Seri Muka (Malaysian Pandan Custard) Cheesecake - Thyme To Mango

Seri Muka (Malaysian Pandan Custard) Cheesecake - Thyme To Mango

Today we’re getting a little bit weird. But a little delicious at the same time. We’re going to make a creamy, coconutty, pandan juice infused dessert and set it atop a biscuit base and wow everyone with our kick-ass cheesecake making skills. That’s right, we’re making a Seri Muka cheesecake.

What is Seri Muka?

Seri Muka is a dessert found in Malaysia and certain parts of Indonesia. In Malaysia it can be found everywhere, from the humble street food stalls to the high end bakeries, and is an integral offering during Malaysian afternoon tea, a daily tradition that echoes the nation’s colonial past.

The two layers of a traditional Seri Muka cake are:

The White Layer – Sticky glutinous rice that has, usually, been cooked in coconut milk (although there are varying recipes out there)

The Green Layer – A coconut milk based custard unfused with the juice of pandan (or screwpine) leaves.

Once the two layers have been made and assembled, the entire dessert is steamed to sticky, coconutty perfection.

I discovered Seri Muka on one of my many travels to Malaysia and, being the nerdy food blogger I am, I had to recreate it back home. However, since the entire dessert (usually assembled in a large baking tray or dish) needs to be steamed – and I don’t have the necessary equipment to do so – my attempts were never quite successful. Although they did taste delicious.

And so, for this blog, I wanted to make a Seri Muka, or a Seri Muka inspired recipe, that anyone, anywhere in the word, could follow without the need to hunt around for specialist ingredients or equipment.

The first idea I had was inspired by these Mango Lassi Tarts from Thyme to Eat. I loved the colours of these tarts and how simple they looked to make. And so, I made my own version, swapping the Mango lassi for Seri Muka custard which you can see in the picture below.

If you’ve followed me and this blog for any length of time you will know I’m not the greatest of bakers. The making of cakes, tarts, biscuits, or any sweet thing, is generally kept to a minimum because I tend to suck at the whole dessert making process: my cakes always sink in the middle, or burn around the outside, or resemble scrambled eggs in the middle – or all three at the same time!

And this was true for the Seri Muka Tarts. I tried so many different recipes for tart crusts – and followed each and every one to the letter – but they never quite made it at the hands of this less than talented baker.

So for a while the Seri Muka themed recipe stayed on the backburner. I then I had the Eureka moment: I would make a cheesecake.

Now, this is not quite a traditional cheesecake. This recipe does not use cream cheese as the main ingredient for the filling because, to me anyway, oodles of cream cheese didn’t quite say “South East Asian” inspired dessert.

Instead of the usual cream cheese filling, I swapped it for panna cotta. Yes, I know, it’s a little out there and a little weird but bear with me…

I won’t lie, when you first bite into this cheesecake – expecting it to be cream cheese cheesecake – and find it to be a jelly-like thing instead, the connections between brain and tastebuds become confused – like wtf is this?!?

But once the confusion is taken over by the buttery biscuit base and the creaminess of the coconut and pandan panna cottas – all is right with the world.

The Pandan Leaves

Pandan (or Screwpine) leaves are what gives Seri Muka its distinct taste and colour. The leaves can be found in certain Asian groceries (they’re usually alongside banana leaves in the freezer section) but, if you can’t find them there is a solution: Pandan Extract.

Just like the bottle of vanilla extract you have sitting in your cupboard, pandan extract is a simple way to get the flavour and colour of a traditional Seri Muka without going on an expedition to find pandan leaves.

And once you have the pandan leaves or extract sorted, it’s a simple case of throwing together a simple cheesecake crust (crushed biscuits + butter = sorted!) and topping it with a coconut and vanilla flavoured pannacotta, allowing it to set, before pouring on the pandan panna cotta and waiting for it to set (the hardest part!).

And there you have it, the delicious, albeit slightly weird, Seri Muka cheesecake.

Until next time foodies


PrintSeri Muka (Malaysian Pandan Custard) Cheesecake

This dessert brings all the flavours of a traditional Malaysian Seri Muka along with a buttery biscuit base to create a kick-ass cheesecake

Author: James Langley

Prep Time: 30 mins (plus chilling time)

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ Cups Coconut Milk
  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 ½ cups coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ Cups Coconut Milk
  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cups coconut cream (1 ½ cups if using pandan extract)
  • 6 pandan leaves (or 2 tsp pandan extract)
Read the whole recipe on The Nude Food Hero