Monday, July 16, 2012

Making Kolak

Two weekends ago, I was so eager to eat Kolak, a type of Indonesian dessert, that my Mom usually prepares for us back home. Since I happened to see that my Mother-in-Law had three ripe large bananas (or specifically called Horn Bananas/Pisang Tandukin the kitchen, I asked one from her. This large banana is one of the key ingredients in making Kolak, without which I think the dessert would taste incomplete and plain.

Making Kolak is relatively easy. However, since I have not made this dessert by myself since many years ago, I had to ask my Mom in Indonesia to teach me how to do it properly. Apparently, tutorials via international text messages were not so clear to me and I made minor mistakes in the orders of boiling all the ingredients. Nevertheless, in the end, everything turned pretty fine and Kolak's taste was well-accepted by Malaysians' palates. Since my husband's family here in Malaysia had no knowledge about this dessert, I introduced Kolak as Indonesian style sweet soup/tang shui. It is easier to use this term when they asked me, "What are you cooking?".

Please note that the ingredients stated below are just my rough estimates. I did not really measure the exact ingredients so strictly when making sweet dessert like Kolak so just play around with the amount of the ingredients as long as you feel there's balance of everything (ingredients and the sweet coconut soup). Also, the tutorials below state the right orders in boiling all the ingredients, as per my Mom's classic recipe.

My first Kolak in Malaysia.



  • 200-300 ml Thick coconut milk from fresh grated coconut
  • 1 litre Coconut milk from one fresh coconut
  • 2-3 Pandan leaves
  • 1 tsb Vanilla extract
  • 1 Horn Banana/Pisang Tanduk, skinned and chopped
  • 1 Medium cassava, skinned and chopped
  • 1 Medium sweet potato, skinned and chopped
  • 100gr Pumpkin, skinned and chopped - optional
  • 50gr Jack fruit, chopped - optional
  • Sugar, as needed


  1. When preparing the coconut milk, separate the first squeeze of the coconut milk to produce thick coconut milk (santan kental). Set this aside. 
  2. Keep squeezing the grated coconut to produce the thin coconut milk (santan cair) to boil the ingredients and create the Kolak soup.
  3. In a large pan, pour all the thin coconut milk together with pandan leaves, vanilla extract, chopped cassava, sweet potato and pumpkin. Cook until half tender.
  4. Add the chopped banana onto the Kolak.
  5. When the banana and the rest of the ingredients are almost done, add sugar as needed. Stir well.
  6. Pour the chopped jack fruit. This addition will make the whole dessert tastes more fragrant but some people may not like the taste or smell of jack fruit.
  7. Lastly, add the thick coconut milk into Kolak and bring it to boil. Turn off the stove.
  8. Serve warm. For overnight keep, don't forget to refrigerate Kolak.

This dessert is easy to make, right? It can be eaten warm or cold. One thing though, I must say finding the ingredients here in Malaysia was not so easy. I could not find cassava in local supermarkets and had to ask my Mother-in-Law to find any for me when she went to the wet market in town. Fresh jack fruit in Malaysia is quite pricey too.

** Get the printable version of this recipe HERE.


  1. Wow, I haven't had Kolak yet. This is a very new recipe to me and I think I am going to love this!

  2. Nice and looks lovely, seems like our bubur chacha with some ingredients changed, like the banana. Add some ice cubes and wow factor for chilling effects.

  3. This is so interesting. I've never heard of Kolak. Congratulations on making your mom's recipe in spite of the distance.

  4. I love Kolak and LOVE pandan! YUUM! Fresh coconut too! Delicious! Thank you for sharing a part of your family through food!

  5. Interesting dessert! It looks good.


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