Sago Gula Melaka (Tapioca pudding with brown sugar syrup)

Sago Gula Melaka (Tapioca pudding with brown sugar syrup)

{and friendship}

I made this pudding a few months back in the heat of summer. The light back then was much brighter and pure than the greyish colors we are having now. It was hot, and turning on the oven wasn’t much of an option. For dessert I made maple syrup ice-cream, watermelon granita and countless numbers of salads.

Looking at these old photos brought back certain segments of memories, too. The memories of those dear friends who used to sit around our long table, dining with us in joy and laughter. It will be really nice to have friendships that last and have those people stay around here. But I guess part of being a friend is letting our friends go, keep in touch and hold onto the memories.

I remember this was my first attempt at Sago Gula Melaka, and how much B. and my MIL loved it. It was their childhood favourites, after all. Thankfully it was a breeze to make with ingredients from the pantry.

The best thing about this dessert must be the sticky and dark syrup. The traditionalists say gula melaka (dark palm sugar, not the pale rock hard ones) must be grated. I, however, have had good results using dark brown sugar with a few tablespoons of golden syrup. Fewer messes are always welcomed in my kitchen.

Sago Gula Melaka (Tapioca pudding with brown sugar syrup)

Yield: 4-6

This is a really versatile recipe. When I am lazy to grate the palm sugar, I just use dark brown sugar with a few spoons of golden syrup to replace it. Taste great!


  • *320g tapioca pearls
  • *1 can of coconut milk (400ml)
  • *200g gula melaka, grated (or an equal amount of dark brown sugar)
  • *125ml water
  • *ยฝ teaspoon vanilla


  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil then add the tapioca pearls. Stir well, bring back to the boil then turn off the flame. Cover and let it sit for 15-20 mins. The pearls are cooked when they become transparent.Put into a sieve and rinse with cold water to remove extra starch.
  2. Put the tapioca peals into mould. I find individual moulds the best. Chill for at least 2 hours.
  3. To make the source: Boil the water with sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the coconut milk, bring back to simmer then turn off the heat. Chill.
  4. To serve: Invert the pudding into a serving plate, and serve with lots of sugar sauce.

36 Responses to Sago Gula Melaka (Tapioca pudding with brown sugar syrup)

  1. Rosa says:

    A delicious pudding! Tapioca is so addictive.



  2. Janine says:

    this comes a little slow but i love the new blog layout! and your sago gula melaka must be one of the prettiest i’ve ever seen. looking at it now makes me drool!

  3. Susan says:

    Fantastic looking dessert. It took me a while to develop a liking for tapioca, but now I’m hooked. Delicious flavors here, and a beautiful new site design. Congrats, Anh!

  4. yum love this dessert! i must admit im guilty of doubling my ratio of gula melaka ๐Ÿ˜›

  5. Magda says:

    I’ve never tasted tapioca before. It’s a very foreign ingredient to me but it’s intriguing. I want to give it a try!
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. Those are such gorgeous photos! It’s very dreamy with the addition of those flower petals. ๐Ÿ˜€ I love sago, but I can never seem to get the texture right. Your recipe makes me want to give it another go. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Thanks for sharing this blog…Really nice one.Sago Gula Melaka i liked

  8. Winston says:

    Oooooooh I’m lovin the new layout of the blog, Anh! Well done! Anyway, this is such a fantastic dessert and I’m glad to see you blog about it so that more people can know of the wonders of sago with gula melaka and coconut milk. Glad to hear your first attempt was a successful one very inspired to try making my own too. And great tip about adding the golden syrup, will have to try that as well. Hope you’re well over there, Anh. Take care! =)

  9. Love tapioca. The pudding looks irresistible!

  10. KankanaWww says:

    The presentation is so beautiful and so is that white flower. My mom makes ‘sabu payesh’ . It’s like a pudding very similar to yours :)

  11. You presentation is gorgeous… I love tapioca pearls in desserts, so I’ll be trying this out.

  12. I love this recipe Anh! Using sago in desserts is just beautiful. I’m really impressed with how easy you gula melaka is (and great tip about using dark brown sugar!). Cheers!

  13. Shirley says:

    I’m not familiar with this dessert, but it’s beautiful!

  14. I love that last picture! So so pretty, you can see each pearl. Now you’ve got me craving Cendol with all this gula melaka talk! :-)

  15. Yummy! This is one of my favorite desserts. Miss it a lot, perhaps I should make it again? Hehe…

  16. A beautiful dessert. I’m glad that I’m not the only one that is lazy about palm sugar too. Thanks for the tip about using brown sugar with golden syrup!

  17. Lynda Bay says:

    Wow! Looked like an ice cream cake! :)

  18. Luuuurve tapioca! What a gorgeous dish :) its perfect!

  19. Wokandspoon says:

    One of my childhood favourites as well. Haven’t had this for sooo long ! Absolutely gorgeous. Don’t think we get the real palm sugar here though. Only light brown rock!

  20. Nik S says:

    Wow, I love the cuteness of your tapoica pudding. It reminds me of desserts from home where we would eat tapoica quite often!

  21. food-4tots says:

    This dessert brings back many of my childhood fond memories. It’s not so easy to get the real palm sugar in the supermarket now. Maybe I should make one using dark brown sugar. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. Sihi says:

    Gorgeous looking pudding! Bet it tastes like heaven. Love tapioca in all forms.


  23. Liz says:

    What a gorgeous presentation! My family LOVES tapioca…and your recipe looks lovely~

  24. Wow Anh,beautiful and amazing flavors, and the pics are superb as always

  25. mjskit says:

    This tapioca pudding looks absolutely delicious! It’s certainly not the tapioca that I grew up with. Love the brown syrup and the pictures – gorgeous!

  26. Simone says:

    O that looks so pretty! Tapioca is not something that is used here a lot and I think I’ve only ever tasted it once but this sounds interesting so I will keep it in mind f,or when I do run across some tapioca!

  27. What a gorgeous pudding Anh! I love how you can see each individual pearl in your beautiful photos.

  28. Those tapioca look like white shiny pearls. I love tapioca pudding- we make it a lot too. just a wee bit of cardamom instead of vanila.
    Love the new look of your blog Anh, great job!

  29. JulieD says:

    Anh, this dessert is incredibly gorgeous!! I love the new blog design, congratulations!

  30. Ames says:

    Sago is my favourite asian dessert!! Also love the new blog design too :). Congrats!

  31. What a beautiful and delicate looking dessert, sounds like the perfect light summer dessert.

  32. I love tapioca dessert and this is so beautiful!!! Gorgeous presentation and I really love your photography Anh!!

  33. sonya says:

    that looks sooooo yummy. I also really love your food photography. You have a real eye and knack for it! I can never make my food photos looks as delish as yours!! :)

  34. Soma says:

    So pretty So pretty!!! soft and delicate and delicious.

  35. Simon says:

    It looks too good to eat Ahn. I would try to cook it myself but after looking at yours I know it no matter how good I got it would never match up to what you have created.

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