Malaysian Monday: Sago Gula Melaka (Sago Pudding With Palm Sugar)


Sago Gula Melaka (Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar) 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. 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. 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! If you are up for some photos, click here. 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? 😛

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.
A video about Gula Melaka..

When I first know of Muhibbah Malaysian Monday event, it was the perfect opportunity for me cook the food from the multicultural Malaysian community. I am so honoured to be hosting this month’s Muhibbah Malaysian Monday.

Mari masak, minum, main bersama-sama! (Let’s cook, eat, drink and play together).
Muhibbbah = Goodwill

1)    ANYONE can join in – you don’t have to be Malaysian.

2)    Post anything related to food and Malaysia. It could be about food, drink, a restaurant review, a cookbook, an interesting ingredient, etc, etc. Please  link back to either Test With Skewer or 3 Hungry Tummies in your entry, and also include the words “Muhibbah Monday” somewhere in the post. Thank you 🙂 )

3)    Send us your name, your post(s) name and post URL by the LAST Wednesday of the month. Please write Muhibbah Monday #X in the subject line. We will pull a photo off your post to use in our round-up. (edit: Occasionally, other people may be hosting, so check back with either of us if you’re not sure where to send entries to. There should be a mention on the first Malaysian Monday post of that particular month letting you know where to send entries)

4)    For this month, please email all your entries to me at shannon[at]gmail[dot]com. Suresh (sureshchong[at]yahoo[dot]com) and Shaz (its[dot]sharon[at]gmail[dot]com) will take turns to host, and we will let you know where to send each month’s entry. If you would like to take a turn at hosting, do send Suresh or Shaz an email.

5)    On the first Monday of every month, a round up of all the entries will be posted on the host’s blog.

P/s: Sorry that this post is not published on Monday 😛

4.8 from 4 reviews
Malaysian Monday: Sago Gula Melaka (Sago Pudding With Palm Sugar)
Cook time
Total time
A wonderfully rich Malaysian dessert of Sago drenched with creamy coconut milk and rich sweet flavour of palm sugar syrup.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
  • 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.



  1. By the way those were not worms – but grubs. 🙂

    • The Sabahans call them sago worms.. I think most Malaysians, including me, have not heard of the word grubs. Today I learn a new word 😀

      • They are technically a weevil, but look like a larvae/grub. Interesting which words are used in various cultures (English is the worst for having a different name for pretty much the same thing, but when you grow up with it, it becomes ingrained and difficult to explain).

  2. Thanks so much for offering to host Shannon! Your photos of the sago gula melaka are just unreal! So gorgeous! I made some once for the blog but my photos were awful. Well done you!
    shaz recently posted..Weirdly Wonderful Wednesday: Edible Lily Bulb and Arbutus (and wet market love)My Profile

    • Thanks for your compliments! you know, sometimes looks can be deceiving.. hehe. the main thing is whether it taste good 🙂 I just started picking up photography, still have lots to learn and practice 🙂

  3. I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I just had to come here to read the recipe! Love it! And love your site :-).

    I would like to invite you to share this post (and your other posts 🙂 ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched in May. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

    It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) –

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board 🙂

  4. What an absolutely delightful and unique treat!
    Magic of Spice recently posted..What’s for snack time? Smoked Fontina Crostini with Summer SalsaMy Profile

  5. My hubby’s favorite! Gotta make some soon … thanks for the reminder!
    I think I’ll pass on the pics of the sago worms, thank you 🙂

  6. It looks so great! I would love to do this recipe this weekend. Thanks for the share!

  7. I bought palm sugar for Lemongrass Chicken I made and I fell in love with that sugar! This one looks pretty and delicious Shannon! Love that yellow spoon. Totally beautiful accent!
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Nagoya Style Fried Chicken WingsMy Profile

    • thanks nami! palm sugar has such rich flavours that we use it in almost all Malaysian dessert 🙂 They are green spoons, don’t know why it turn yellow on the photos and the colour combination work out beautifully 😛

  8. Love the addition of pandan leaf…might have given an nice taste to the recipe….
    Lubna Karim recently posted..Mango MousseMy Profile

  9. Who can ever resist such a treat. Emm..em..NOT me!
    Hope you’re having a great day, dear.
    kristy recently posted..Danish Almond CroissantMy Profile

  10. This sounds so delicious on a hot day..too bad it’s really cold in Melbourne right now, but I would still love having a bowl of this with the heater on. 🙂
    Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake recently posted..Andrew’s Hamburgers, Albert Park – serious burger fixMy Profile

  11. On my first visit to a private home in Muar, Malaysia the hostess had very thoughtfully prepared both a European and a Malaysian meal and Sago Gula Melaka was the desert on the local side. Don’t quite know what Zahrah did with all the English-style food – our whole family absolutely delighted in the local lunch 🙂 !

    • Wow that must be quite some lunch your family had! We Malaysians just love entertaining our friends with food. Now you know how easy is the recipe, hope you get to recreate this dessert at home 🙂

  12. What a stunningly delicious pudding – sago is a favourite recipe of mine 😀

    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..MY 100TH CHOCOLATE POSTMy Profile

  13. Hi Shannon this looks very interesting and refreshing. I have never seen screw pine leaves before, and what is sgao? Where would I get them. Looks tasty.
    Suzi recently posted..Mushroom Ceviche with Hearts of PalmMy Profile

    • Sorry Suzi! I was rushing to get this post published, that I forgot to take the photos of both sago pearls & screwpine leaves. I will take the photos & add them later. I have added new links in the post (to other website) for description and photos. Sago & pandan leaves/screwpine leaves are common South East Asian ingredient, you should be able to find them in Asian stores.

  14. This is one of my favs! Love it esp on a hot hot days.

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