Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly)

Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly)

Agar-agar Gula Melaka is a chilled dessert made with coconut palm sugar. Its natural sweetness which is almost toffee-like makes this jelly really delicious. An egg is added to create the natural separation of two layers that looks so beautiful.

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Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 40 mins

Dessert, Snack

Malay, Malaysian, Singaporean

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Nutrition per Serving

316 kcal
43 g
17 g
2 g

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Coconut palm sugar jelly or also known as Agar-Agar Gula Melaka is a popular dessert found in Malaysia and Singapore. It is usually pour into a pan after cooking and left to set. After it is chilled, it is then cut into bite sized pieces and served.

The layers are beautifully formed with the addition of an egg. You can make it anytime although this traditional jelly is usually served during family gatherings or at parties. It is also one of the popular dessert served at buffet of local hotels.

Why this recipe?

This agar-agar recipe gives you the perfect sweetness and texture. Besides, this bouncy and sweet dessert can be whipped up quickly especially if you are hosting a party. It can be prepared 2 days in advance too. Best of all, this recipe is adaptable as different flavours can be used to make the base of the agar-agar.

Moreover, instead of making this in a tray, pour the mixture into moulds of your preference to create different shapes.

Shaped agar-agar
Shaped agar-agar

Gula melaka and its substituting flavours

Gula melaka is often simply known as palm sugar. In essence, it is. However, there are many types of palm sugar. Gula melaka is made from the sap of the flowers found on coconut palm trees. It has a toffee-like sweetness which is fragrant and delicious.

Gula Melaka
Gula Melaka

If you are unable to find gula melaka, replace it with brown sugar or molasses at a ratio of 1:1.

Brown sugar can be substituted with pandan too. Blend 8 pieces of pandan leaves with the suggested amount of water (3½ cups). Strain the liquid and use the pandan water. You can also use this Pandan Agar-agar recipe.

Pandan agar-agar
Pandan agar-agar

Egg allergy?

The egg is added to naturally create the cloudy layer on top. Cooked egg strains will float as the mixture hardens. If you have an egg allergy, you can simply omit the egg from the recipe. Although it will still be just as yummy, the dessert will not have the distinct different layers in appearance.

What is agar-agar strands?

These dried strands are extracted from red algae. They are dissolved in boiling water which will solidify once cooled to create jelly. It is tasteless and colourless. That is why colouring and flavouring are added.

Agar-agar strips
Agar-agar strips

These dried strands can be found in local supermarkets in Asia or at Asian grocers.

Can agar-agar powder or gelatin be used?

Agar-agar powder can be used in this recipe. In fact, it dissolves faster than the agar-agar strands. Therefore, the cooking time will be shortened in Step 3. Gelatin can also be used to replace agar-agar at a ratio of 1:1. Note that each brand has its own instructions. So, follow the instructions on the packaging.

Testing firmness of the agar-agar

Pour a tablespoon of agar-agar mixture into a saucer and place it into the freezer. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes for it to solidify. If the jelly is too hard, add more water. Otherwise, melt more agar-agar strips into the mixture.

Using coconut cream instead

Coconut cream has a thick consistency which affects the texture of the agar-agar. The normal coconut milk is sufficient as it has the same consistency like water.

Storing the jelly

Store in an air-tight container and keep it refrigerated for up to 4 days. Note that this dessert cannot be frozen.


2 cup
coconut milk
3 1⁄2 cups
pandan leaves
220 g
palm sugar (gula melaka)
2 tbsp
1 tsp
12 g

Steps to Prepare

Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly) Step 1

Step 1 of 5

    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 1 egg(s)

Whisk the egg and coconut milk for 2 minutes and set aside.

Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly) Step 2

Step 2 of 5

    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 3 1⁄2 cup water
    • 3 pandan leaves
    • 220 g palm sugar (gula melaka)
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tsp salt

Tie pandan leaves into knots. In a pot, boil the rest of the coconut milk, water, knotted pandan leaves, gula melaka, white sugar and salt over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. It should take about 15 minutes.

Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly) Step 3

Step 3 of 5

    • 12 g agar-agar

Cut the agar-agar strips into smaller pieces before dissolving them in the pot. Continue stirring the content over medium heat until the agar-agar strips are dissolved. It should take another 15 minutes.

Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly) Step 4

Step 4 of 5

Discard pandan leaves. Add the egg and coconut milk mixture from Step 1 through a sieve. Stir well over maximum heat and allow the mixture to bubble up. Bring mixture to a rolling boil for another minute. Turn the stove off.

Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly) Step 5

Step 5 of 5

Pour the mixture into a pan (8x8 inches). Let it cool to room temperature before covering it with cling wrap. Place the pan into the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least 3 hours. Slice into bite-sized pieces before serving.

Published: October 25, 2021

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