We decided to pay tribute to the humble Gula Melaka, an ingredient that many of our favourite Asian dessert recipes require for that authentic taste. Here are our Favourite 5 Gula Melaka desserts in no particular order.
Rich dark golden liquid!
The rich dark golden liquid that is Gula Melaka is a popular sweetener in most parts of South East Asia. While it's hard to work with (as in you literally have to pound the huge chunks with a mortar and pestle) we couldn’t fathom a world without it. We love it for its molasses like qualities and the additional sweetness it brings to our favourite desserts.
Who wouldn’t love these little gooey balls that burst with delicious melted Gula Melaka upon first bite? These are fun to eat and make a delicious teatime snack. I was surprised to find out that they’re extremely easy to make too! Just mix in a bit of glutinous rice flour with pandan juice till it forms a smooth dough, plonk a tiny piece of gula Melaka in the middle and drop it in boiling water to cook. They are done when they pop up to the surface. The homemade variety is not as sweet as the commercial kind and I quite enjoy that.
The word cendol actually refers to the little green pandan noodle strands that are found in our desserts but I’m referring to the way it is typically served. This rich dessert is filled with all sorts of goodness: a healthy dose of Gula Melaka and coconut milk topped with shaved ice…there’s no way to go wrong with this one! Pick one up on a hot day and you won’t be disappointed. It’s refreshing and yet creamy at the same time and will satisfy any dessert craving. When done well there’s a delicate balance between the different flavours that creates an out of this world experience.
Bubur Pulut Hitam
This is personally my favourite Gula Melaka dessert but it’s one that I don’t come across very often and finding one that is made well is even more rare. This is basically a rice pudding of sorts cooked with Gula Melaka and served with a generous helping of coconut cream. It is especially good when the black glutinous rice is tender and toothsome at the same time. It shouldn’t be too sweet and when it mixes in with the creamy coconut milk there is a moment of pure bliss. This is a heavy treat that is best enjoyed in small doses.
Sago Gula Melaka
This is sometimes looked at as the poor man's dessert. All it comprises of is some boiled sago pearls, a bit of liquefied Gula Melaka and a dash of santan. It’s so simple to throw together and yet the delicate flavours can’t be beat. The slippery little balls of sago are fun to swish around on your tongue as you savour the slightly sweet and creamy concoction.
What makes this delicious is the fact that it basically is gooey caramelised bananas but creamier and richer. There are no mushy bananas here just pieces that have been simmered just till the point of breaking apart but not past it. This ensures soft bananas with our delicious Gula Melaka for caramelisation. This makes for a delicious tummy warming teatime snack that pleases almost every palate.
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