Es Cendol or Dawet: Indonesian Drink

Es Cendol

Es Cendol is my favorite Indonesian dessert. Or is it a drink? ;-)
. In Indonesia I’ve eaten cendol a lot. You can buy cendol almost anywhere in Asia. I’ve seen loads of different varieties. For example, in Burma. They serve their cendol with white bread floating in the coconut juice. Crazy, but once tried, not bad at all. 😉

Cendol or Dawet

You have to say Es cendol or Dawet actually. Dawet is the mix of cendol (the green vermicelli) coconut milk and Javanese sugar.

Nanka, lychees and beans

The green cendol gives this drink something to bite into. You can leave a cendol pure (with coconut milk and sugar sirop), or add more condiments.

I’ve had cendol with beans; red, white or black. Or with nanka (jack fruit) or lychees. With young coconut (juicy, super tender meat of a ripe coconut) is also delicious.

I can drink cendol any time of the day. On hot days it’s very nice; well chilled with extra ice cubes. Or as dessert after a spicy meal. In winter, I make cendol too, but the real reason is that I miss the tropics during those long winter nights. ;-).

Types of flour (gluten free)

Cendol can be made from rice, mung bean and / or tapioca flour. In all sorts of combinations and amounts. Because no wheat flour goes in, a cendol is always gluten free.

You can serve it with crushed ice or, as I do, just with ice cubes in a cocktail glass.

Cendol ‘worms’

My sister got me this cendol sieve from Indonesia. What a great gift! You have to push the green batter through to form green vermicelli.

Es cendol ingredients

You can also use a skimmer to push your cendol through.

Push dawet through skimmer

Or use a strong plastic bag (ziplock for example). Cut a small hole in the bottom and push the cendol through one by one.

Push cendol through ziplock

Three variations

Everyone in my family loves ‘es cendol’, but each one prefers it’s own kind of cendol. My sister likes it more chewy. I love a more tender cendol.

Here are 3 ways to make those green ‘worms’. I’ve based these recipes on Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean cendol. Ofcourse you can try to mix your own signature batter. 😉


I do not like my cendol too sweet. I make mine with half a tablespoon of sugar through my batter. When you serve a cendol dawet, the green strings are mixed with gula jawa sirop (Javanese sugar sirup) and coconut milk. This mix is sweet enough for my tooth ;-).

But if you like sweet cendol you can easily add more sugar (1 or 1,5 tablespoons) to the flour mix.

The following 3 recipes are enough for about 6 cocktail glasses. These recipes are ready in 30 minutes.

Cendol made from hun kwee flour

Cendol Hun Kwee flour (mung bean flour)

This version is the simplest one with only one kind of flour. It provides a transparent, strong cendol with a touch of sweetnesss.

75 grams Hun Kwee flour (mung bean flour)
225 ml water
pandan extract (I buy pandan extract at my Asian store in small green bottles for 90 euro cents)
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cendol made from hun kwee and rice flour

Cendol with rice flour and Hun Kwee flour (mungboon flour)

This recipe provides a silky, tender cendol. It tastes (logically) a little more like rice. I think it has more flavor than the version with only mung bean flour. This cendol is less firm than the previous one. I know this cendol from Malaysia.

This recipe provides cendol that is easily pushed through a sieve.

25 grams Hun Kwee flour
50 grams rice flour
225 ml water
pandan extract (toko)
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cendol made from hun kwee, tapioco and rice flour

Cendol with Hun Kwee (mung bean flour), tapioca and rice flour

This version with three kinds of flour, makes a firm tjendol, but less firm than the cendol that consists of only hun kwee flour. This recipe makes a shiny cendol and is somewhat transparent. I like this version because this cendol has a more interesting flavor.

35 grams Hun Kwee flour
5 grams tapioca (1 tablespoon)
30 grams of rice flour
250 ml water
pandan extract (toko)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar

Cendol in ice water


The cendol forms in ice water. When the warm cendol paste hits the ice water it solidifies immediately.

Have a big pan ready with ice water and a sieve or skimmer with big openings.

