Hed Chef: Sago pudding with gula jawa
Is our humble pandan leaf overtaking matcha and avocado as the latest food fad?
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson certainly thinks it could catch on in her native UK, seeing how the ingredient is achieving popularity in the US.
She told The Times earlier this month: "I think it is going to be the new matcha. I may be wrong, but we seem to be interested in that."
Pandan may finally be gaining international recognition after years of playing supporting roles in Asian kitchens.
Native to Asia and used to add fragrance and colour to food or beverages, pandan could be called the Asian equivalent of vanilla.
For a pandan-flavoured dessert, try the classic sago pudding with palm sugar syrup.
I prefer using gula jawa instead of gula melaka as I find it contains fewer impurities, and I also usually skip straining the gula jawa syrup.
Both the sago pearls and syrup are infused with pandan.
If you don't mind the extra work, simmer the coconut milk with pandan leaves for a triple pandan effect.
Just let it cool and refrigerate before use as this dessert should be served chilled.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES FOUR)
- Sago pearls 300g
- 2 litres of water (for boiling sago)
- 12 pandan leaves (50g)
- 1 tsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 300g gula jawa (Indonesian palm sugar)
- 80ml water (for sugar syrup)
- 200ml pasteurised coconut milk
- Pinch of salt
You will also need four 180ml plastic containers.
1. Knot seven pandan leaves together.
2. In a pot, boil 2 litres of water.
3. Add in the knotted pandan leaves and sago pearls. (A)
4. Add in the sugar and a pinch of salt.
5. Boil for eight minutes or until the sago pearls are mostly translucent. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let it stand for five to 10 minutes until the sago pearls are completely translucent.
6. Pour sago pearls into a wire mesh sieve, discard the water and pandan leaves.
7. Place sago pearls into a bowl of ice water to soak for five minutes.
8. Sieve again and discard water.
9. Divide the sago pearls into four containers. Each container should be three-quarters full. (B)
10. Cover and place in fridge for three hours to set.
11. Chop up the gula jawa. (C)
12. Place the gula jawa in a saucepan and add 80ml of water.
13. Stir and simmer over low heat.
14. Tie the remaining five pandan leaves into a knot and add to the gula jawa mixture.
15. Simmer for around 10 minutes until the gula jawa has dissolved completely. (D)
16. Let the gula jawa syrup cool. Remove the pandan leaves.
17. Place coconut milk in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and stir. Refrigerate until ready to use.
18. To assemble, transfer each sago pudding into a serving bowl, or serve it in its container.
19. Pour two tablespoons of coconut milk over each pudding.
20. Drizzle a tablespoon of the gula jawa syrup over the sago pudding. Serve immediately.