Cantik means pretty while manis means sweet. It’s straight forward translated from its name. Even though the name is cantik manis, I reduced the sugar amount from the recipe that I saw in my Yasa Boga cookbook. It’s very easy to make, no steaming or baking process. Cantik manis is also popular during Ramadan in Indonesia. Usually, there are evening markets that sold traditional goodies before the Iftar time, so people can buy and bring them for breaking their fast at home or mosque.

Anybody who wants to participate in Joy From Fasting To Feasting (season-III) who is hosted by Lubna Karim, feel free to click the link above. You don’t have to be a Muslim to join the event. The more the merrier, don’t you think?

Originally, these little cute dessert cakes are wrapped individually in thick plastics or banana leaves. However, I couldn’t find thick plastic wrappers and too lazy to thaw and shape my frozen banana leaves. I used my bite-size brownie squares 24-cavity silicone and putu ayu moulds. Below is the pictures.

Brownies Mini Mould Putu Ayu Moulds


Cantik Manis
– Indonesian Sweet Pretty Cakes –

• 100 g colourful sago/tapioca pearls (Indonesian: biji mutiara)
• 50 g mung bean flour (Indonesian tepung hunkwe)*
• 500 mL coconut milk (If you use a 400 mL coconut milk in a can, just add another 100 mL water)
• ¼ tsp salt
• 90 g sugar (the recipe calls for 100 g)
• 1 pandan leaf, knotted
• banana leaves or plastic sheets, for wrapping (I used moulds)

Sago Pearls
• In a boiling water, put sago pearls and cook until done and transparent and strain.
• Dilute mung bean flour with some parts of coconut milk and set aside.
• Boil remaining coconut milk and pandan leaf with salt, then add mung bean flour mixture and stir. Add sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add sago pearls, stir well and remove from heat.
• Pour the mixture into moulds. Leave to cool. Unmould the cakes and serve.

Cook’s Note:
* For people who can’t find tepung hunkwe, you may substitute for the Korean mung bean starch by reducing the amount of mung bean flour that I used in this recipe.

Mung Bean Flour & Starch

Mung bean flour is known as tepung hunkwe in Indonesian. However, there is a bit different with the Korean mung bean starch on the right hand side picture. If you notice tepung hunkwe is translated as flour not starch since it’s mixed with vanilla. The Korean one is pure starch.


  1. Really cantik!! I have never seen these colourful sago pearls. Only in white and green. Oh, I must really look harder. Great idea using those moulds. I would be too lazy with the banana leaves too!

  2. Beautiful dessert…..mmmm. But I can't find both the hoonkwe and the Korean type here. Maybe you have to make this for me 😛

  3. @Ju: thanks for visiting my blog. Wiffy was also saying the same. She only can find the whites. The pearls that I have here was imported from Thailand

    @Gulmohar: me too

    @Mary: sure, I'll be happy to make some for you

  4. Your cantik manis are so cantik…!! I need to make those as well in the future. I never really liked jajanan pasar back home but now I crave for them!

  5. Those sago spheres are so lovely and colorful. I grew up with only just the regular, unflavored kind.

    What a very pretty dessert.

  6. They are definitely very pretty.. the colors of the tapioca pearls make it gorgeous.. I'm very interested in the flavor.. I'm hoping I can find these ingredients at our local international food store!

  7. Love the pretty pastel colors and the lighting in your shot is great. My only familiarity with mung bean starch is a spicy Szechuan cold noodle dish made by cooking the starch with water into a paste, then setting it into a hard gel that can then be sliced and tossed with sauce.

  8. So pretty! I want one. I have a packet of Korean mung bean starch that I don't know what to do with it. Guess your recipe comes in handy, thanks! 🙂

  9. @Mom's the little one: belum nemu aja kali 🙂

    @Cooking Gallery: same here.

    @Subterfuge Diva: indeed

    @baking.serendipity: no need to bake too

    @Jun: It may be different now 🙂

    @BabyBeluga: yups seperti yang tersebut diatas

    @Torviewtoronto: thanks

    @Jason's BBQ Adventures: with the use banana leaves, the cakes have a different nice aroma 🙂

    @Evan: let me know if you can't find them

    @Xiaolu: We have a mung bean vermicelli as well and we call it soun

    @Cook in a bar: thank you

    @Anncoo: hope your cousin can get it for you.

    @May Ling Wu: I wish i could give you a try as well

    @LCOM: nahh now you can use that starch

    @Tigerfish: indeed. thank you

  10. thanks so much for pointing me in the right direction! I love those little pearls, and now I have a new dessert to try an make!

  11. mbak pepy, this is my favorite traditional cake! brings back my childhood memory.. should try make this sometimes later for sure!
    ur blog is really inspiring me..


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