Watalappan (Coconut Milk Pudding)
One of the Most Famous Traditional Sri Lankan Desserts
Preparing Watalappan Like a Pro
The recipe I want to share with you today is a mouth-wateringly sweet Sri Lankan dessert called watalappan (වටලප්පන් in Sinhala). Watalappan is a delicious coconut milk pudding with cashew nuts and jaggery. There are many variations of watalappan and I’ve seen people use many different kinds of spices to make this dessert. This includes nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla and even pandan leaf (rampa) juice. There are almost as many different watalappan recipes as there are households in Sri Lanka.
This dessert is based on coconut milk. If you’ve read through my recipes, you might have noticed that I use a lot of coconut milk in my recipes. That’s just how we Sri Lankans roll. Coconut is one of the staples of Sri Lankan food – fresh coconut and coconut milk are used in many, many of the island’s recipes. From meat curry to sweets, we use coconut for nearly every dish imaginable.
Watalappan is no different. The coconut milk gives this dessert a full flavor and the cashew nuts add both texture and taste. This recipe will teach you how to make a basic watalappan, without any spices. If there’s interest, I’ll be happy to post a recipe for watalappan that uses spices.
I’ve listed regular jaggery in the ingredients below, but if you can find palm jaggery (kithul hakuru) I highly recommend using that. It tastes much better in my opinion.
250 g jaggery
1 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk
2 cardamom cloves
about 20 cashew nuts
Note: Some people like to use vanilla and/or nutmeg, I prefer to leave them out and use cardamom instead.
1. Grind the jaggery into a paste. You can use a mortar and pestle, a nutcracker or even a hammer to do that.
2. Mix the jaggery paste with the coconut milk and stir it until the jaggery completely dissolves.
3. Pass it through a sieve and separate any remaining jaggery pieces so you will get a clear cream.
4. Beat the whole eggs well and chop the cardamom cloves, then mix them with the jaggery-coconut cream.
5. Stir well and pour the mixture into a cake-pan.
6. Pre-heat the oven for 5 minutes and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees C.
7. Take the cake-pan out of the oven and put cashew nuts on the pudding.
8. Put it back in the oven and bake for another 25 minutes at 180 degrees.