Sago Gula Melaka Recipe

Gula Melaka
Gula Melaka

Finally I am back in my hometown. These day it was really hectic for me but I just could not pass out the opportunity to join this month’s SHF #15 hosted by Sam in Becks & Posh. So as usual I go for the easiest recipe I can find but of course still very tasty.

Since we are looking for dessert low in sugar and best to feature natural sugar, all I can think of was the Gula Melaka in my pantry. It is an all natural sweet sugar made from the sap of the coconut palm. As the name implies, it is widely known in Melaka and a favourite use among the Peranakans in both meals and desserts. Here in Malaysia, it comes in form of rolled blocks. These sweet rolls have distinct flavour themselves, not light brown sugar or honey or even golden syrup or dark molassess. You got to taste it to know it but as you know, it will always be a star in every sweet recipe if added. Yes it is that distinct.

Gula melaka is usually the star in many of our local Nonya kuih (our local cakes) alongside with the famous pandan leaves that I have kept talking about. It is used to make many other sweet desserts like cendol (I would talk about this nest time). I had even used it to make my macaroons! Really versatile and pair really well with pandan and coconut.

Here I made a really simple recipe using sago pearl. Sago is actually starch from the sago plant which can be made into pudding and is also usually added to many of our local ‘tong sui’like my Hak Lor Mai. This time I made sago pudding drizzle over with little bit of evaporated milk and then drown in gula melaka syrup. Heaven!

Sago Gula Melaka
Sago Gula Melaka

Sago Gula Melaka

The recipe here is in terms of guessing and estimating as it is to modify to suit ones taste, whether you want it really sweet, or less or more milk or vice versa. Besides, the amount yield would also differ according to your pudding cups. I made mine in little bowls since I have none. Ah, displaying my lack of kitchen tools again.

100g sago pearls
50 gula melaka
½ cup of evaporated milk

Bring water to boil in a pot
Add sago pearls to boil for 10-15 minutes or all the pearls are translucent (best to keep stirring as I have some stuck at the bottom once left unattended)
Remove from heat, pour onto a sieve and wash with running water.
Drain excess water and put aside.
Press the sago pearls into pudding cups, packing it tight together.
Refrigerate it for 1-2 hours then serve cold.

Melt gula melaka in a pot or microwave with about ¼ to ½ cup of water to it. (This amount depends how diluted you want your syrup to be. Chill.

When serving, unmould the sago pudding onto bowl, drizzle over with evaporated milk then drown it with the sweet exotic gula melaka and enjoy an all natural sweetness goodness.

Yields bout 6 small puddings or 3 large ones

Tagged with: SHF # 15 + Low Sugar

Coconut Macaroons Recipe

Where have I been? Life has been good I assure you. But it does not mean life had been easy. I am up to my neck with assignments and my final year project. With Chinese New Year coming, this coming Sunday to be precise, we at the university had been trying to cram everything into this week, in order to make way for a week long holiday. I will be homeward bound this Thursday, and I promise many pictures of my beloved Taiping and of course, our huge celebration marking a New Year in the Chinese Calendar.

My friend would also be celebrating her birthday next week, and I promised her a cake. I asked her for the flavours she liked, and she came up with a challenging theme, “Colourful”. How creative! It got me excited, yet I have not even thought of what to make.

Rabbit from Pearl of the Orient is hosting this month’s Hay Hay is Donna Day event, which she had won the last time with her really beautiful swirled self frosting cupcakes. I had joined that too at last minute with my Pandan Kaya Frosted Cupcakes. Now I could not pass up this opportunity.

The base recipe is simple and with lots of place to tweak and improvise. Here’s two version of mine. I tried to make it cute for Rabbit, and readers who would be voting, but could not think of any other way than to spontaneously add the little piggie pouncing at the macaroons. Let’s fight for it else it will be gone!

Coconut Macaroons Recipe
Coconut Macaroons

Lemon Macaroons

This I basically just substituted Rabbit’s lime zest with lemon. These are the bunch on the left side in the picture.

2 cups desiccated coconut
½ cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 ½ tbsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 180C
Mix coconut, sugar, egg whites and lime zest in bowl to combine.
Use a spoon to scoop it onto hand and squeeze to it to ball size.
Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 mintues or till light golden.

Makes 12-15 fluffy macaroons

Pandan Gula Melaka Macaroons

This one is an Asian twist to these lovely macaroons. It came on an impulse as I thought of my pandan leaves in the refrigerator. It was in a way inspired by an Asian coconut candy that features basically the same ingredients but cooked till thick and then chilled. This one is really good!

2 cups desiccated coconut
½ cup Gula Melaka (raw palm sugar) or brown sugar
2 egg whites
2-3 tbsp shredded pandan leaves

Preheat oven to 180C
Mix coconut, sugar, egg whites and shredded pandan leaves in bowl to combine.
Use a spoon to scoop it onto hand and squeeze to it to ball size.
Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or till light golden.

Makes 12-15 fluffy macaroons

Chrysanthemum Ginseng Tail Drink Recipe

This is going to be a short post from me. Pardon my lack of writing but it is due to me buried in my final year project. Yes, this dear tham jiak girl is in her last semester now, with her major project due soon. I am going to graduate in May and till then, it would be busy months for me. Yet, I cannot say that I would have more leisure when I work, so I have been warned. Nonetheless, I am excited to join the new phase of life soon.

For now, I am posting for the Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by our lovely Kalyn. I will be introducing a wonderful herb named Chrysanthemum.

Chrysanthemum and Ginseng Tail
Chrysanthemum and Ginseng Tail

It is used in many sweet drinks and ‘tong sui’ in our Chinese cuisine. When boiled, it would be known as Chrysanthemum tea. Since young I have been told that it is good for health. It is particular known for it’s cooling properties.

