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Vanilla-scented Sago Cakes (cantik manis)

These delicious cakes are part of breaking the fast for Ramadan

These simple-to-make cakes are popular in Indonesia, especially during Ramadan as part of a fast-breaking spread. Cantik means “pretty” in Bahasa and manis means “sweet”, although they are not so sweet as the name might suggest. Their prettiness comes from the deployment of pink and green dyed sago pearls, which you can easily find an Asian grocer.

This recipe is courtesy of sbs.com


  • 125 Grams coloured sago
  • 40 Grams mung bean starch
  • 100 Milliliters water
  • 110 Grams caster sugar
  • 400 Milliliters coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt


Cook the sago in a saucepan of simmering water for 20 minutes or until translucent then drain well.

Combine the mung bean starch with the water and stir to form a smooth paste.

Combine the sugar and coconut milk in a saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Whisking constantly, add the starch mixture and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture simmers and becomes very thick.

Whisk in the vanilla and salt then stir in the drained sago to combine well.

Divide mixture among 6 x 150 ml lightly oiled moulds, smoothing the tops.

Cover each with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature until set.

Turn out onto plates to serve.