In conjunction with our national day celebration, I wanted to make a dessert that is truly retro and reminiscent of the olden days. This is a simple recipe that is familiar to many older folks. But to make it special, I’m making it in all the colours of our national flag.
I was opting for an authentically old-fashioned dish, so I had decided not to use any modern synthetic colours. Instead, I had used all-natural flower-derived dyes to derive the colours of the flag. I got blue from butterfly pea flower, yellow from saffron, the stamens of the crocus flower, and I was especially proud that our national flower, the hibiscus, provided a brilliant red.
The amounts of flowers listed in this recipe were just a suggestion, as these would determine the intensity of the colours. Personally I wouldn’t mind using more because they are natural, but that was all I could harvest at the time of the shoot.
Do watch the video to see how the red, blue, yellow and white served up in the dish for Merdeka. You may also add a green portion with pandan juice if you like.
- 200g sago pearls
- 1 litre water
- 115g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 fresh coconut scrape
- 1 tsp salt
- Colour extracts
- 5 hibiscus flowers
- 20 dried or fresh butterfly pea flower
- a pinch of saffron (about 10 strands)
- hot water
- Place each colour of flowers into a separate bowl, adding just enough hot water to extract the colours. Allow colours to steep for at least 30 minutes.
- Wash sago pearls in cold water. Soak for 20 minutes. Drain excess water.
- Bring 1 litre of water to a boil. Add sago and stir to cook until they turn transparent.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Stir in vanilla essence and remove from heat.
- Divide sago into four equal portions, adding enough coloured liquid into three of the sago portions. Keep one portion uncoloured as a white colour. Allow sago to cool completely before rolling in coconut.
- Add salt into coconut and stir until well seasoned. With a spoon, scoop out bite-size portions of sago and roll in coconut, shaping them into little mounds.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.