Honeydew melons are beginning to emerge at the grocery stores as the weather warms up. I brought one home with me this past weekend as I have been wanting to make this dessert for a while now. Often served at Chinese wedding banquets in Malaysia, this light and refreshing dessert is the perfect ending to a 10-course feast.
Sago is a starch extracted from the pith of the sago palm. This starch is made into sago pearls and is often used in desserts like Ebony n Ivory. In Southeast Asia, sago pearls are more commonly found than tapioca pearls. Though they are very similar in appearance, taste, and texture, I find sago pearls to retain its shape better. Unfortunately I have not seen sago pearls here in the US. My precious stock was purchased during my last visit to Malaysia.
This dessert is very simple to prepare and there is no need to have a banquet in order to serve this. Ready to drink coconut milk in cartons make it really convenient for desserts such as this. If you are using fresh or canned coconut milk, please do boil it with a pinch of salt before chilling in the refrigerator.
Pandan (screwpine) leaves imparts a sweet fragrance to the syrup. It can be purchased in the frozen section of Asian grocery stores. You may have to ask for la dua at the Vietnamese stores.
- 1 small honeydew melon
- 1/3 cup (50g) sago or tapioca pearls
- 1 cup coconut milk** from carton
- 1 cup crushed ice
- ½ cup (110g) sugar
- ½ cup(120ml) water
- 2 pandan leaves, rinse and knotted
Cover sago with water and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
Halve honeydew melon and scoop out the seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop out little balls of flesh. Remove skin and puree the remaining melon. Place melon balls and puree in separate containers and chill in the refrigerator.
Cook sago in a pot of boiling water until translucent. Sago is cooked when center is no longer opaque, about 7 to 8 minutes. Pour sago into a sieve and place under running water to remove excessive starch. Drain well.
Prepare syrup by placing sugar, water, and pandan leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir till sugar dissolves, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and remove pandan leaves.
To serve, combined chilled honeydew puree, sago, and coconut milk in a large bowl. Add crushed ice and syrup to taste. Scoop into individual serving bowls and drop in a few melon balls.
**If you are using fresh coconut milk or coconut milk from can, please boil coconut milk with a quarter teaspoon salt. Chill in the refrigerator.
I like to serve this in glass or crystal bowls but it is normally served in small soup bowls at the Chinese banquets.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)