With creamy, coconutty flavors, the famous Watalappan is actually Sri Lanka’s take on the classic caramel custard.
Sri Lankan foods are brimming with coconuts- you’ll find it in their curries, flatbreads, and even in their accompaniments and dips. And of course, you can’t miss out on adding that versatile fruit into your dessert too right?
Watalappan is actually just that. It is a super creamy and flavorful coconut custard that is crafted with minimal ingredients and kitchen effort. Think of it as the perfect rescue of a dessert if you’re on the hunt for a simple recipe that yields brilliant results.
Ready to try it out? Scroll down to know more about the recipe and how to get started.
Ingredients For the Recipe
You’ll need just a few simple ingredients to replicate this creamy and flavorful Sri Lankan pudding in your kitchen.
- Eggs: 5
- Palm sugar: 1 cup
- Caramelized sugar
- Coconut milk: ½ cup
- Cardamom powder (optional): A pinch
- Vanilla essence: 2 tsp
Kitchen Tools Needed
How to Make the Watalappan From Scratch
Got all your ingredients and essentials ready? Here’s what you need to do next.
Break all eggs into a mixing bowl.
Add the palm sugar next and whisk the sugar and the egg together until it dissolves completely.
Next, add the caramelized sugar and coconut milk next. Mix.
Add the cardamom powder (optional) and the vanilla essence. Mix.
Transfer the mixture into an aluminum container and cover it with aluminum foil.
Steam the same for 45 minutes or until completely cooked.
You can let the pudding cool down and serve a slice each.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditionally, Watalappan is made using Kitul jaggery, which is a unique kind of jaggery extracted from the sap of a palm tree called Kitul. It has a characteristic dark brown color and an amazing flavor, which is slightly different than your regular cane sugar jaggery.
If you can get your hands on it, great. But if you don’t have it, you could use regular jaggery or brown sugar or practically any other sweetener of your choice. And yes, white sugar works just as well too.
While you can definitely opt for regular milk for this recipe as opposed to coconut milk, it is the latter that lends the pudding that delicious nutty flavor it is so well known for. Make sure you use full fat and creamy version of coconut milk to get the best results. If you have low-fat coconut milk, you can add some coconut cream or regular cream into the mixture to compensate.
While this coconut custard is traditionally made with eggs, you can try making an eggless version of the custard too. All you’ll need to do is increase the amount of coconut milk you are using, and use cornflour as a stabilizer to help the pudding set. Remember that eggs don’t just act as a thickening agent, but also lend the custard a lot of flavor and creaminess, so there’s a good chance your eggless Watalappan might not have the same taste you’re expecting.
Your leftover Watalappan can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it if you want it to last longer, but freezing and thawing can ruin the texture of the pudding.
You can serve the pudding right after you get it out from the refrigerator or allow it to come up to room temperature- whatever you prefer.
Tips to Make the Watalappan From Scratch
The recipe might be super easy to follow, but you can always benefit from some cool tips and tricks to help you get those flavors bang on!
- If you are using jaggery to sweeten the pudding, you can make it caramelize faster by grating it and then using it for the recipe.
- While cardamom powder is an absolute essential for this recipe, you don’t necessarily need to stick to using just it. You can also add in cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, or any other aromatic spices of your choice for some additional flavor. Infact, you can also use any mixed spice powder of your choice.
- A little pinch of salt can help balance out the flavors of the dessert wonderfully, so don’t forget to add it in. You can use regular salt or pink Himalayan salt- whatever you prefer.
- Adding a teaspoon of rose water can also be an excellent way to boost the flavor of this simple and subtle tasting pudding.
- While steaming the pudding is the best way to make it, you can also use the easy oven method.
- You can also add some golden raisins on the top, and drizzle some honey or caramel sauce on the cooled Watalappan before you serve.
- Another great idea to enhance the flavor of the pudding and make it look and taste fancier is to dust some cocoa powder on it and top it with some grated fresh coconut or desiccated coconut.
- The Watalappan also tastes fantastic when you pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
- Pan-roasted cashews can also be an excellent crunchy topping you can consider opting for.
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
This enchanting coconut custard tastes great when you serve it as is, but if you don’t mind a bit of extra effort, you can always top it with some chopped nuts of your choice. Pistachios, almonds, and walnuts are all great choices you just can’t go wrong with. And if you want to make this dessert healthier, you can also top it with some banana slices, right before you serve.
If you’re trying your hands at a Sri Lankan feast for the weekend, you’ll probably be starting off with a nice curry (like ), some Sri Lankan pol roti or yellow rice, and finally, the Watalappan to finish it all off.
Watalappan: Creamy Coconut Jaggery Pudding
- 5 Pcs Eggs
- 1 cup Palm sugar
- Caramelized sugar
- ½ cup Coconut milk
- 1 pinch Cardamom powder (optional)
- 2 tsp Vanilla essence
- Break all eggs into a mixing bowl.5 Pcs Eggs
- Add the palm sugar next and whisk the sugar and the egg together until it dissolves completely.1 cup Palm sugar
- Next, add the caramelized sugar and coconut milk next. Mix.Caramelized sugar, ½ cup Coconut milk
- Add the cardamom powder (optional) and the vanilla essence. Mix.1 pinch Cardamom powder, 2 tsp Vanilla essence
- Transfer the mixture into an aluminium container and cover with an aluminium foil.
- Steam the same for 45 minutes oruntil completely cooked.
- You can let the pudding cool downand serve a slice each.