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Watalappan - Coconut Jaggery Pudding

The roots of this dessert can be traced back to the first Malay settlers in Sri Lanka, who called it Serikaya. Infact let's rewind to the 1700s during the Dutch colonial rule, where dessert was called vla in Dutch which also translates to custard. Watalappan also known as watalappam is a delicious pudding made out of coconut, jaggery cardamom, nutmeg and eggs. In some versions (like serikaya), the pandan leaf is also used. This is one dish is synonymous with Sri Lanka and brings people closer especially during festivals or occasions that call for celebrations. So do try this easy dessert in your kitchen and when you nail it, it's good enough reason to celebrate!

Please note: I've made a small batch, you can double the quantities accordingly. The colour of this dessert will vary depending on the type of jaggery you use. Darker the variety (like Kithul jaggery, that's available in SriLankan stores), darker the dessert. Don't have jaggery, but desperate to try it? Use dark brown sugar. But jaggery is better. sorry! :)

Alternatively, this dessert can be steamed as well, but I opted to bake it.


  • 95 gms organic jaggery (preferably a dark variety)

  • 45 ml water

  • 95 gms thick coconut milk

  • 2 eggs (room temperature)

  • 1 pinch cardamom powder

  • 1 pinch nutmeg powder

  • 1 pinch cinnamon powder

  • 1/4th tsp vanilla extract

  • 20 gms roasted and crushed cashew nuts


- Mix the jaggery and water in a utensil. Stir and boil it till the jaggery dissolves.

- Leave it to cool.

- Beat the eggs lightly in a separate bowl.

- Strain the cooled jaggery water and coconut milk into the beaten eggs and beat again.

- Add the powdered spices and vanilla extract into this and beat lightly.

- Grease a 5 inch baking tin with coconut oil and pour the batter into it.

- Cover the top of the tin with foil to seal it.

- Place the tin onto the tray and fill the tray with hot water.( bain-marie/ water bath)

- Bake it in your oven at 170°C for 30 minutes.

- Gently lift the foil after 30 minutes and insert a knife/ skewer. it should come out clean.

- Once done, switch off the oven and carefully remove the tin and let it cool. Once cool, you can sprinkle crushed roasted cashews on it and cut into it. OR

- Let it cool completely and refrigerate it for a couple of hours till it firms up further, turn it upside down onto a plate and then sprinkle nuts over it.

- Told you, it's easy! Enjoy.


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