Cendol: green rice flour jellies with palm sugar and coconut milk

Cendol is about deliciously fragrant green rice flour jellies with sweet palm sugar and creamy coconut milk syrup.

What is cendol? 

Cendol is a dessert made of rice flour jellies and served in palm sugar syrup and coconut milk. The jellies are in a bright green colour and have a distinctive delicious aroma from the pandan leaf.

It is often enjoyed as a dessert in a drink that one can quench their thirst and at the same time relish the delightful green gooey-like jellies.

What does it taste like?

The green fice flour jellies have a texture like jelly. But it has a fragrant Pandan leaf aroma.

And the palm sugar and coconut milk syrup give creamy sweetness to the jelly. 

a glass of cendol - Indonesian dessert made of rice flour  with palm sugar and coconut milk

What country is it from?

As of Indonesian descent, I’d say Cendol is from Java, Indonesia. But I obviously can not claim this 100% for sure as now many countries in Southeast Asia would argue that it originated from their country. 

All I can say is that decades ago when I used to go to Singapore, Cendol didn’t exist and was not known at all. So just like any food, I suppose this ambrosial dessert has travelled beyond so many borders that it now exists in many countries.

You can find this drink of green gooey jellies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar. 

Since I’m not a historian, I’d leave the debate to the expert. And let me just share what I know.

Is it traditional food?

Yes, sort of. In Indonesia, Cendol is one of the popular Jajan Pasar aka street foods. It is particularly often sought-after during the fasting month, Ramadan, as a sweet starter to break the fast. 

And because it’s almost always hot throughout the year in Indonesia, people like enjoying cold sweet desserts like Cendol for breaking the fast. 

What is Cendol made of?

There are a few types of Cendol that differ according to their key ingredients. They are mung bean flour which is also called Hunkwe, and rice flour

The latter will give a little bitey and chewy texture to the jellies. As for the ones made of Hunkwe flour (mung bean flour), the jellies have a texture similar to gelatine jellies. They don’t have any chewiness at all. 

I personally prefer the one made of rice flour. And that is what I’m sharing in this recipe. 

This recipe uses rice flour as its main ingredient. With a little bit of tapioca flour as an addition to give the chewy texture to the cendol. 

As for the green colour, here, I use ready-made pandan paste for convenience.

When it comes to sugar, I strongly suggest you use palm sugar/ coconut sugar/ jaggery. Because it tastes nicer and it’s a healthier option as well.

But if for whatever reason you can not get palm sugar, you can substitute with dark muscovado sugar or dark soft brown sugar. Just bear in mind, that this sugar is sweeter than palm sugar, so you may want to adjust the sweetness according to your taste and the sugar you choose.

Last but not least, you will need coconut milk to make this Cendol dessert drink. Try to get good quality coconut milk so that your cendol will taste good too. And if it’s possible, try to put a bit of pandan leaf when you boil the coconut milk. So it will be nicely fragrant.

Here in the UK, we can only get Thai pandan leaves that are very long. So ⅔ of one pandan leaf is more than enough to use for this recipe. 

How To Make

In essence, you need to cook three elements, i.e. green pudding, sugar syrup and coconut milk. 

So, firstly, you mix the rice flour, tapioca flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Then you add 300 ml/ 10.14 fl. oz water and whisk it to make a smooth batter. 

Colour the mixture with ½ teaspoon of pandan paste. This pandan paste also acts as a flavour and fragrance agent. Because it contains the pandan leaf extract as the name says. 

mixing rice flour and tapioca flour
green batter in a bowl and a hand whisk

After that, boil 400 ml/ 13.53 fl oz of water in a large pan. When it reaches boiling point, pour the water into the green flour mixture as you stir the mixture. Then put the mixture back into the pan/ pot and continue cooking until the mixture gets thick and very sticky. 

boiling water in a pan
adding water to green batter
green batter in a pan
green batter and a whisk

It can be hard stirring it as it gets thicker and thicker. But keep cooking until it’s bubbling hot which is the sign it’s boiling. 

Get a big bowl ready and place cold water with some ice cubes in it. 

Take your cendol maker/ potato ricer. Spoon the cooked cendol mixture and put it in the cendol maker/ potato ricer. Hold it over the iced water bowl, and press the maker/ ricer until the Cendol comes out and falls to the iced water. Keep pressing until all the mixture has finished.

a bowl of iced water and cendol maker over it
cendol in iced water in a bowl

Secondly, you make the sugar syrup by boiling1 ¾ cup/ 300 gr/ 10.58 oz palm sugar (which is also called coconut sugar or jaggery) with ¾ cup + 2 tbsp/ 200 ml/ 7.04 fl. oz water and pandan leaf. Cook until the sugar is boiling and becomes slightly sticky and syrupy. Set aside to cool.

Thirdly, boil and simmer 1 ⅔ cup/ 400 ml/ 13.53 fl. oz coconut milk with 1 ¼ cup/ 300 ml/ 10.14 fl. oz water and pandan leaf until the milk looks a bit shiny and it’s fragrant. Let it cool.

boiling palm sugar in a pan
coconut milk and pandan leaves

Lastly, assemble the Cendol in a tall glass by putting the sugar syrup, the cendol, and coconut milk respectively. Add some ice cubes if you like. 

