Burmese Desserts

Gin Thoke

(Ginger Mix)

This after meal digestive tid bit is pronounced jintho . The Burmese are a very relaxed people. They sit around talking for a long time after meals and eat snacks like this instead of sweet desserts. Offer individual portions in very tiny bowls. and eat with the fingers.


  • 125 g (4 oz) very tender fresh ginger
  • 4-6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 12 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • salt to taste


Ideally, the ginger root should be so young that the skin is almost transparent and the roots tipped with pink. If the ginger you buy is more mature, use the small knobs growing off the main root. (The rest of the ginger can be peeled and preserved in a jar by covering with dry sherry Use in cooking.) Scrape skin off ginger with a sharp knife and cut ginger into very thin slices, then cut the slices into fine slivers. Marinate in lemon juice for at least 1 hour and the ginger will turn pink. Meanwhile, heat peanut and sesame oil in a small frying pan and fry the sliced garlic slowly until pale golden. Remove from heat immediately (it burns easily) and drain on absorbent paper. Allow to cool and become crisp. Put sesame seeds in a dry frying pan and stir constantly over moderate heat until golden brown. Turn immediately on to a plate to cool. When ready to serve. drain ginger from lemon juice and put in a bowl. Add salt to taste and sprinkle with garlic and sesame seeds. Toss together lightly.

Moh Let Saung

(Coconut Milk with Sago)

A cooling drink of saga coconut milk and calm sugar which can be served as a dessert.


  • l cup sago
  • 4 cups water
  • ? cup chopped palm
  • ice cubes
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • sugar


Wash and soak sago for approximately l hour, drain and put m a large saucepan with 3 cups of the water. Bring to the boil and simmer over a moderate heat until sago grains are clear. Cool and chill. Put palm sugar in a small saucepan with remaining water and heat gently until the cakes of sugar dissolve. Cool and strain the syrup. For each serving, put approximately 4 tablespoons of chilled sago into a tall glass, add 3 tablespoons syrup (or more according to taste) and mix well. Add 2 3 ice cubes and fill up with coconut milk. Stir and serve immediately.

Palm Sugar Sago


Sago or tapioca is transformed from dullness by the fragrance of palm sugar. The burmese make something easier than the Goula Malacca served all over Southeast Asia as saga with palm-sugar syrup and coconut cream.


  • 1 3/4 cups plus 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1 heaping cup dry sago or tapioca
  • 1 large or 1 1/2 pounds grated coconut
  • 2 cups solid palm sugar OR 1 1/2 cups maple syrup
  • A pinch salt


Boil 1 3/4 cups water. Wash sago quickly; add to boiling water and stir.

Dissolve palm sugar in 1 cup heated water.

When sago begins to get transparent, strain in dissolved palm sugar (or add maple syrup). Boil a few minutes more till sago is cooked through.Pour into shallow buttered tray and let cool and set.

Grate coconut. Add large pinch salt and mix into grated coconut.

Scoop out spoonfuls of set sago; roll in coconut till well covered

Seaweed Jelly



  • 2 ounces dry seaweed agar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 medium or 1 1/2 pounds grated coconut
  • Coloring


Soak agar in water 2 hours ahead to swell.

Grate coconuts. Put grated coconut into a clean wet cloth and squeeze pure cream from it. Keep this pure cream separately. Extract pure coconut milk. (Or buy it from super market.)

Clean the swelled agar. Measure it by cupfuls. Strain diluted coco-nut into cooking pot, adding water till there are twice as many cups as agar. Add sugar and agar and boil till all agar is dissolved.

Set aside about 1/4 of this in a bowl. Add drops of coloring to the remaining mixture and stir them in. Add half coconut cream and pour into shallow dish large enough to fill up to 1 1/2 inches thick only. Let cool.

Reheat the 1/4 set aside. Combine with rest of coconut cream and pour onto earlier jelly. Let set well and cut in diamonds.

Coconut Cream Sherbet



  • 1/4 ounce dry seaweed agar
  • 2 each or 1 1/2 pounds grated coconut
  • 1 cup raw sago or tapioca
  • 1 cup (or td taste) sugar
  • 3 cups cooked rice flour droplets (optional)
  • Crushed ice


Soak agar in water.

Extract coconut water (Or buy Coconut Milk Tin). Set aside pure cream extract. Let diluted extract total 8 pints, using boiling water for extraction.

Wash sago quickly and put into 4 cups boiling water; boil till transparent. Pour into flat pan to cool and set.

When agar has swelled, wash it clean and cut into 3/4-inch lengths.

Strain diluted coconut milk into large jar. Dissolve sugar in it till desired sweetness is obtained. Let it chill.

Rice droplets are bought ready to use; crush big bowl full ice.

To serve, fill glasses with sweet extract and put in 2 tablespoons each of rice droplets and sago, some agar strips, crushed ice, and 2 table-spoons of coconut cream.

