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6 Epic Malay Desserts You Didn’t Know You Loved

Malay cuisine is diverse and flavorful, and so are Malay desserts. The locals are basically known for their sweet tooth, and there are also some delicious desserts that Malaysians relish in the evening after their meal. From traditional dishes like kuih talam to more modern creations such as ice cream and cakes, their desserts are a thing of beauty. Malay desserts are known for their rich, layered, creamy textures, often topped with a sweet sauce. 

So, get ready for an adventure into the world of Malaysian desserts! I hope you enjoy this article about some awesome Malaysian dessert that will make your mouth water and stomach growl with delight.

The Most Commonly Used Ingredients

malay desserts

The Malays have a long tradition of cooking and eating desserts. Malay desserts were usually consumed on special and festive occasions in the old days. Nowadays, however, Malay desserts are commonly eaten as a part of breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon snack. All kinds of cakes were passed down from one generation to another, and one of the most traditional and well-known ones in the Malay community is kuih. Kuih can be baked, grilled – even steamed, and found all over Malaysia.

We can divide kuih into two categories: the sweet and the savory ones. The sweet kuih is usually made using coconut milk, palm sugar (gula melaka), or brown sugar. The spicy ones contain spicy ingredients, such as cloves, anise, curry, cumin, chili, or black pepper. These ingredients give kuih a whole new dimension to a savory kuih.

When it comes to other typical Malay desserts and their recipes, ingredients such as rice flour, palm sugar syrup or brown sugar, tapioca flour, coconut milk, coconut cream, fruit, and condensed milk are commonly included. Other starchy ingredients, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, red beans, black-eyed peas, purple sweet potatoes, and glutinous rice, are also widely used. Apart from those, butterfly pea flowers have been used as natural food coloring for food and drinks for a long time, giving them a striking blue color.


The Best Malaysian Desserts You Should Try

Malay desserts are a diverse and rich spread of sweet food. Their desserts are a lot like their culture, rich and diverse, and there are many different types, from traditional to modern fusion. Malay sweets also reflect the cultures that have influenced them over the years. Some of these include: 

1. Kuih-Muih

Kuih-muih is a cake made from rice flour mixed with coconut milk or water then fried in oil. The cakes can be plain or flavored with gula melaka (palm sugar) and pandan leaves. There are many different types of kuih-muih, such as pisang goreng (deep-fried bananas), cincin kelapa (coconut biscuit), and chendol.

2. Ice Kacang

Ice Kacang Malay is a dessert that has been around for decades. It is made of shaved ice with various toppings, such as red beans, corn flakes, and condensed milk. The customer mixes the topping ingredients to their preference before being poured over the ice shavings. The dish was created in Malaysia during colonial times.

3. Red Bean Soup  

Red Bean soup is a popular dessert in Malaysia. It is usually served hot and has a sweet taste to it. The ingredients for this dish are red beans, sugar, salt, water, and coconut milk. To prepare the dish, you put all of these ingredients in a pot on the stove until they boil together, then remove from heat and serve with ice cream or evaporated milk on top. You can also add other flavors like pandan leaves or vanilla extract to change up the flavor profile of this dessert.

4. Bubur Cha

It is rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, thickened with cornstarch or flour, and sweetened with sugar. It has a very soft texture, and the color ranges from light yellow to creamy white depending on how much water was used while cooking the rice. Bubur Cha can be found all over Malaysia as it’s one of the most common desserts eaten by Malaysians and is served in individual bowls topped with grated coconut and palm sugar syrup. 

6. Cendol

Cendol is a traditional Malay dessert that has been around for many generations. It is made of shaved ice and coconut milk, topped with green cincau (coconut milk jelly), red beans, sweet corn kernels, palm sugar syrup, and ground peanuts. The name cendol comes from the Malay word cendul, which means shaved. The shaved ice was originally made by hand. Today electric machines are used to shave the ice more quickly. The ingredients are mixed in a tall glass with the crushed ice at the bottom, and it’s light and refreshing.

The Most Common Dessert-Related Words

Malaysian desserts are filled with flavors, just bursting inside your mouth like fireworks. They owe their rich, nutty flavor to some of the most common ingredients that we’ll mention in the table below, so check them out.

dessertspencuci mulut
glutinous ricenasi pulut
palm sugargula Melaka
grated coconutkelapa parut
sweet cornjagung manis
sweet potatokeledek
tapioca flourTepung Ubi Kayu
red beanskacang merah
baking powderserbuk penaik
coconut creamkrim kelapa
coconut milksantan
rice flourtepung beras
sticky rice pulut
baking soda serbuk penaik
ice cream ais krim
steamed glutinous rice pulut kukus

Learn Malay With Ling App

I guess all this talking about desserts and sweets might have made you hungry for knowledge. If so, Ling App is a language learning app developed by Simya Solutions, which helps people learn Malay quickly through the process of gamification. Ling App is designed to make the learning process painless through interactive and personalized lessons. The app is available for iOS and Android, and besides Malay, it can help you get started and advance in over 60 different languages.

If you want to learn more about Malay culture and its people, you can also check out our blog for more articles about various topics. Our most recent ones include the noodle recipes in Malaysian cooking and airport words in Malay.

Download the app and start learning Malay with us!

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