Home-made Ice Lollies – Malaysian-style

CHINESE New Year is long over, so why is it still so crazy hot – as in still air;sticky, muggy, sweaty, suffocating heat; sweat running down the face; thirsty all the time; five cold showers in an afternoon HOT!

This heat feels like the blast of oven-heat you get when you step out of the airport after two weeks of holidays somewhere cold….

I’ve drank more soft drinks in the past month than I had in the past year, and I fill up the ice trays religiously. There is ice-cream, and juice and boxed drinks in the fridge, and Coca Cola. I have stopped by the roadside for sugar cane juice, and cendol. But I am still thirsty all the time.

Then, quite suddenly, I remembered ais krim Malaysia – home-made ice lolly in long narrow plastic bags (11 inches X 0.75 inches). I don’t know if people still make them these days; the plastic bags (labelled “for ais krim”) are still available in the shops selling plastic bags, so that must mean people are still making these ice lollies.

These ice lollies are easy to make; just fill up the plastic bags with juice, kopi o, milo, blackcurrant juice, whatever….and knot it, and throw into the freezer. In my time, kids make them all the time. It’s all about using lots of sugar, so you have to make the juice a little sweeter than you’d usually drink it. Otherwise, your ice lolly will be flat.

Then again, kids these days have slurpees from 7-11s (with all their glorious artificial flavouring and colouring). So, maybe that’s why they don’t have to their own ice lollies.

We didn’t have 7-11, but there was a makcik who sold ais krim Malaysia from her house. And all the schoolchildren in our neighbourhood would stop by at her kitchen window on the way to the bus stop to get their fix.

She made the best ais krim Malaysia; the kind that we didn’t make at home – bubur kacang hijau (green mung beans cooked in coconut milk and sugar), bubur kacang merah (red beans boiled with sugar) and sweetcorn (from the can). They were sweet and rich (lemak), and we love chewing on the beans and sweetcorns in between slurping on the icy sweetness.

But my favourite ais krim Malaysia is made with asamboi, salted sour plums. That’s partly because I was an asamboi addict – couldn’t study without sucking on asamboi with icy-cold water. In ice lolly, the saltiness and sourness of asamboi are the highlights, layered with the sweetness of the syrup – and the cold ice intensifies all these flavours.

When you first suck on an asamboi ice lolly, the sourness will hit you first. That intense sourness, combined with the icy-coldness, will shoot straight up to the head and give you a one-second high. Then, the sweetness and saltiness will take over. And finally, after you’ve sucked out all the flavours from the ice, and bit on the white ice, you’ll still have a sour plum to chew on.

I also make some adult happy ice lollies – my current favourite is made with rum and orange/pineapple juice. The ratio is 1:4 for rum:juice. It’s not potent, but you can pretend it is.

(Makes 20)


2 litres of water
2 cups of sugar, or to taste
100g of asamboi (I like red ones)

Bring water to a boil, and add the sugar and asamboi. Boil over low heat, or until the sugar has dissolved. Let it cool.
Fill the ice cream bag three quarter full, add a sour plum or two, and then knot the bag securely.


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26 Responses to “Home-made Ice Lollies – Malaysian-style”

  1. pigpigscorner Says:

    This certainly brings back memories! I’ve never tried one with asamboi though.

  2. Memoria Says:

    These are too cute!!! I want to make these!!

  3. Wandering Chopsticks Says:

    What a brilliant idea! I would eat so many of these! My mouth waters just thinking of the salty sourness.

    • Hungry Caterpillar Says:

      It’s really good for quenching thirst, esp in this terrible heat wave we are going through. I didn’t know you have sour plums in Vietnam, thought we were the only crazy people who like them

  4. boo_licious Says:

    Yums! Asamboi rocks, as it’s so refreshing.

  5. Jason Says:

    I like milo one! 😀

  6. jo Says:

    This reminds me of the many ice lollies I had eaten whilst schooling. My fav was the red bean one and still is today.

  7. tigerfish Says:

    We used to get this in the school canteen. I don’t think they sell these anymore.

  8. javap noi Says:

    we call them “ice candy” here in the philippines! same plastic bags and sweet juices left to freeze inside the fridge, popular flavors here include milk with young coconut meat, caramel syrup with sago pearls and tropical summer fruits (includes honeydew melons lychee etc. ) i specially love avocado! ( yes we eat them here as dessert mashed with condensed milk and shaved ice or made into ” ice candies” )

  9. Carolyn Jung Says:

    What a great, easy idea for a frozen treat. Love the distinctive log shape, too. Stay cool!

  10. No Onion Please Says:

    Those lollies look great! Would like to have one now! But what I’m more jealous of is that you have actually some heat to beat 😉 I have -10C right now behind the window 😦

  11. Petite Nyonya Says:

    This post brought back so many fond memories. The weather is indeed very hot these days & ais krim M’sia is a fantastic idea one can rekindle!

  12. swandiver Says:

    Would anyone know if I could find these plastic bags in the US? When I saw those pictures, the first thing that sprang to mind was ginger lemonade. The second was frozen grape juice.

  13. Asam and Jeruk « The Hungry Caterpillar Says:

    […] from chewing on them in between sips of iced water, it is also great for making ice lollies.. Asamboi powder (asamboi flesh blended finely with lots of sugar) is also the best dip for fruits […]

  14. ILikePaperCutting Says:

    I miss this – Asamboi. I usually make ice lollies from the unfinish red beans dessert.

  15. pialarsha Says:

    anyone know where I can find these in the UK? or online?

  16. Alice Says:

    Hi, I’m wondering where did you found the plastic bag?? I’ve been looking around but couldn’t find 😦

  17. regine Says:

    hi, can you email me the places where i can buy the long narrow plastic bags in PJ? thanks! regineyiwei@gmail.com

  18. When I was a kid: Age 0-12 years old | Karen Chan Lye May Says:

    […] Ice lolly was my favorite ice cream. It was only RM0.15 then. And my friends and I would buy them after school, on our way home […]

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