Coconut milk

Warm up your coconut milk with a little water on low heat. If you have pandan leaves (it’s a kind a of palm) add that to the milk. I buy those leaves at my local Asian shop. You can use frozen ones. Let the coconut milk warm up. Do not bring to the boil. You can also use cold coconut milk without the pandan leaf. Dilute it with some water.

Gula Jawa (Javanese palm sugar)

Meanwhile melt your palm sugar with a little bit of water to make it into a thin syrup. It will thicken as it cools.

Ice water

Have a pan with ice water ready. Throw in two hands full of ice cubes. They will melt while you prepare the cendol and the water will be extra cold by the time you are done. Now you can start your cendol.


Mix the salt and sugar with the two types of flour. Cendol is not rich in flavor but it needs some salt and sugar just to stand out a bit. Pandan also flavors it.

Make cendol batter

Stir a tablespoon of pandan extract into the water. Add it to the flour mix that is in a pan on medium heat.

Keep stirring for a couple of minutes. When the flour substance is quite thick you are almost done.

Make cendol batter with pandan

When it starts to shine and slowly drips of your spoon, it is ready.

Make cendol batter, thick consistency

Place the sieve over the pan with ice water, and pour the mixture onto the sieve, still warm. Do not let it cool.

Push cendol through special cendol sieve

Press the jelly through the sieve with a spoon or spatula. The icy water solidifies the worms straight away. They will keep their shape. Make sure you pour all your dough into the sieve. This way your vermicelli will be as long as possible.

Form cendol worms using special cendol sieve

You can keep the pandan vermicelli in the fridge to use the next day. Do not leave it in the water, because the green color will go away.

Cendol vermicelli in ice water

But of course you can’t wait to let everything cool down. Make a cendol now, while the ingredients are still lukewarm. It’s fantastic too!

How to serve

I use a cocktail glass. That way I can eat this as a classy dessert or a fancy snack. If you want to make those lovely layers in your cendol dawet, fill up your glass like this. Use a spoon to fill up one third of the glass with the cendol. Add some of the cendol water too and a few ice cubes.

Es cendol in cocktail glass
Fill up the glass with coconut milk and then pour the palm sugar in the middle of the glass.

Es Cendol in cocktail glass pouring gula jawa

Before you eat it mix the layers and use a spoon to fish for green worms at the bottom of your sweet, creamy coconut milk pond.

Es cendol layered in cocktail glass

Here it is: your first tjendol dawet (dawet is the name for the mix with coconut milk and sugar).
 Selamat makan.

I’ve made a video about how to make cendol too:

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9 Responses

  1. Elsie Dillewaard says:

    What a wonderful way of demonstrating how to make Cendol. Mamma use to make this all the time and I never knew how. I am forever grateful for you sharing this and thank you very much for adding the ingredients in English (grams vrs teaspoons). That is extremely helpful. Salamat Makan or et smakejk ( Sorry I cannont write either language).

    • Pauline Chavannes de Senerpont Domis says:

      You are most welcome. It is great to hear you enjoy it so much. I started this blog since my father passed away last year. Just to remember him and the lovely food the Indo’s brought to Holland – and so much more. Hope you like my recipe and if something needs to change, or will make it clearer, do not hesitate to send me a message! Eet smakelijk indeed and selamat makan too! 😉

  2. Sasmummy says:

    Looks like someone is using your pictures. He is already accused of using someone else’s picture. On fb the travelling peranakan

    • Pauline Chavannes de Senerpont Domis says:

      Thank you so much! That is really friendly to tell me. I contacted this person and asked to take down the pictures or make a link to my recipe or work together 😉 But this is not the way 😉 . Happy you tell me! Terima kasih!

  3. felicia says:

    hai, can you speak bahasa? i wonder, wht you do with the pandan leaves? and the (tsps) mean table spoon right?

  4. Sera White says:

    I will definitely try your recipe. I got my cendol sieve when I visited my family in Jakarta. I did try two times but it looked like muddy yucky looking worm..euw. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this recipe! I used to be able and find it in an Asian store in the Seattle area but it is no more. I was born in Indonesia and lived there until 1950 and just love so many of the foods (including durian!!) and drinks.

  6. Marcella Vander Eems says:

    Have not made this in a while…. excited to do so today.
    i use a spaetzel maker to make the cendol noodles.

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