Wrapped Bananas



  • 1 1/2 cups raw glutinous rice
  • 1 large or 1 1/2 pounds grated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15, 6-inch square banana leaves OR squares of foil
  • 4 to 8 ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


Wash and soak glutinous rice in water overnight.

Continue on following day: keeping 1/2 grated coconut aside, extract coconut cream from the other 1/2. Keep pure cream separately from milk.

Dissolve sugar and 1/2 the salt in diluted coconut milk. Drain rice and soak it in this.

Heat banana leaves to make them pliable. After cutting into squares keep small bits of leaf to reinforce inside. OR prepare foil in squares.

Peel bananas and cut and slice to get short finger-size pieces. On each leaf or piece of foil, spoon 2 teaspoons rice, together with coconut milk that comes with it.

Lay a piece of banana on this with 1 tablespoon of pure coconut cream. Cover with another 2 teaspoons of rice and coconut milk.

Wrap into a neat oblong package. Stack oblongs in a steamer. Cover and steam 45 minutes if banana leaves are used and 1 hour if foil is used.

Top packet should be opened carefully. The rice should be done (no hard core) and just cling together without being gooey; though Burmese prefer it cooked longer and sticky.

Heat sesame seeds in dry pan till fragrant and brush or pound them slightly. Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt in rest of grated coconut.

Just before serving, unwrap each packet. Lay on a plate. Sprinkle with grated coconut and sesame seeds.

Rich Semolina


Yield: 12


  • 3 each or 2 pounds grated coconut
  • 4 ounces oil
  • 1 pound semolina
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound sugar
  • 2 ounces raisins
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 4 ounces butter or ghee


Grate coconut hand extract cream (Or buy Coconut Milk Tin.). Keep pure and diluted extracts separately.

Strains diluted extract and dissolve in it the semolina and sugar. Let stand 30 minutes.

Beat eggs well. Add to above mixture. Add to it-melted butter and oil.

Put into pan large enough to have 1 1/2 inches deep only. Cook slowly, stirring all the time.

Keep stirring as color yellows then browns slightly.

Add pure coconut cream and salt, raisins, and 1/2 the poppy seeds, and keep stirring. After 5 minutes, take off fire and bake in slow oven, or continue over embers with hot coals placed evenly over top lid.

When cake is solid, press rests of poppy seeds on top and continues baking till well browned.

Let cool overnight if possible. Cut in diamonds. They keep well.

Hidden Treasure Monpetok


  • 2 1/2 cups glutinous rice flour
  • Small pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 20, 5-inch square banana leaves OR foil squares.
  • 1 small or 1 pound grated coconut
  • 12 ounces palm sugar OR 8 ounces brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oil


Mix flour with salt and water into stiff dough. Knead we11, cover, and set aside.

Heat banana leaves to make pliable. Cut in 5-inch squares. If foil is used, prepare in 5-inch squares.

Grate coconut. Heat sugar with 1 to 2 tablespoons water. When melted, add coconut and stir over fire till water is well absorbed.

Coat palm and fingers with oil. Take 2 teaspoons of dough and flatten on palm till 1/8 inch thin. Spoon coconut mixture on center and wrap as much mixture as can be covered securely.

Take a banana leaf or foil square by 2 sides, holding it in a rough cone. Place pellet into cone formed. Fold down other sides of leaf, one side after the other, to form a flat top.

Lay pellets in steamer with flat side down to hold fold in place. The shape should be a pyramid.

Steam about 20 minutes. When glutinous rice is cooked through, unwrap and serve 3 to 4 small pyramids per person.

1 3/4 cups plus 1 cup water

Mango Cake



  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ? cup caster sugar
  • 1? to 2 cups of mango pulp, flesh or canned
  • 1 tsp. Unflavoured gelatine
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup cream


Turn freezer to its coldest setting. Put milk in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil.
Meanwhile separate eggs and beat the yolks with half the sugar in a bowl until thick and light.
Pour a little of the hot milk on to the yolks, stirring constantly, then return yolk mixture to saucepan and cook over hot water or on very low heat.
Stir all the time, do not allow to reach simmering point or the custard will curdle.
As soon as it is thick enough to lightly coat back of spoon, remove from the heat and keep stirring until it cools somewhat.
Pour into freezer tray and freeze until mushy.

Sprinkle gelatine over cold water in a cup and stand the cup in a small saucepan of water.
Bring water to the boil so gelatine dissolves. Stir this into the mango pulp.

Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Do not over-beat or the ice cream will have a buttery texture.
Beat egg whites until soft peak forms;
add remaining sugar and beat until soft and glossy.

Scrape half frozen custard into a bowl and beat with rotary beater until it is smooth, but do not let it melt.
Chilling bowl and beater helps in hot weather
Fold in the mango pulp, egg whites and whipped cream and return to freezer trays. Freeze until firm.