Es Cendol

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In the good old days, while waiting for the school bus to pick us up after school, the first thing we did was to run to the hawker stall right in front of the school gate, eager to get the all the sweeties he offered. Hopefully there was still enough pocket money left. Es bandung, es kachang, cendol and everything sweet and cooling was a welcome thing with 33°C and 98% humidity after hours of boring lessons. Cendol has always been my favourite. It’s those green little worms covered with a yummy thick coconut santan , a good dosis of gula melaka and most important; ice shavings on top…. It comes in many variations like with corn or beans or anything colourful, but usually it comes just plain- originally a typical malay or indonesian dessert. Hmmm…it makes you forget all what you learnt a few minutes back.

I think the main problem was to look for a right equipment to sieve those little green “worms”. I have this wonderfull cookbook that I brought along in one of my last trips back to Singapore and it had all the yummies from home. In it, they kept describing that you should get this cendol frame to create them. Easier said than done. I’ve never seen such a sieve before, and in asia…why bother make one when you could get the finished cendol at the market or the next hawker stall? For the first few times, we tried out the schwabian way. That meant putting your cendol mixture on the cutting board, then scraping off an inch into cold water, until the dough is finished. This is…hard work…and what you get is rough little worms that really almost tasted like spätzle. (just that they were green :-/ ) Taking the fact that I never made cendol in my life before, I slurped this dessert within seconds and declared it for almost perfect. Just almost…

The next time round my hubby decided to make it a little more professional. And I’d say, if you’re not blessed with getting to buy that cendol sieve in the next grocery shop, make it yourself:

Cendol sieve:
1 Plastic basin (ca. 20-30cm circumferance)
Drill 8mm

Take that basin and drill as many holes as you can in there to make it look like a sieve. Think of your boss, it may help you work faster. That’s it!


10 pandan leaves (cut in 3cm pieces)
2 cups water
green coloring
85g green bean flour

crushed / shaved ice

360g Gula Melaka / brown palm sugar
120g sugar
1 cup water
3 pandan leaves
1 can coconut milk (the thicker the better)
4 cups water
pinch of salt


Blend pandan leaves together with 1 cup of water. Strain this into a pot. Add a few drops of colouring and bring it to boil. Blend the green bean flour with 1 cup of water the stir this into the pandan juice. Continue stirring till thick and transparent.

Place a basin of ice cold water with some ice cubes in it. Now place your newly made cendol sieve over this basin and pour the pandan mixture into the sieve. Press the mass lightly until all the mixture is through. Make sure that the water is really cold so that these little droplets or “worms” don’t stick to one another. Drain the water and refigerate for 15 mins.

In the meantime, melt the chopped gula melaka in saucepan together with1 cup of water. Strain this and let it cool.

To serve: Put 3 tablespoons of cendol in a bowl. Pour some coconut milk over and add palm syrup/gula melaka according to your taste. Serve with crushed or shaved ice. Goes well after a hot and spicy meal like ikan bakar, otak otak or rendang.

Anyone for a share?

My self-made cendol sieve.