Why It Works

  • Utilizing barely inexperienced bananas helps them preserve their form in the course of the cooking course of.
  • Utilizing solely palm sugar—as a substitute of a mixture of palm and granulated sugar—helps tame the sweetness of the dessert whereas nonetheless lending the dish deep caramel notes and a wealthy mouthfeel.

In Malaysia, we’re comfortable to achieve for a candy chew any time of day. Fast snacks abound at roadside stalls in each cities and rural areas, and because of the abundance of native tropical fruit and palm sugar, choices sometimes land on the sweeter aspect. When there’s time to sit down and luxuriate in an prolonged break in the course of the day, pengat—a class of Malaysian dessert soups made with coconut milk starring a starchy fruit like banana or tuber like cassava—are a favourite at house and at roadside stalls. 

Severe Eats / Michelle Yip


The title “pengat” is a portmanteau of the phrases “penganan,” which implies “candy food gadgets,” and “hangat,” that means “heat.” Over time, “pengat” has come to particularly confer with heat, candy soups that include coconut milk. “If one is accustomed to the idea of ‘kuih,’ then consider pengat as kuih with gravy,” says Ahmad Najib “Nadge” Ariffin, a Malaysian cultural historian. Kuih (like onde-onde) are candy and savory snacks with origins in Nyonya tradition, and are sometimes sufficiently small to be eaten in a single or two bites. Within the case of this explicit pengat, sago pearls—pleasantly chewy balls produced from the starch of the pith of palm tree stems—and banana items are the kuih, swimming in a gravy of sweetened coconut milk.

Whereas pengat was initially made with leftover bananas and cassava from a harvest glut, its simple preparation and accessible flavors have helped it evolve right into a sought-after dessert. In the present day, many people—not constrained by having to attend for a surplus of fruit—will purchase elements particularly to make pengat.

Severe Eats / Michelle Yip


The flavour of pengat needs to be regardless of the star ingredient is. “If there are bananas in it, it ought to style like bananas,” says Nadge. “If jackfruit, then of jackfruit.” The sweetness isn’t the purpose; moderately, the titular ingredient is. The recipe beneath is for a preferred pengat selection made with bananas, or (“pisang” in Malay), therefore “pengat pisang.” For this explicit recipe, many cooks, together with myself, desire inexperienced bananas, as they maintain their form higher after cooking. Should you use riper yellow bananas with black spots, think about lowering the sugar so the pengat isn’t too candy. 

You don’t have to fuss an excessive amount of in regards to the particular number of bananas. I developed this explicit recipe with Cavendish bananas in thoughts, since they’re broadly obtainable around the globe, however in case you are in Malaysia or one other location that has quite a few types of bananas, be at liberty to mess around with totally different varieties Select ones which are on the smaller, sweeter aspect; my favourite to make use of in Malaysia is any good consuming banana like pisang mas or pisang rastali.

Severe Eats / Michelle Yip


When you’ve mastered the essential idea of pengat, substitute or complement the banana with candy potato, cassava, jackfruit, and even durian for extra taste and textural selection. With this easy, versatile recipe, you might end up making pengat pisang everytime you crave one thing candy—even when there’s no harvest glut close to you. 



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