Indonesian cendol in a tall glass with a spoon

Top tips to make the yummiest Cendol

  • Be patient in stirring the mixture. Make sure you scrap the bottom of the pan so it won’t get burned. And keep the heat really low. 
  • The bigger the holes of your Cendol mould the better. So if you use the potato ricer, use the one with the biggest hole. 
  • If you want to keep this dessert for another day, make sure you keep the jellies separately from the sugar and coconut milk. In fact, put all the three items in separate food containers. They keep well in the fridge/ refrigerator for 4-5 days. 

More Indonesian sweet recipes

Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now interested in trying this Cendol recipe. When you do,  I will really appreciate it if you could share what you think about the recipe.

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Before you go, don’t forget to check my other Indonesian sweets and desserts that you may love.

Thank you and all the best.

Yield: 6 servings

Cendol: green rice flour jellies with palm sugar and coconut milk

Cendol in a tall glass with ice cubes

Cendol is a dessert drink made of rice flour jellies that you enjoy with palm sugar syrup and coconut milk.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

To make cendol:

  1. Place the rice flour, tapioca flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Give them a good stir.
  2. Pour about 300 ml/ 10.14 fl. oz of water into the flour mix and stir well until you get a smooth mixture. You can use a hand whisk or a handheld mixer or a handheld blender.
  3. Add the pandan paste to the mixture and mix again until you get a nice green flour mixture. Set aside.
  4. Get a large mixing bowl ready. Fill it with 2 cups/ 500 ml/ 17.59 fl.oz of cold water. And make sure your ice cubes are within easy reach and ready to use. Set aside.
  5. Boil the rest of the water (400 ml/ 13.53 fl. oz) in a cooking pan/ pot. Once it reaches boiling point, carefully pour it into the green flour mixture and stir it at the same time. 
  6. Put the mixture back in the cooking pan and continue cooking at low heat. 
  7. Keep stirring and mixing until the mixture reaches boiling point. It takes about 10 minutes when the mixture will become very thick and sticky like a wet dough. It’s ok.
  8. Once the rice flour is bubbling hot, quickly get your large bowl with water ready. Place the ice cubes in the water and get your cendol maker or potato ricer ready.
  9. Spoon the green gooey cendol mixture and put in the cendol maker/ potato ricer.
  10. Hold the cendol maker/ potato ricer above the ice water bowl. And press the cendol maker/ potato ricer down until you see the Cendol coming out and falling into the iced water. Keep pressing until all the mixture has finished. Set aside.

To make the syrup:

  1. Boil the sugar, ¾ cup/ 200 ml of water and ⅓ pandan leaf in a small cooking pan/ pot until the sugar dissolves and becomes slightly sticky. 
  2. In another pan, boil the coconut milk with one and ¼ cup/ 300 ml water and a 15 cm length of pandan leaf (if using). When it reaches boiling point, let it simmer for about 3 minutes before you switch the heat off. 

To assemble the cendol drink:

  1. Take a tall glass and put about 3-4 tablespoons of sugar syrup in the glass.
  2. Using a slotted spoon scoop the cendol and place it in the glass. 
  3. Add 2-3 big spoons of coconut milk over the cendol.
  4. You can add ice cubes if you like.

Notes

The Notes

  • If you can’t get pandan paste, you can use pandan extract for the flavouring and use the ordinary green food colouring. Note that Cendol always has pandan fragrance. So I’m afraid you will have to get either pandan paste or pandan extract
  • Ideally, you use palm sugar/ coconut sugar/ jaggery. But if you can’t get it, you can substitute it with dark muscovado sugar or dark soft brown sugar. 

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 1299Total Fat 109gSaturated Fat 96gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 355mgCarbohydrates 86gFiber 1gSugar 51gProtein 12g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

Did you try the recipe?

Share how you like the recipe in the comments below and show a picture of your creation

14 Comments

  1. I love the colors of this drink – it looks so fun!

  2. Cendol is one of my favorite Asian desserts! This is a refreshing summer drink, so flavorful and refreshing.

  3. Heather Johnson says:

    what an interesting drink! i’m excited to try it

  4. OMG! What a color, what a taste! I made it today and enjoyed it so very much. I highly recommend giving it a try!

  5. My goodness, I haven’t had cendol in years! I had it in when I was in Malaysia and really enjoyed, though I think they make it slightly differently there – I look forward to trying this to see how it compares with what I remember.

    1. Yes, there are many different ways of making Cendol according to the ingredients. Please do try and let me know how you like this one.

  6. Kushigalu says:

    What a gorgeous and creative dessert drink to try. Totally loved it.

  7. I am curious as to your recipe, because many of the cendol recipes call for air kapur (lime water – lime as in limestone, not lime juice, which is air limau or air jeruk). I know it’s necessary for some desserts, but it’s really tough to come by here in North America. I will definitely give this recipe a try.

    1. Hi, if you find it hard to get this food-grade limestone, you can omit it altogether. The only difference is that the cendol may have a firmer/harder texture after a while. Because Air Kapur Sirih is supposed to prevent the rice flour from going hard and to keep the texture soft and chewy. But if you won’t keep your Cendol for too long, it should not be a problem. Good luck.

  8. Can I use glutinous rice flour instead for the cedol?

    1. You can make cendol with glutinous rice flour, but you will still need rice flour. And you will have to make sure the ratio of rice flour is higher than the glutinous rice flour. I will try to include the cendol recipe with glutinous rice when I update the post next time. Thank you.

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