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An Indonesian Dessert

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Childhood & its wonders

  • Oct 27, 2009
Kolak is a dessert I grew up eating when I was living in Indonesia. Our domestic helper used to cook it every week and I found myself looking forward to them every Wednesday. The beauty of living in Indonesia is to have lots of helpers at home and even we as kids have one each to ourselves! How cool is that?! :-)
Kolak is best eaten hot but can also be a great quencher when it’s served cold. The main ingredients are banana and sweet potato (some prefer some tapioca as it adds texture to the mixture). In addition, jackfruit may be added for its fragrance quality. All in all though, these ingredients are mostly found in South East Asian countries. Hence, I’ve hardly found this dessert outside Asia. However, it can be easily prepared and I’m sure one can find banana, sweet potato and tapioca in America as well. So, there is no reason at all that you cannot have it and enjoy it at home in the U.S. and Canada. I like having parties for friends and it’d be so cool when friends enjoy the dessert one serves. For this reason, I’m introducing Kolak to friends here on Lunch and hope you can experiment with it and enjoy it with friends and family.
Take note that what make Kolak special is its mixture of coconut milk and palm sugar (which we call Gula Melaka in Indonesia & Malaysia). It’s of utmost important to get the right concentration of coconut milk and palm sugar. That’s exactly the thing that makes the dessert a great one and not just an ordinary helping.


Chendol, Apokat & other local dessert that use Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar)

The wonders of Gula Melaka; with it many desserts turn into special desserts. For example, a few wedge of Gula Melaka in your green bean sago dessert will be heavenly. Jackfruit & Grass Jelly in Coconut Milk is another dessert which taste great with some Gula Melaka. Jus Apokat (Avocado Juice) mixed with Gula Melaka is simply awesome!
So, there you’ve it, some of the greatest desserts found in Asia.
For the sake of this review and those who’d love to try making Kolak themselves, here’s a recipe from the net. I have no idea where my domestic helper is living now nor do I have any contact with her, so there is no way I could tell you what her secret recipe is like.
  •  200 ml coconut milk
  •  100 g palm sugar
  •  1 sachet vanilla sugar
  •  1 large bananas, sliced
  •  1 small sweet potato (ubi jalar), peeled and cut into small pieces
  •  2 pieces of ripe jackfruit, finely diced (optional) - I don't use it since no one selling it  here
  •  A pinch of salt
  •  100 ml water

  1. Simmer the sweet potato (ubi jalar) into boiling water until soft.
  2. Add coconut milk, palm sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Then add all remaining ingredients. Continue cooking for few minutes.
  3. Serve, you can add few ice cubes as well.
Childhood & its wonders

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December 02, 2009
Never heard of Kolak. Very interesting.
October 30, 2009
Thanks for this! I am always in the hunt for new desserts!
October 30, 2009
You're most welcome! If you like cooking, you should try it. It's easy to make and taste awesome. Let me know how it goes!
October 27, 2009
Mmmmm, this looks so good, Sharrie.  I don't think I've ever had any Indonesian cuisine before, but you've inspired me to seek it out!  Something tells me that I'll love this because I love all the ingredients in it :)  Thanks for sharing!
About the reviewer
Sharrie ()
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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About this food


 Kolak is an Indonesian dessert made with palm sugar and coconut milk, with pandanus leaf (P. amaryllifolius) for flavour. In some versions,mung beans are also used, and cooked till soft. Banana may be added to this base, the dish then being known as kolek pisangPumpkinsweet potatojackfruitplantain and/or cassava, and sometimes pearl tapioca may also be added. It is served either hot (especially if freshly cooked) or cold. Kolak is popular during the holy month of Ramadan, and is usually served cold during Iftar.
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