"Cendol is one of many in a genre of ice desserts eaten commonly in Malaysia and throughout Southeast Asia. Like most Malaysian street sweet snacks, its flavour profile is based on the holy trinity of Southeast Asian dessert ingredients – coconut, pandan and palm sugar – delicious and refreshing!" Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2






Skill level

Average: 4 (52 votes)


  • 400 ml water
  • 4 pandan leaves (see Note)
  • 1 tsp pandan essence (see Note)
  • 65 g mung-bean starch (see Note)
  • iced water



  • ½ cup desiccated or shredded coconut or coconut flakes
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 110 g (½ cup) sugar
  • small pinch of salt
  • 400 ml full-fat coconut milk


Gula melaka syrup

  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • 100 g dark palm sugar (gula melaka)
  • 1 tsp salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need a cendol mould for this recipe (or use a colander - see Note)

You will need to make the granita a few hours in advance, or even the day before, to allow time for it to freeze.

To make the granita, toast the coconut in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and golden brown. Add the water and sugar to the pan and increase the heat to high. Bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk to the pan and heat until the mixture almost comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and leave the mixture to stand for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture into a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze. Every few hours, use a fork to break up the ice crystals that form. Continue to 'fork' the mixture every few hours until completely frozen into a slushy-like consistency.

To make the gula melaka syrup, place the water, palm sugar and salt in a saucepan and heat over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Blend the water and pandan leaves in a blender until very fine. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Add the pandan essence and mung-bean flour. Stir over medium–high heat until the mixture has thickened and become translucent; there should be no remaining cloudiness.

Transfer the mixture to a cendol mould (see Note). Using short, quick movements, push the mixture into a bowl of iced water to form the cendol. Leave in the iced water for a 2–3 minutes to set, then drain and serve.

Place some of the cendol in a bowl and top with a generous amount of coconut granita. Drizzle gula melaka syrup to taste over the granita, then serve.



• Pandan leaf, pandan essence and mung bean starch are all available from most Asian grocers.

• If you don't have a cendol mould, you can push the mixture through the holes of a colander.


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.

Poh & Co. 2 Thursdays at 8.30pm on SBS.


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