bowl and drizzle with the sticky caramel and creamy coconut milk.

6a. Sago Pudding1

Oh by the way, I had 15 thumbs up (including myself) that day 😉  I was gobsmacked!

7a. Sago Pudding1

Dreamy :-P

Dreamy 😛

As a Belgian would say, “voor herhaling vatbaar”.  I couldn’t agree more. It’s (definitely) worth repeating

I am submitting this post to the Little Thumbs up event with the September theme “PANDAN”, hosted by Joceline from Butter, Flour and Me, organized by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.



  1. Zoe says:

    What a lovely dessert to conclude your family reunion! Yuck???? – It can’t be. I bet that your Belgian in-laws must be super impressed 😀

  2. joceline says:

    wow,yummy,must fully pandan aroma ~ so good。
    Thanks for sharing & link.

  3. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Joceline,
    Thanks for hosting the “pandan” event. There’s a lot we can squeeze out of this ingredient 🙂 Sweet, savoury and yes, very aromatic indeed.


  4. Nasifriet says:


    Yeah, they were super impressed with this dessert. This would probably be my “signature” dessert for my in-laws 😉

  5. Chris says:

    Happy Fall, Isadora! The dessert looks absolutely yummy! 😀 Hope you are doing well. Can’t believe it’s fall already!

  6. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Chris!!

    Where have you been???? Long time no hear?? Hope all is well at your end. Yes, fall or autumn is here! That’s when our walnuts start ripening and falling off the tree 🙂 Wanna some??? There’ll be lots this year compared to last year.


  7. Chris says:

    I’ve been so busy. I would love me some fresh walnuts but it would probably cost a fortune to send some over. 😀

    Miss you lots,

  8. Nasifriet says:

    I read your latest post and I understood your MIA 🙂

    Take care and warm hugs (back to cold days ahead…)

  9. Sago is my favourite. This is really a dessert to die for.
    2 thumbs from me 😀

  10. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Doreen 😀

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