This chilled Malaysian sago dessert is refreshing and comforting at the same time. The flavours in this recipe work in simply harmony. Chilled cooked sago, drizzled with coconut milk and a dark palm sugar syrup perfumed with pandanus leaf.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (150 votes)


  • 200 g (1 cup) sago or tapioca pearls
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 300 ml coconut milk

Palm sugar syrup

  • 135 g (½ cup) dark palm sugar (gula Melaka), chopped
  • 55 g (¼ cup) white sugar
  • 1 pandanus leaf (see Note), torn in half lengthwise, tied in a knot

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.


Soaking time: 4 hours

Place sago in a strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear. Transfer sago to a bowl and cover with water. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 4 hours.

To make sugar syrup, place all ingredients and 90 ml water in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, for 7 minutes or until sugars have dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve. Cool.

Drain sago, place in a large pan of boiling, salted water, then reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until sago becomes transparent. Remove from heat and strain. Rinse in strainer under cold water until sago is clear of starch and cool enough to handle. Drain well. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add beaten egg white and stir to combine.

Divide mixture among 6 x ¾ cup moulds or Chinese tea cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until set. Turn out into bowls and serve with 2 tbsp coconut milk and 2 tbsp syrup, and extra to add as desired.


Available from Asian food shops. 

As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg55.
Photography by Chris Chen