4.6 stars

Cendol is a coconut-milk-based dessert topped with delicious pudding-like strands, glutinous rice, kidney beans and cream corn. This vegan dessert is sweetened with palm sugar which is easily found in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 30 mins


Rice Flour Jelly Drink with Coconut Milk, Cendul

Malaysian, Singaporean, Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese, Bruneian, Cambodian

Cendol refers to a cold coconut milk dessert that is extremely popular among locals in Southeast Asian countries especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The signature green strands in the dessert are made of rice flour and have the texture of soft jelly. The dessert is topped with a local sweetener known as palm sugar. These make up the ingredients of a basic glass/bowl of the delicious cendol.

It is usually sold by vendors by the roadside under a big bushy tree. You'll either spot their stalls set up in their vans or at the back of their motorcycles. I enjoyed sitting on the colourful plastic chairs surrounding the mobile cendol vendors enjoying the cold dessert on a warm day. There is always the option to go for seconds especially when the heat is scorching as cendol makes the heat bearable. Thanks to the tropical weather in Southeast Asia, it is also available in hawker centers and food courts.

Other ingredients in cendol

The combination of palm sugar along with coconut milk blends perfectly. These days, the addition of cream corn and kidney beans adds some texture to this amazing dessert. In this recipe, glutinous rice is also added to further enhance the taste. You may omit the accompaniments if you love it authentic and simple.

Tools to make cendol strands

In Southeast Asia, there are special tools or machines used to create the pandan flavoured cendol strands. As home cooks, the tools in our kitchen are limited. However, these are some tools you can use in replacement. A potato ricer works great as a cendol press. Choose the right size of opening so the strands will not be too thin or thick.

Another tool which can be used is a perforated plate or tray which is usually used for steaming. Simply place the cooked pandan batter on the plate and press it through the holes using a spatula. That would do the trick.

However, the easiest method would be using a plastic bag as shown in the video. Push the batter towards one side of the bag. Then, cut off the tip of the bag and press the batter through it.

Whichever tool you decide to use, remember to catch the pressed pandan strands in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes. This helps to set the form of the pandan strands.

Why are the cendol strands so hard?

There may be two causes for this. During the cooking process (step 3) to thicken the pandan mixture, it might have been overcooked causing too much liquid to evaporate resulting in the texture being hard and breaks easily.

The other reason is the temperature of the cold water used to soak the pandan strands. Leaving them in the cold water with too many ice cubes for too long may cause them to harden more than necessary. Therefore, once the form of the strands are set, transfer them to room temperature water. Refrigerating them in water would not be an issue.

Substitute for pandan leaves

Fresh pandan leaves are used for its aroma and colour. It can be substituted by frozen pandan leaves or pandan extract that are usually available in Asian grocers. Read more about where to buy and how to choose pandan leaves here.

Lighter version of cendol

For a lighter version, the thickness of the coconut milk may be diluted with water according to your preference.


4 tbsp
glutinous rice
16 cups
1 tbsp
coconut milk
0.7 tsp
290 g
palm sugar (gula melaka)
pandan leaves
1⁄2 cup
3⁄4 cup
55 g
rice flour
25 g
corn starch
15 g
mungbean flour (hung kwe flour)
1 cup
ice cubes
creamed corn
kidney beans
4 cups
coconut milk

Steps to Prepare

Cendol Step 1

Step 1 of 5

    • 4 tbsp glutinous rice
    • 3 cup water
    • 1 tbsp coconut milk
    • 1⁄5 tsp salt

Soak glutinous rice for at least 4 hours. Pour away excess water and steam for 15 minutes. Once cooked, add a bit of coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Mix it thoroughly. Leave aside to cool.

Cendol Step 2

Step 2 of 5

Dissolve palm sugar in a bit of water together with a piece of knotted pandan leaf at low heat. Set aside.

Cendol Step 3

Step 3 of 5

    • 3⁄4 cup water
    • 8 pandan leaves
    • 55 g rice flour
    • 25 g corn starch
    • 15 g mungbean flour (hung kwe flour)
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Blend pandan leaves with a bit of water to get pandan extract. Mix rice flour, corn flour, mung bean flour, salt and pandan extract together. Pour mixture into a pot and cook over low heat until it thickens and becomes glossy.

Cendol Step 4

Step 4 of 5

    • 5 cup water
    • 1 cup ice cubes

Prepare a bowl of water with some ice cubes. Push mixture to the side of a plastic bag and snip off the tip. Squeeze mixture to allow strands of rice flour jelly to drop into the bowl of cold water.

Cendol Step 5

Step 5 of 5

    • creamed corn
    • kidney beans
    • 4 cup coconut milk
    • 8 cup water
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Add a pinch of salt to coconut milk and dilute it with water. Set aside. In a glass or mug, add some rice flour jelly, cream corn, kidney beans and glutinous rice according to your preference. Sweeten the drink with a few spoonfuls of palm sugar syrup. Top up with ice cubes and coconut milk.

Published: August 14, 2016

4 Discussions

8 days ago

Alice Foo

Just to be sure, how many ml of water is 3/4 cup?

8 days ago

Alice Foo

Why my cendol clumped up and became sticky? It’s not transparent and glossy. I followed all the measurements and cooked at low heat. Just wondering, i’m using blended rice flour, is it the same as rice flour?

8 days ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Was the rice flour fine enough? We have never tried it blended rice. Not sure if that is the issue.

a day ago

Alice Foo

The flour is fine, just figured out the ingredients in blended rice flour has corn starch added in, maybe that’s the issue? Just bought the 100% pure rice flour though, will try it out soon 😊

a year ago

Jay See tho

This recipe is great and easy. I made it and it was a hit at home. I made extra to enjoy again the next day !

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

That sounds really nice. Did you upload a food snap too. Would be nice to see how it turned out.

a year ago


May I ask what can I use as a substitute for Mung bean flour?

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

You can replace it with only corn flour. However, the texture will be different.

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