Sago Gula Melaka – Malaysia Kitchen S1E6 Recipe

This is one of the easiest Malaysian desserts you can make at home, but there are a few crucial steps to getting the sago and the sauce just right.

 I made this on Episode 6 of Malaysia Kitchen Season 1, and used what turned out to be an aesthetically awkward choice for a mould, thanks to its gigantic size.

A couple of tips to take on board –

  • you will need at least 2L of water in a saucepan to be able to cook the sago properly without having it get too clumpy

  • make sure you stir it gently with a wooden spoon on a slow boil for 10 minutes.

  • turn off the heat BEFORE the pearls become completely translucent (ie. while they still have a small white dot in the middle) and LID the pot for 10 minutes.

  • rinse in a sieve under lots of cold water before transferring into moulds

  • use Malaysian palm sugar, ie. gula melaka, or Indonesian gula aren or gula jawa. They come in logs that are brown in colour. You could also use brown (demerara) sugar but don’t use Thai palm sugar – it’s completely different.

  • if you have time I would suggest heating the coconut cream in a saucepan with a pinch of salt and some pandan leaves in a knot, then letting it cool down before use. If you’re like me you’d be more inclined to just pour coconut cream straight out of a pack, to serve.

Photo courtesy of Bec Murph on Facebook

Photo courtesy of Bec Murph on Facebook

This is the link to the TV series online – the episodes are available for a month after the screening, then removed pending reruns.


  • 500 g Small sago AKA tapioca pearls
  • 500 g Gula Melaka or Malaysian palm sugar (NOT Thai), chopped
  • 700 ml Water
  • 250 ml Coconut cream
  • Salt


  1. In a saucepan, boil 2L water then add sago. Stir every now and then to avoid clumping and cook on low fire until sago pearls become transparent.
  2. Remove from heat, pour sago into a strainer and wash off excess starch in cool running water.
  3. Transfer into dessert bowls and chill for about an hour.
  4. Heat coconut milk over low heat and stir in a dash of salt. Set aside.
  5. In a saucepan, simmer the chopped gula melaka or palm sugar with 700mL water. Continue stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Strain syrup through a sieve into a container.

To serve:
Pour in coconut sauce and syrup over the sago pearls in a dessert bowl.

This was a Live broadcast I ran awhile back, with 2 guests joining me On Air from North America so please excuse the banter.

Sago Gula Melaka

This is my Sago Gula Melaka from my restaurant days.

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