Tapioca Seed / Tapioca Pearl Dessert (Sago Gula Melaka)

Requested by Corinne Lee

Sago Gula Melaka is a very popular soft dessert in Malaysia. You can see it in almost every traditional function, such as parties, wedding reception, gathering, or school parties. The ingredients used in this recipe are also not difficult to get hold of. You can buy tapioca pearl (or tapioca seed as some would call it) and palm sugar from any Asian food markets or stores, if you are not in Asia. If you cannot find fresh screwpine leaves, you can buy the pandan essence in a bottle.


  • 300g tapioca seed / tapioca Pearl
  • 300g palm sugar (Gula Melaka), crushed
  • 200ml coconut milk, or 1 fresh coconut, grate and squeeze for milk/juice
  • 2 screwpine leaves (pandan leaves)
  • A pinch of salt


  1. In a saucepan filled with boiling water, cook the tapioca seed till it turns translucent.
  2. Remove it from heat. Strain, and rinse away excessive starch.
  3. Scoop the cooked tapioca seed into your desired dessert dish, cup, or bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cook the coconut milk on medium heat with the screwpine (pandan) leaves and a pinch of salt. Stir constantly without over-boiling it. Remove the pandan leaves and set aside to cool.
  5. In a small saucepan, melt the palm sugar (gula Melaka) with a little water, so you get a thick, brown syrup.
  6. Once the sago is cool, pour the coconut milk over it, followed by the palm sugar syrup.

Versatility Note:

  1. Once the tapioca seed and the coconut milk have cooled down, you can place them in the fridge so it tastes better when served.
  2. You can top it with chopped fruit, or even some dried grated coconut if you like.