Palm sugar a Natural Sweetener from Asia

Palm sugar is a natural sweetener made from coconut sap. In Malaysia, it is better known as gula Melaka. 

Coconut sap from coconut trees is also a basic ingredient for other food products such as chocolate toffee and cookies.

Palm sugar is widely available in the local grocery stores in Malaysia. 

In other countries, such as Ireland and the United State it can be found in Asian grocery stores. 

Gula Melaka as Palm Sugar
I usually keep the palm sugar in its own packaging. Once I am using it, I will keep in a transparent glass bottle and stored it in the refrigerator.

When I bought the palm sugar from the grocery store, straight away stored it in the refrigerator to keep it last longer. 

The coconut palm sugar usually lasts for two years when it is stored in an airtight container. 

However, I constantly stock up the palm sugar as we often use it to make traditional Malay kuih

Therefore, I usually stored it for a maximum of one month. 

How coconut palm sugar is made 

The collected coconut sap is filtered with a sheet cloth and pour into a large pan. 

Then, the coconut sap is cooked for 3-4 hours. 

Afterwards, the concentrated sugar is poured into a mould made up of bamboo. 

The sugar is then cool and hardened for 1 hour. 

The palm sugar is then ready for packaging. 

Palm sugar syrup

Palm sugar syrup taste is mildly sweet compare to white sugar. The palm sugar does compliment the taste of other ingredients in cooking very well.

Usually, I used palm sugar syrup for beverages such as coffee with milk, milk tea and cendol. 

To make palm sugar syrup better taste, I will cook with pandan leaves and a pinch of salt. 

The function of salt is to enhance the sweetness naturally while pandan leaves give a fragrance smell. 

Palm sugar syrup is also a classic sauce for kuih lopes.

For storage of palm sugar syrup, After cook, I wait for it to cool and stored it in a glass bottle and keep it refrigerated. 

How I made palm sugar syrup

Cook time: 10 minutes 

Yield: 1 bottle 

Palm sugar with pandan leaves
I cooked the palm sugar with pandan leaves. I tie the pandan leaves to avoid it from getting scattered.


  • 225g palm sugar 
  • 100ml water 
  • 2 pandan leaves 
  • Salt 


In a pot, add palm sugar and water. 

For pandan leaves, tear them a bit and tie them together. This is to ensure that the flavour of the pandan leaves blends with palm sugar.

Let it cook with medium heat and keep stirring it. 

After 7-10 minutes it will turn into caramelized syrup.

Let it cool and be stored in a glass bottle.

Palm sugar syrup in a glass bottle
The consistency and colour of the palm sugar syrup after it is being cooked. When it cool, closed the lid and stored in the fridge.

Palm sugar syrup with coffee

For coffee with milk, I usually used brown sugar to make it tastier. Once I tried using palm sugar syrup, it has a memorable sweetness that make me swap it with brown sugar occasionally. 

To make palm sugar syrup with coffee, the ratio that I use is one tablespoon of palm sugar syrup with two teaspoons of instant coffee. 

Cook time: 5 minutes

Serving: 1 person


  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar syrup
  • 4 tablespoons boiling water
  • 150 ml full cream milk 


In a mug, place coffee, palm sugar syrup and hot water. Stirred it. 

Meanwhile measured the full cream milk and pour it into a pot.

Let the pot containing milk boil for one minute under medium heat. 

After one minute, switch off the fire and pour the milk into the mug. 

Ready to serve palm sugar with coffee. 

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