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Sago Gula Melaka – Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar

Sago Gula Melaka – Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar

Sago Gula Melaka is a typical Malaysian dessert. Simplicity best describes this dessert because you just need 3 simple ingredients and it can be prepared in 15 minutes.
By Shannon Lim

Sago Gula Melaka

The insipid sago pearls when drenched with creamy coconut milk and rich sweet flavour of palm sugar syrup becomes a wonderfully rich dessert you want to tuck into over and over again.

Both sago pearls and gula melaka (palm sugar) are common ingredients in making Malaysian dessert. Sago is a form of starch extracted from the pith of sago palm stems which are commercially produced in the shape of ‘pearls’. These pearls take the form of dry opaque balls not more than 2 mm in diameter and are commonly used in desserts.

Gula Melaka is palm sugar which is extracted from the sap of the flower bud of a coconut tree which then boiled until thickened and packed into bamboo tubes forming its cylindrical shape. It has richer flavour and the colour is darker than Thai palm sugar and Indian palm jaggery.

Sago reminded me of my trip to Monsopiad Cultural Village, a traditional village of Kadazandusun people of Sabah Borneo. We were shown how to scrap the sago tree sap on nails to produce the sago powder. Besides sago, the tree produces another Kadazan delicacy.. Sago worms! These worms are nutritious protein supplements for the Kadazans, the worms are usually eaten alive or grilled. Eewwww factor to the max! No way I will try! As part of the Malaysian culture, how could I not share this story? :P

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Sago Gula Melaka

Now back to the dessert..  It’s handy to have a few glasses Sago Gula Melaka in the fridge during scorching days like this. Ah.. what a perfect sweet treat to cool myself down at the end of the day.

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Sago Gula Melaka (Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar)

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  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


A wonderfully rich Malaysian dessert of Sago drenched with creamy coconut milk and rich sweet flavour of palm sugar syrup.


  • 200g Sago Pearl
  • 200g Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar)
  • 250ml Coconut Milk
  • 1 Pandan Leaf (Screwpine Leaf)- shred with a fork & tie into a knot
  • 700ml + 2 tablespoon Water
  • A pinch of Salt


  1. Bring water in a medium pot to boil and add in sago. Cook about 10 minutes until sago pearls become translucent (no more white dot in the middle) and stir constantly.
  2. The water will turn starchy, strain the sago in a sieve and wash away excess starch in running cold water.
  3. Scoop sago pearls into individual small glasses and Put in the fridge to chill.
  4. In a small pot, pour in coconut milk with the pandan leaf and a pinch of salt. Boil at low heat and stir constantly. When it starts to boil, remove from heat and strain into a bowl then set aside to cool.
  5. In another saucepan, melt the gula melaka with 2 tablespoons of water on a low heat. Once become it become syrup, set aside to chill.
  6. Serve sago with drizzle of palm sugar syrup and coconut milk.
  • Cook Time: 10 mins


View Comments (2)
  • This was my favorite dessert at a Malaysian restaurant where I used to live. I’d love to make it at home! How important is the pandan leaf? Not sure I can get one…

    Thanks for the recipe. The pics are beautiful!

    • Pandan Leaf is optional, it adds a nice fragrant to the coconut milk. It might not be available at some Asian stores, so you can omit pandan leaf when heating the milk. Now you can enjoy this easy yet delicious sweet treat in the comfort of your home

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