It has often been said that Malaysian cakes and desserts know nothing at all about the word "healthy living and eating". I guess this is somewhat true and being a Malaysian, I'm not going to deny this totally. The local cakes are laden with sugar and/or coconut milk. The younger generation nowadays will tend to make the local cakes with less sugar and coconut milk. However small sacrifices in terms of taste will of course have to taken into account. When making such local Malaysian cakes the common ingredients used will include coconut, pandan leave, palm sugar, glutinous rice flour, sago and tapioca.
For most Malaysian cakes there is no single "original" or "authentic" recipe. Traditionally it was our great-grandmothers or grandmothers who would make such cakes and they never ever had written recipes to rely upon. Such recipes were passed from one generation to another - from great-grandmother, to grandmother to mother and now to daughter. If you were to ask whether it was one tablespoon or two, the usual answer would be "around that" or in local Malay language "agak-agak". They would instinctively take handfuls of ingredients and mix them without any measurements or any need of weighing scales. All is judged by its look and feel, the consistency of the batter and how it feels to the touch.
Steamed Sago Rolled in Coconut
Serves 4 - 6
Ingredients to be steamed:
80g fresh grated coconut (do not use dessicated)
1 tsp salt
Place grated coconut on a plate and place in a steamer. Steam for 15 mins, remove, set aside and cool the coconut completely.
Ingredients for the Sago:
250g sago pearls (soaked in cold water for 15 minutes and drained)
80g grated Coconut
50g caster sugar
50g chopped palm sugar (gula melaka, if not available use caster sugar)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Pandan essence
1 1/2 tsp rose extract (or replace with 2 tsp rose syrup)
A few drops of red food colouring
A few drops of green food colouring
60ml coconut cream (or coconut milk)
1) Divide the sago pearls into two portions and put them in separate bowls.
2) Add half of the grated coconut and coconut cream into each bowl. Add 1/2 tsp salt into each bowl
3) In one bowl, add the palm sugar, rose extract and red food colouring. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to ensure that everything is combined.
4) In the other bowl, add the caster sugar. Then add the green food colouring and the pandan essence. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to ensure that everything is combined.
5) Steam the red sago for 15 minutes and then add the green sago and steam for another 15 minutes. Let the sago cool a little. Then slice it and roll the pieces in the steamed grated coconut.
6) Serve immediately.
This dessert tends to go off if kept too long due to the fresh grated coconut. It does not keep well especially in humid weather. The steaming of the fresh grated coconut helps to keep it from turning off too quickly.