Try these traditional recipes for slow-burn caramel richness

Dadar Gulung (Indonesian Coconut Pandan Pancake)

These delicious Indonesian pancakes are soft, fluffy delicacies perfect for a celebratory meal. The thin pancakes are made using an Indonesian pandan leaf, which is used to give the pancake the traditional green colouring and coconutty-vanilla scent. Delicious! Before you start you’ll need a small pot, a frying pan for the pancakes, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, and a whisk.

Ingredients to make 8 pancakes

For the filling

  • ½ cup grated fresh coconut 
  • 150g Arenga Palm Sugar
  • 100ml water
  • 2 pandan leaves (optional)

For the pancake

  • 250g plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 350ml thin coconut milk (you can add water to the milk to make it thinner)
  • ½ teaspoon pandan extract (add more for a darker green colour)
  • Knob of margarine or butter


Stage 1 Making the Filling

  • Mix all the ingredients, except the water, until they become one smooth mixture
  • If you are adding the pandan leaves, tie them into small knots and add to your mixture.
  • Add the water, and stir over a low heat

Stage 2 Preparing the Pancake

  • Beat together the flower and eggs
  • Add coconut milk slowly, and continue stirring until smooth
  • Add 1 tsp of pandan essence to make the mixture a traditional green colour
  • Pre-heat the frying pan, and add a small amount of butter/ margarine
  • Spoon enough of the mixture into the pan to create a thin crepe-style pancake
  • Take out the pandan leaves from the filling
  • Place a layer of the filling over the whole pancake, and cook gently for 1 minute
  • Fold the pancake, remove and serve

Serving suggestions

In Indonesia, many enjoy these pancakes as a dessert accompanied by a simple jasmine tea. You could include these tasty pancakes as part of a dinner party, or celebratory brunch or buffet.

Bolu Kukus Gula Merah (steamed cakes)

This dish is a kind of steam pudding. It has a soft and textured consistency, and can be enjoyed on its own or with a nice cup of black coffee to add some bitterness to the delicious sweetness of the pudding. This recipe uses all natural ingredients so is a perfect choice to make your sweet treat guilt free. Before you start you’ll need a cupcake mould tray, a steamer, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon for mixing, and a pot for boiling sugar.

Ingredients to make 13 cakes

  • 250g Arenga Palm Sugar
  • 200 ml of water
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 1 egg (can be left out for vegans)
  • 250g flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp yeast


  • Preheat your steamer to medium heat
  • Boil 200g Arenga Palm Sugar with 200ml of water until the sugar is completely dissolved
  • Leave this to cool for 5 minutes
  • In the mixing bowl, combine 125ml of vegetable oil with your cooled sugar liquid
  • Add one beaten egg to this mixture (optional)
  • Add 250g flour, 1tsp baking powder and 1tsp yeast, and mix until all ingredients are combined
  • Finally, pour your mixture into the cake moulds and place in the steamer for 20 – 25 minutes

Serving suggestions

This is a perfect dish to cheer up a rainy day, or share with visitors. Many enjoy the distinctive natural sweetness and caramel richness of this traditional dish. Enjoy your Bolu Kukus Gula Merah!

Kopi Bubuk (black coffee)

If you buy a black coffee at a street stall in Indonesia it’s served very strong with a big counter-weight of sugar to make the bitterness palatable. Usually made with Robusta coffee beans, which are way more potent in caffeine than Arabica, it gives you an instant boost when you’re flagging in the heat and bustle of the day. But it can be pretty addictive, and harsh on the stomach. Try a subtler alternative by choosing one of Indonesia’s highly characterful Arabica beans. Don’t make your coffee too strong, and if you have a sweet tooth sprinkle in a spoon-and-a-half of Arenga Palm Sugar, which will perfectly complement the coffee flavours with a lovely understated caramel sweetness. Adding milk will cloud the experience so drink it black if you can. And ration how much you drink during the day – you will enjoy it all the more when it’s time to put the kettle on.