Watalappan -A Sri Lankan Dessert


Watalappan is an easy, sweet dessert from Sri Lanka. It is one of the most popular desserts and has become one of the must have desserts in any special occasion including a wedding. Anyway, once searching for details, I found that this dessert has a Malay origin and the Sri Lankan Malay community calls it as ‘Sirikaya’.Kaya is something familiar for me here in Singapore. I’ve tried kaya toast which is toasted bread with kaya jam. So far I didn’t check what kaya is or how to make it. Interestingly, kaya is a jam made of coconut and egg. This watalappan pudding is also a result of coconut and egg steamed with jaggery.Sometimes it is interesting to know a bit of the history of food,isn’t it?

Watalappan -A Sri Lankan Dessert


Colour of Watalappan is usually dark brown and it is appealing to eat when the authentic appearance is there. Personally, I don’t like to taste watalappan when the colour is pale.If in any case,you cannot achieve the desired colour of watalappan,it can be due to jaggery.Because we use jaggery(Hakuru/Gula Melaka) to sweeten this pudding and Sri Lankan jaggery is dark in colour.I found that the colour of Indian Jaggery is bit lighter.If so,just add caramelized sugar into your watalappan mix.So,you will be able to get the dark appearance finally.
Watalappan -A Sri Lankan Dessert

Recipe: Watalappan -A Sri Lankan Dessert

Ingredients: (for about 6 servings)
250 g Jaggery
1 cup thick Coconut milk
3 eggs
4-5 Cardamom pods
Few Cashews for garnish


How to make watalappan -A Sri Lankan Dessert with jaggery
First crush the jaggery. This sounds difficult. Here is how I crushed jaggery easily. 
Usually I keep jaggery inside the fridge. The day before I want to use it, I keep it out from the fridge. When need to crush, I simply use the grater and grate it easily. Try it. You will save lot of time and hard work!
Meantime, crush cardamoms. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.
Add crushed jaggery into the egg mix and mix well. After that add coconut milk.& crushed cardamom. Whisk until all the jaggery is dissolved.
Strain the mixture to the bowl which is using for watalappan.
Spread crushed cashew nuts on top.
After this stage,
Watalappan can be done in few methods.
1) Bake in an ovenproof bowl
2) Microwave in a microwave safe dish
3) Steam in a steamer for 20-25 minutes. For this method, please check this Caramel pudding recipe. I’ve shared the photos. Method is same for steaming watalappan too.
4) Steam using a pan for 20-25 minutes.
For this post,I use the method of making watalappan by steaming in a pan.

Here is how to steam watalappan using a cooking pan.

Watalappan -A Sri Lankan Dessert steam in a pot without steamer

You need a pan with a lid fit to it.The pan should be bigger than the mould/bowl use for watalappan.

Place a dish towel/piece of cloth in bottom of the pan. This is to steam the Puddings gently and evenly.
Cover the watalappan bowl using an aluminum foil.

Then place the bowl on pan.

Slowly add hot water to the pan just about a half-inch from the bottom of the pan.

Cover with the lid.

Then cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes.

Watalappan -A Sri Lankan Dessert

Hope you will enjoy making Watalappan.I would like to hear your comments and thoughts.

In this New Year season,try this at home.I am happy to see some shares of this post in facebook and other social media.Please do the favour for me 🙂