Sunday, August 22, 2010

Steamed Sago Rolled in Coconut

Malaysian local cakes or "kuih" as we Malaysians call it are more often steamed than baked, and thus very different in texture, flavour and appearance from Western cakes or puff pastries. They are mostly sweet, but some are savoury.

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.

sago 2

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.

Cook's Note:

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.

sago 4

sago 1

sago 3


Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

How on earth can anyone resist these kuih?! I'd rather not sacrifice on coconut milk/sugar and eat the real thing. After all, it's not everyay we eat them. Your styling is beautiful, Jo! Love the ethnic touches.

Cooking Gallery said...

These are one of my favourite childhood snacks...!! Thanks for the recipe, Jo :)!

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favourite sago dessert. Haven't had it for along time. Love the colourful take!

MaryMoh said...

I need some of these beauties. So long I have to eaten them. They are very good for afternoon tea.

Anncoo said...

These are so beautiful. I made these before but I think yours look so much better than mine. Thanks for sharing.

G.Pavani said...

hi,first time here u have a nice space n sago in coconut looks yummy n colourful

tigerfish said...

I love the entire presentation of these :) gorgeous!

Jessica said...

Yum! Can't wait to try these yummy cakes!

youfei said...

This reminds me of my home econs lesson back in secondary school =p

We made oneh it similar?

The vibrant colours in these sure looks really appetizing! =D

noobcook said...

is this like oneh oneh? They are gorgeous and I love the way you serve them in the porcelain cups. beautiful capture :)

Jo said...

Hi all, thanks for dropping by.

Hi Ju, haha .. I know exactly what you mean.

Hi Cooking Gallery, Ellie, Mary, I haven't had these for ages as well and my hubby suddenly brought up the idea.

Hi Ann, hope the next time round it turns out better.

Hi Pavani, Tigerfish, thanks.

Hi Jessica, if you do try them let me know.

Hi Youfei, Wiffy, do you mean ondeh-ondeh (oneh-oneh). If yes, they are different. Ondeh-ondeh uses glutinous rice flour whilst this is just using sago only.

Jess @ Bakericious said...

looks so beautiful, how to resist such temptation?

Blogger said...

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