Easy sago pudding recipe

Sago pudding is a typical dessert throughout Asia. As it’s gluten free, vegan and totally versatile, I thought I should have a go at creating something scrumptious! So here’s an easy sago pudding recipe with coconut milk which can be served hot or cold.

What is sago? Once cooked, sago looks like little individual balls of jelly, or, as Mr puts it, frogspawn. Don’t let this put you off, sago has no flavour on it’s own, and so takes on the taste of whatever you serve it with. Sago is made from the centre (the pithy bit) of a certain type of palm. It’s quite short and wide with a bushy crown of leaves, so is popular as an ornamental palm. The trunk is squeezed and the sap dried to make a flour. The flour is then used to make the pearls which come in small, medium and large. Sago is naturally gluten free. 

thai sago

Where to buy sago? Sago pearls are commonly found in Asian supermarkets, they look like a bag of polystyrene balls /fish food (especially the fish brand shown above). Sago is often confused with tapioca, both of which come in pearls and look identical. Tapioca is made from a root tuber instead, it’s still gluten free though. As long as you adjust the cooking, one could be used in place of the other.

Thai sago pudding with coconut milk is traditionally served hot with black beans, yellow beans, corn or taro. However I love it cold too, and it goes beautifully with fresh mango, this is a home made version of my favourite dish at Mango Tango in Chiang Mai!

Coconut sago pudding
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Ingredients
  1. 80g small sago pearls
  2. 250ml coconut milk
  3. 1 tbsp white sugar
  4. pinch salt
  5. 1 pandan leaf (tied into a knot)
  6. 2 ripe mangos
  7. squeeze lime
  8. icing sugar to taste
Instructions
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with at least 750ml (3 cups) of water, bring to a slow simmer.
  2. Place the sago pearls in a sieve, fill a bowl (big enough to hold the sieve) with cold water
  3. Dunk the sago into the water and then put into the saucepan
  4. Simmer sago until they are translucent and float on the surface.
  5. Strain the sago into the sieve
  6. Place the sieve back in the cold water to stop cooking and prevent the pearls sticking together
  7. Place the coconut mik, pandan leaf, sugar and salt in a pan, bring to slow simmer for 5 mins
  8. Strain the sago and add to the pan for 3mins
  9. Remove from the heat and leave to cool
  10. Peel both mangos, slice down each side of the stone
  11. Cut 3 halves into smallish (2cm) cubes, set aside.
  12. Using the excess from around both stones and one half for the coulis, cut into small peices
  13. Blend, or press through a sieve until smooth
  14. Add a squeeze of lime and icing sugar to taste (depends on sweetness of the mangos)
  15. Assemble in 4 small glasses
  16. Sago, then coulis, more sago and topped with fresh mango
Notes
  1. Alternative fruit can be used, or you could just use a coulis. Passionfruit, cantaloupe melon, banana or pineapple all work well with the coconut.
  2. Or, if you want a hot coconut pudding, omit the fruit and serve naked!
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