Agar-Agar Santan Gula Jawa: Coconut Milk & Palm Sugar Agar Pudding (Vegan)

Recipe for a vegan dessert pudding made with agar, a gelling agent; flavoured with coconut milk (santan) and palm sugar (gula jawa).

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Agar (agar-agar in Indonesian) is a gelatinous substance made from seaweed. It is widely used in Asia as a gelling agent for desserts such as jellies and puddings. Agar is a vegetarian, plant-based substitute for gelatin, a good source of calcium and iron, and is rich in fiber.

For cooking purposes, agar comes in 2 different forms, strip and powder, but the powder is more popular in Indonesia. Outside Indonesia, agar-agar powder can be found in Asian supermarkets, usually in the baking section. The ones made in Indonesia come in thin 7gr packages, in a variety of flavours. I personally prefer the unflavored powder, used in this recipe, which doesn’t contain artificial food coloring. This brings out the natural color of the ingredients.

This recipe uses gula jawa, or palm sugar, and I just love the color of the finished dish! Such a beautiful, glossy dark brown sitting on a base of creamy brown. To achieve this beautiful color, make sure you use dark palm sugar. Add a little bit of granulated sugar and salt to settle the sweetness. In this dish, the sugar water and coconut milk are cooked together. During the cooling process the two components will magically separate into individual layers (the coconut milk will float on top).


Chill and set the pudding for several hours in the refrigerator. Agar-agar pudding is best served cold. It can be enjoyed as it is or cut into smaller cubes, for dessert or as a snack. You can sprinkle the whole thing with shaved iced and syrup. It is absolutely refreshing on hot days. To light up your garden party in the summer, serve the chilled pudding to your guests — they will be delighted! 

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Agar-Agar Santan Gula Jawa: Coconut Milk & Palm Sugar Agar Pudding (Vegan)

Agar-Agar Santan Gula Jawa: Coconut Milk and Palm Sugar Agar Pudding (Vegan)

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


A delicious vegan dessert pudding made with agar, a common Asian gelling agent. This agar is flavoured with coconut milk and palm sugar, and is best served chilled.


  • 7 gr unflavored agar-agar powder (equivalent of 1 packet Swallow Globe Brand)
  • 250 gr palm sugar
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted
  • 1 drop vanilla essence
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • 800 ml water

Agar-Agar Santan Gula Jawa ingredients


  1. In a cooking pan, put 200 ml water, palm sugar, sugar, salt and pandan leaves. Boil over medium heat until all the ingredients are dissolved. Sieve and set aside.

    Agar-Agar Santan Gula Jawa mixing ingredients

  2. Put the remaining water in a cooking pan, add the agar-agar powder, mix well, then put in the vanilla essence and the sugar water from Step (1).
  3. Add the coconut milk, stir, then cook over low medium heat until it bubbles. Stir constantly for about 15 minutes.

    Agar-Agar Santan Gula Jawa stirring

  4. Transfer the agar-agar mix into a pudding mold.

    Agar-Agar Santan Gula Jawa sieving

  5. Let the pudding cool and then chill it in the refrigerator, to set it, before serving.


  • I personally use Swallow Globe Brand agar-agar, which is commonly available in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. This recipe calls for 1 packet of Swallow Globe Brand unflavoured agar-agar, equivalent to 7 grams.

Keywords: Vegan, Non-spicy, Quick and easy

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