This is Malaysian all time favourite. If you happened to have your buffet lunch or dinner in any hotel in Malaysia, you are sure to be served with this as your dessert - Without Fail!!!
The combination of cold, smooth, springy sago pearls (albeit tasteless), the sweet and scented gula melaka (palm sugar) and the fragrant creamy santan (coconut milk) works so well.
It is easy to prepare, cheap with simple ingredients. There's even no measurement for this recipe, I just "agak-agak" and cooked the sago, anyhow for those who wanted to try this for the first time, here's what I found from the net that can help you.
Sago Gula Melaka
1 cup small sago pearls (pick through but do not wash)
5 cups water
4 pieces pandan leaves*
200g gula melaka**, chopped into small pieces
1 coconut, shaved/grated
a pinch of salt (optional)
1. Put water and pandan leaves into a pot and boil 10 minutes so the pandan flavor comes out. (You can omit the leaves if you prefer the sago to stay transparent-white. The leaves taint the sago slightly yellow). Remove the leaves.
Throw in the sago pearls, stirring well so they don't clump. Let it simmer 10 minutes, stirring all the time. The pearls will turn transparent but there will still be a dot of white in the middle. If you continue cooking till it all turns transparent, most of the pearls will just become glue. So turn off the heat, put the lid on and leave 10 minutes.
2. The pearls will have all turned tranparent. If not, heat through but not boil, turn off heat and let it sit, covered, for two minutes. Bring pot to the sink, add lots of tap water to the hot sago in the pot and stir so that the sago pearls separate. Pour the sago through a metal sieve over the sink and stir with a spoon so that the glue will run through the sieve, leaving just the sago pearls. Rinse enough individual moulds or glasses or a big bowl (more convenient if you are serving it to a large group) and scoop sago pearls in.
The rinsing is to wet the moulds so that it would be easier to turn the sago out. If you like the sago chewy and compact, drain off as much water as you can but if you like a softer pudding, which I do, do not drain till the last drop of glue. Let sago cool in the glasses, then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours until very cold.
3. Meantime, put the gula melaka and about 4 T water in a small pot over low fire to melt the sugar. Do not stir, just let the sugar thicken into a thin syrup. Yummy sugary-coconuty smell! Let it cool; it will thicken slightly. If you let it cook until it is thick, the gula will become hard upon cooling.
4. Add 1 cup water to the grated coconut, 'massage' the coconut well to release the milk (yup, you read me) and squeeze out the santan. Strain santan into a small pot and let it heat through but not boil. I actually prefer not to heat through because I prefer the raw taste of coconut milk which is stronger and tastier. Just make sure everything is super hygenic and that you have a strong stomach if you don't heat through. Add salt if like but I don't because fresh, authentic coconut milk has a sweet and slightly saltish taste. The most important ingredient for this dessert is the santan, which MUST be thick and fresh.
5. Serve chilled sago pudding with the gula melaka syrup and lots and lots of santan. There's only a little santan in my photo above because I had spilled it.
Cook's Note - This is for plain Sago Gula Melaka, you can add color of your preference, while soaking the sago. I colored my blue and red.
Bulan-bulan puasa sebegini, resipi ini memang menjadi POJAAN, murah, mudah , senang dibuat dan yang paling penting sedap sebagai juadah pembuka selera. Untuk ceriakan suasana saya warnakan sago saya mengikut warna 1 Malaysia ...ha...ha MERAH dan BIRU, biasanya orang buat warna asal sago atau pun hijau, apa pun ikut selera masing-masing ya. Kalau hendak mudah untuk santanya pakai aje santan pekat KARA dalam kotak, sebab kadang-kadang santan ni kalau dibiarkan lama warnanya udah tak putih jernih lagi, lebih-lebih lagi nak tunggu sampai azan magrib, saya pakai santan kotak aje.
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