There is a lovely Chinese history(or rather, legend) behind this wonderful herb; I’m quoting from Flowers and Plants Association:

The Chinese legend tells the story of an elderly emperor who had heard about a magic herb that would give him eternal youth. This herb was said to grow on Dragonfly Island and could only be picked by young people. The elderly emperor therefore sent twenty-four children on what proved to be a long and hazardous journey. Much to their dismay, when they finally arrived at the island they found it totally deserted. There was no sign of the magic herb. All they found was a flower – the golden chrysanthemum, which today still symbolises the Chinese people’s ties with their country. Later Mao Tse Tung replaced the imperial golden yellow with the red of the People’s Republic.

There is also a Japanese version of history in the site if you are interested.

Now let’s go brew yourself some healthy drink.

Chrysanthemum Ginseng Tail Drink Recipe
Chrysanthemum Ginseng Tail Drink

Chrysanthemum Ginseng Tail Drink
Source: Kitchen Capers

Ginseng tail is a type of Chinese herbs. If I am not mistaken, it is the tail part of the ginseng root. It is known as “yang seng xu’ in Chinese. This herb is known for its cooling properties. It gives the drink a type of ‘kam’ (golden) taste. Pretty hard for me to explain this taste as only Chinese could identify to it; like how my Ah Ma always says it that way. Feel free to omit it and you will still have a lovely healthy drink.

Ingredients:
75g Dried Chrysanthemum Flowers
25g Ginseng Tail
2000ml water
Rock Sugar to taste

Blanch Chrysanthemum and Ginseng separately with boiling water.
Boil water and add in Ginseng. Boil for 5 minutes.
Add in Chrysanthemum. Boil for another 5 minutes.
Add in Rock Sugar and taste.
Remove from fire and cover for 10 minutes before serving.

Black Glutinous Rice Dessert : Pandan Leaves

I totally forgot the weekend herb blogging last week, sigh what a shame but it’s alright, I have every week to make it up to it. As I will be going back to my hometown tomorrow, for my grandma’s birthday, this post is early, as on today.

Anyway, this time I would be introduce a wonderful herb available locally in Malaysia. It is always used in both savoury and mostly sweets cooking. They are green in colour and make your food go green but no they are not vegetables, they are actually, pandan leaves.

Pandan Leaves
Pandan Leaves

I have talked bout these pandan leaves before where they were added into our kaya (local coconut jam) as additional flavouring. For me, pandan has the special fragrant smell that is not too strong but yet distinct enough to show its presence while not overpowering the entire dish.

Pandan leaves are a favourite in cooking together with rice like nasi lemak (coconut rice), nasi biryani or chicken rice (we locals here usually have our special Hainanese style oily rice cooked with chicken stock and pandan leaves to go with braised or roasted chicken). It will emit an extra fragrant aroma to the otherwise plain rice. Some people might not even realize its presence but will note how much more fragrant the rice is.

As for the sweets, we locals like to use it in ‘tong sui’ (sweet soup) and also in ‘kuih-muih’ (local cakes). Chinese had always been real good in tong sui making, we have huge varieties with different types of healing properties. I might blog more about it in future, featuring various tong sui that we usually have in Chinese cuisine, ah it can also be part of my ‘exploring my origins’ project.

Well for now, the limelight is on this week’s herb, pandan leaves. I have choices of so many favourites above, but somehow the alluring thoughts of tong sui evaded me and I succumbed to my old time favourite Hak Lor Mai (Sweet Black Glutinous Rice). My grandma use to make this only on occasions, and I would always be thrilled to have a bowful, then another helping, then another and another and…ok, too much! I just love the nutty flavours it emits (though no nuts here), and the crunch of the glutinous rice.

Usually, this Hak Lor Mai would be served with a drizzle of coconut milk, freshly squeezed and this is important as it will affect the flavour of the Hak Lor Mai. Some like a lot of coconut milk, some don’t, and I am one who loves my Hak Lor Mai black, just a little coconut milk plus whole load of pandan smell. Ah, bliss.

Black Glutinous Rice Dessert
Black Glutinous Rice Dessert

Hak Lor Mai (Sweet Black Glutinous Rice)

As now I am no longer in my teens where I can have a bowful and another and another without effect, I had become much more health conscious. Though delicious, coconut milk is not good to be consumed in excess. Therefore, I had substituted it with evaporated milk, and I personally like it much more. Though, this is strictly individual preferences, and most would gaps at this un-authenticity. Anyhow, J seems to prefer the evaporated milk version too, oh that vain boy!

300g Black Glutinous Rice
2 litres of water
4 pcs Pandan leaves

250g Gula Melaka (Palm sugar)
150 ml coconut milk/evaporated milk

Dump everything, except the gula melaka and coconute milk, into the slow cooker and put on auto/low for about 8 hours or overnight.
Next, add in gula melaka and cook till dissolved, bout 15-20 minutes more.
Serve a bowful of Hak Lor Mai with a drizzle of coconut milk or like me, evaporated milk.
This yummy tong sui goes well served warm or chilled.

Black Glutinous Rice Dessert
Black Glutinous Rice Dessert

Alternative method from KC:

Soak rice overnight.
Drain and wash rice the next day.
Put rice into rice cooker to cook.
Add enough water to cook the rice.
When rice is cooked, removed.
Boil water with gula melaka, pandan leaves till sugar is melted.
Add cooked rice to it and simmer over low heat for 2 hours.
Add more water if it dries up.
Served as suggested.

Makes for a person who can finish a bowl, then reach for another, and another, and another and….till the sixth bowl, if still possible 😉 To be safe, share these quickly!

Update: Get all those herbs over at Kalyn’s Kitchen