malaysian dessert sago gula melaka recipe

Malaysian Sago Gula Melaka

Sago Gula Melaka is one of the most popular traditional Malaysian desserts and definitely one of my favourite desserts ❤ Sago Gula Melaka is comprised of cooked sago (little tapioca pearls) topped with slightly salted coconut milk and a drizzle of gula melaka (a type of coconut palm sugar originating from the state of Melaka in Malaysia).

I love bringing this dessert to dinner house parties or when I have friends over because the combination of flavours is just to die for and it is probably one of the easiest and fastest to make dessert (after brownies). This dessert is best served chilled so it means you can make the dessert ahead of time and you can be assured that it will still be perfectly fine the next day 🙂

According to  Ayurvedic beliefs, sago is an effective and simple food to “cool and balance one’s body heat” while one is on strong medication or antibiotics!! The more reason to have this dessert 😛


  • 200g sago pearls
  • 1 can of coconut milk or cream (full fat) – the one I use is Ayam Brand
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp of himalayan salt (to taste)
  • 2 cylinders of gula melaka


Cooking sago pearls

  1. In a boiling pot of water, on a medium heat, pour the packet of sago pearls and stir continuously until the sago pearls turn from white to translucent. When the sago pearls float to the top, it means the sago pearls are fully cooked.
  2. Remove the cooked sago pearls into a bowl.
  3. Rinse it under running water to remove the leftover starch. Depending on the brand of sago pearls, it may require more than one time of rinsing to remove all the leftover starch.
  4. Allow the sago pearls to chill in the refridgerator. You can either separate them equally into muffin trays or put the sago pearls into a serving bowl.

Making gula melaka syrup

  1. In a small pot, on a low heat, melt gula melaka with a bit of water. Do not add too much water as it will dilute the sugar. Add just enough water to prevent the sugar from over-caramelising.

Making the salted coconut sauce

  1. Mix the coconut milk or cream with himalayan salt. Set aside in the fridge to chill.
  2. Serve a scoop of the sago, drizzle with gula melaka sauce and salted coconut sauce.
  3. Enjoy!

Tip: Do not be heavy-handed on the salt but enough to balance the sweetness of the gula melaka sauce. Salt is not an option here. It is a necessary ingredient to enhance the flavour of the coconut. Just trust me, the mix of salted coconut milk/cream and sweet gula melaka is just mouth-watering! The complexity of flavours will leave everyone yearning for more 😉


Generation Kitchen


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