Gula Melaka (palm sugar) Sago pudding is one of the popular dessert among the Peranakan (Chinese-Malay origin). Gula Melaka is originated from a state in Malaysia, the Melaka State (Malacca). Melaka is one of the historical towns in Malaysia besides Penang. It preserved the historical values in every aspect of its town, such as the building architectural, streets, historical items found & of course food. A brief of Milaca’s history here Melaka is one of the state the Baba & Nyonya (峇峇娘惹) originated.
A little touch of Baba & Nyonya from here - Peranakan is descended from Chinese migrants who first came to Malacca many centuries ago. Adopting Malay customs and cultures, theirs is a unique heritage unlike any other. Peranakans are also referred to a 'Straits Chinese'.
It is still a subject of debate whether the Peranakans actually intermarried with the local Malay population or maintained a pure bloodline, but most are said to be of Hokkien ancestry. 'Babas' refer to male Peranakans while 'Nyonya' refer to females. Often Nyonya is used to substitute the term 'Peranakan' as well. Peranakans also settled in Penang, the only other state than Malacca.
In terms of dressing, the women wear traditional Malay costumes, notably the 'Baju Kebaya' a form of blouse woven with silk. Foot-binding, a practice carried over from China, used to be common among the affluent folk but over the centuries, it is no longer practised and for good reason. Perhaps the Peranakan's most famous legacy is Nyonya food, a fusion of Malay ingredients with Chinese cooking styles. Some of the most popular dishes include 'Belacan', 'Assam Laksa', 'Cendol' and 'Kuih Talam'.
Peranakans speak a dialect of the Malay language called 'Baba Malay' which has some elements of the Hokkien language. Their most notable musical entertainment form is the 'Dondang Sayang'; or 'Love Song' where Babas and Nyonyas exchanged poems in a humorous style, accompanied by a violin, accordion and traditional instruments; the Rebana and Gong. Many Malaccans, regarded less of their ethnicity, often indulge in Dondang Sayang; such is its popularity.
Peranakan cuisine has variety of Authentic taste between the combination of Chinese & Malay cooking. Nyonya food has becomes Malaysian's favourite food nowadays, there are many Nyonya restaurant in town or other states apart from Melaka. The exotic range of Nyonya food served in Melaka or Nyonya restaurant has becomes one of the main attraction for tourists or local residents, such as Kapitan Chicken, Assam Curry Fish, Bubur Cha Cha & many more.
Sago Gula Melaka with coconut milk is one of the famous dessert in Peranakan / Nyonya food. Gula Melaka has been using widely not only in Melaka but also in many of the high class hotels and restaurant. Gula Melaka or palm sugar has it exotic flavour, brings the cuisine an authentic yet delicious taste.
Gula melaka is made by making several slits into the bud of a coconut tree and collecting the sap. Then, the sap is boiled until it thickens after which, in the traditional way, it is poured into bamboo tubes between 3-5 inches in length, and left to solidify to form cylindrical cake blocks. Alternatively it can be poured into glass jars or plastic bags. Gula melaka is used in some savory dishes but mainly in the local desserts and cakes of the Southeast Asian region. Gula Melaka Sago pudding, shown in the picture, is one of many desserts made with gula melaka. It is among some of the more popular gastronomic delights of Peranakan (Chinese-Malay) origin. This dish consists of a bland sago pudding served with gula melaka syrup. In some ways it resembles the international Creme Caramel and differ only in the ingredients used. It can be served either cold or hot. To enrich the pudding, coconut milk or 'santan' its Malay name, is added. Santan is the South-East Asian non-dairy counterpart of the dairy cream, the latter either whipped or in liquid form, is used mainly in Western cuisines but both add richness or provide viscosity when these are required. Reference from Wikipedia
Sago is a starch extracted from the pith of sago palm stems, Metroxylon sagu. It is a major staple food for the lowland peoples of New Guinea and the Moluccas, where it is called saksak and sagu. It is traditionally cooked and eaten in various forms, such as rolled into balls, mixed with boiling water to form a paste, or as a pancake.
Sago looks like many other starches, and both sago and tapioca are produced commercially in the form of "pearls". Sago pearls are similar in appearance to tapioca pearls, and the two may be used interchangeably in some dishes. This similarity causes some confusion in the names of dishes made with the pearls.
Pearl sago, a commercial product, closely resembles pearl tapioca. Both typically are small (about 2 mm diameter) dry, opaque balls. Both may be white (if very pure) or colored naturally grey, brown or black, or artificially pink, yellow, green, etc. When soaked and cooked, both become much larger, translucent, soft and spongy. Both are widely used in South Asian cuisine, in a variety of dishes, and around the world, usually in puddings. In India, pearl sago is called javvarisi, or sabudana ("whole grain") and is used in a variety of dishes such as desserts boiled with sweetened milk on occasion of religious fasts. Reference from Wikipedia
Gula Melaka sago pudding is my all time favourite, whenever I have a chance to dine in any Nyonya restaurant, I would surely order a bowl of this sago pudding. It is made of pearl sago, topped with a dash of coconut milk and gula melaka. I like the chilled way. I would request for some shredded ice on top of the sago pudding to make it more chilled.
I have found a superb Authentic Melaka Nyonya restaurant near my working place which served the best Nyonya authentic food in town. The restaurant is decorated with Baba & Nyonya home-style decoration, consists of traditional basket, flowers, table clothes, furniture, fan, teapot, bird’s cage & many more. It gives you a feel of Nyonya’s home & cuisine.
Besides, they serve variety of home made Melaka Nyonya kuih & desserts. They also serve the gula melaka sago pudding as one of their dessert besides then bubur cha cha & cendol. This has inspired me to make Sago Gula Melaka at home to savor with my family. It is indeed a simple, easy & delicious recipe to make at home. Let's enjoy!
Simple & easy to find ingredients
Below recipe is adapted and modified from Women's Weekly Food Book - Easy healthy meals.
I am submitting this recipe for Merdeka Open House 2009 - MY SWEET MALAYSIA hosted by Babe-KLThis is a great way to introduce Malaysian Authentic and Traditional cuisine to everyone in the world. Let's participate and enjoy! Happy 52nd Merdeka Day, Malaysia!