Hello, and welcome to Homespun Capers. My name is Liberty and I am a young artist and home cook. In this blog I will document my experiments in the kitchen of my inner suburban apartment in Melbourne, Australia. My cooking focuses mainly on whole foods that are free of refined sugars and processed ingredients. You’ll find most of the recipes here plant based, and generally gluten and dairy free (or with substitutions given).
This first recipe I’ve chosen to share with you was one my mother cooked when I was growing up: Gula Melaka. It’s a traditional Malaysian dessert, containing only three ingredients: sago (tapioca), coconut milk and palm sugar (from which it gets its Malaysian name). It’s a perfect Summer dessert; served chilled, it is refreshing after a spicy meal, and the leftovers (if there are any) make a wonderful breakfast the next morning. This sago pudding manages to feel both decadent and light at the same time, and is one of the dishes I make that I get asked for the recipe repeatedly.
Gula Melaka - Malaysian Sago Pudding
Adapted from Old Food by Jill Dupleix
1.5 L | 6 cups of water
185g | 1 cup small sago (tapioca) pearls
100ml | 1/3 cup + 1 tbls coconut milk (from the top of the can)
Palm Sugar Syrup
100g coconut palm sugar
Tropical fruit such as mango (to serve; optional)
Bring water to the boil on high heat. Once on a rolling boil, add sago in a slow, steady stream whilst stirring continuously (this will prevent sticking). Continue to stir regularly whilst cooking the sago, till the pearls are mostly transparent – when you lift out a few in a spoon the white centres should go mostly clear – about 15 minutes. Pour the sago in a fine mesh strainer over a sink or basin and wash the pearls under cold running water to remove excess starch. Drain.
Pour the sago into a bowl and add half the coconut milk, stir till combined. At this point you can either divide the mix into individual moulds (6 x 100ml) or a larger bowl from which to serve it from banquet style. The moulds are traditional and make for prettier presentation (see pictures above) but I often serve it in a large bowl where people can help themselves. Either way, refrigerate your pudding for at least 1 hour, until set.
To make the syrup, dissolve the palm sugar in the water over a medium heat. Continue to simmer until the syrup reduces to around three quarters of a cup. Allow to cool before serving.
To serve, unmould or portion the sago between serving bowls and drizzle with a tablespoon each of the palm sugar syrup and the remaining coconut milk. Serve with tropical fruit, if desired.