Watalappan - cardamom-coconut custard

You've probably never heard of watalappan, a wata.. what? Yes, a cardamom coconut custard from Sri Lanka. Filled with autumn spices!

40 minutes 5 people Desserts
Watalappan - cardamom-coconut custard


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  • 225 gram brown caster sugar
  • 30 ml water
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 450 ml coconut milk
  • sunflower or other neutral oil
Watalappan - cardamom-coconut custard ingredients
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Kitchen equipment

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  • 5 ramekins or other small bowls suitable for the oven
  • oven dish (that fits 5 ramekins)
  • oven
  • medium-sized bowl
  • whisk
  • measuring cup


40 minutes 5 people Desserts

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Preparation -- 5 minutes

PLACE the ramekins in an oven dish and coat them with a thin layer of oil. PRE-HEAT the oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 320 degrees Fahrenheit. GRIND the cardamom with a mortar and pestle. 

You can also use store-bought ground cardamom instead. DIVIDE 4 of the 7 eggs into egg yolks and whites, the whites can be used for another recipe such as pavlova

Watalappan - cardamom-coconut custard
Watalappan - cardamom-coconut custard

Finishing the watalappan -- 35 minutes

Use a whisk to create a smooth mixture of the brown sugar and water. ADD ground cardamom, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. ADD the eggs and egg yolks and combine until you've reached a smooth mixture again.

STIR in the coconut milk and divide the mixture over the prepared ramekins. FILL the oven dish with a layer of water, until the water reaches about half of the ramekins.

BAKE the custard in the oven for about half an hour, or until the custards are completely set. Let the custard cool off and enjoy!

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