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Monday 30 September 2013

Colors of the Mountain

The featured ingredient for this month's Little Thumbs Up Event is Pandan and it has been inspiring to say the least.  Just hop over to Joceline's blog and you will know what i mean. One can make a book out of it!  A whole lot of good food in beautiful shades of green.  Pandan is one splendid source of natural food colouring, besides color, it infuses the food with a very unique fragrance.  I always enjoy seeing how this natural dye works, you need quite a few leaves though. So, here's one last round of color me food green, before the event ends.

Abok abok sago is a simple Malay kuih with sago as its key ingredient.  And i mean really simple, all that it takes is to steam the sago.  There are  many ways of presentation though, one would be to steam it in a tray then cut it into pieces and roll it in grated coconut, some in a single color, some with gula melaka sandwiched in between and another would  be to mix the sago with coconut and wrap them in banana leaves in a cone shape before steaming them. I chose the latter simply because they photograph better! 

Typically, one will get abok abok sago which are either infused with pandan (green color) or rose water (red color).  I did a 4 colored one instead.  And this was inspired by one of Terri's (of Hunger Hunger blog) beautiful entries which she name Jelly Kinabalu (highest mountain in Malaysia) for a competition using a jelly mould that was also designed with inspirations from the mountains.  I followed her through the month of the competition (and it's already two years now) and some of her amazing creations remain fresh in my mind till today.  So, here i am trying to pay tributes to the mountains, my way :)

And in case you are wondering how the colors relate to the mountains. Quoting Terri, "The white represent the clouds, the blue for skies, green for the greenery on the mountains and brown for land!" The green came from Pandan extract while the blue came from Bunga Telang (Blue pea flower), the 2 natural food dye that are widely used in this part of the world.  The brown layer came from mixing the sago with palm sugar and white is its original color.  

A piece of the mountain...

Served with a drizzle of palm sugar syrup 

Reference:  Happy Flour for base recipe

  • 200g sago
  • 1/2 coconut (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 30g palm sugar (grated)
  • 5 blades of pandan leaves
  • 15 dried bunga telang
  • Around 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • Around 3 tbsp of water 
  1. Cut out banana leaves in rectangular shapes of around 22 by 15 cm.
  2. Scald banana leaves in boiling water just enough to soften it (Not too long else it will turn black).  Wipe dry and set aside.
  3. Divide sago into 4 portions of 20g (white layer), 40g (blue layer), 60g(green layer) and 80g (brown layer).
  4. Soak them in water.
  5. Wash, cut and blen pandan leaves with some water (must be enough to soak sago).  Strain to collect extract.
  6. Wash and boil bunga telang in some water (must be enough to soak sago) to obtain blue coloring. Strain to collect blue extract.
  7. Wash and drain portion of sago for green layer and replace the water pandan extract.
  8. Wash and drain portion of sago for blue layer and replace the water with blue extract.
  9. Leave all portions of sago to soak for around 1 hour.
  10. Drain and wash away starch from sago.
  11. Divide coconut in proportion with sago amount for each layer (i did not weigh, just eyeballed)  and mix with sago.
  12. Add grated gula melaka to portion of sago for brown layer.  
  13. Add 1 tsp sugar to white portion, 1/2 tbsp to blue portion and 1 tbsp to green portion.
  14. Add 1 tsp water to white portion, 1/2 tbsp to blue portion and 1/2 tbsp to green portion.  Mix well.
  15. Fold banana leaves into cones.  Add one portion of the colored sago into the cone one after another to fill up the cone. Press lightly after each layer.
  16. Fold up the banana leave to cover the opening.  Secure with toothpicks if fold is loose.
  17. Steamed in rapid boiling water for around 15 minutes. 
  18. Serve with palm sugar syrup on the side.
Syrup for Drizzling
Melt 30g palm sugar with 70ml of water until it is slightly thicken in a small pot.

I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up "Pandan" event hosted by Joceline @ Butter, Flour & Me, organized by Zoe@ Bake for Happy Kids and Mui Mui @My little favourites DIY



Wow! Lovely looking kuih! I have not eaten this before can you believe it? I should try this too if only not so much work lol!

Hi, your colourful abok abok sago look so delightful and pretty. Your wrapping is so neat. 2 thumbs up for you.

Have a nice day.

It is indeed looking lovely this kuih with layers of different colours; it makes the kuih very inviting.

This kueh brings back many happy memories of my childhood. I can't even remember when I last ate this. Yr abok abok sagu looks good!

Wow wow wow, the colour itself already sends me drooling... tempting and yummy :)

Ade , one of your best creation yet ! Those different layers look really fantastic and beautifully-made ! I think sticky rice instead of sago will work as well :D

The multi-coloured pyramid looks so lovely and must be delicious too!

I will have to agree that pandan is so wonderful! I love your abok-abok sago! I haven't eaten this kueh for a very long time.

Your little mountains look very pretty with all the nice greens and blues :D Very nice!

Yeah... everyone has been cooking and baking so well with pandan in September!!! Joceline was funny concluding that all the "green" food has coming to the end... funny but sad :(

I am eating it with the eyes!!!

How pretty! I have never had sago dishes prepared this way...I love the beautiful pandan green.

@Jeannie: Thank you! Maybe can give it a try the next time you visit a kuih stall :)

@Amelia: Thanks for the thumbs up, very kind of you :)

@Mel: Thank you! I do agree that the colors make them more attractive :)

@WB: Thank you! Glad that it stirred some old memories :)

@Anne: Thank you! Yes, have to agree with you that they look a little like rice dumplings :)

@Cheah: Thank you for compliments and visiting!

@Zoe: Thank you for compliments and thank you for organizing LTU. Although it has ended for pandan there's soy beans to look forward to now ;)

@Cquek: Thank you, your eyes sure are powerful ;p

Thumbs up to you! This kuih is healthy with all natural ingredients , and love color combo!

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