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How to Cook Sago

Cooked Sago

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This is a step-by-step recipe for cooking sago pearls. Sago is largely tasteless in my opinion, but when added to Chinese desserts such as green bean soup and mango sago, the sago takes on a life on its own. The sago has a nice jelly-like and refreshing texture, and very cute to look at too because they are translucent.

See Also: Easy Chinese Desserts

The first time I cooked sago, I was totally clueless about how to prepare it. If there is one important lesson I learnt, that will be to always cook it separately from the dessert and to rinse it through a sieve, before adding to the dessert. Otherwise, the dessert will become too thick and gluey, as sago is essentially extracted starch.

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How to Cook Sago (Step-by-Step)
step1 Boil a small pot of water. When the water is boiling, add the sago. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Occasionally stir the sides and bottom of the pot to prevent sticking
How to Cook Sago After 10 minutes, the sago had turned partially translucent but you can still see some white dots. Turn off the flame.
How to Cook Sago Cover the pot with lid. Let it stand for 10 minutes. The sago will continue cooking by itself.
How to Cook Sago After the standing time of 10 minutes, the sago will turn fully translucent.
How to Cook Sago Rinse the cooked sago through a sieve and running water. This will remove the excess starch.
Cooked Sago Keep sago in a bowl of water until ready to use.
Red Bean Soup Add drained prepared sago to cooked Chinese desserts such as red bean soup.

48 comments on “How to Cook Sago”

  1. I think I tried cooking sago once (first and last time) when I was in Sg. Gave up then cos it was gluey and sticking to the pot. :O

    Alas can leave my comments…

  2. I love sago!! My favourite ingredient in dessert!

  3. Errm … Did you buy any particular brand of sago? Like from NTUC/Cold Storage or just from any random shop? I’ve tried a couple of brands but failed miserably. It all turned to mush … yucks!

  4. thanks for this useful cooking steps.

  5. thanks for sharing this wondeful instruction. Its extremely useful because I used it to cook the exact same lookin sago u have. I think they are the bigger version of the very small tiny sago that some folks here are asking about. those would only need about 4 minutes to cook and 4 minutes to sit covered, just like these ones.

    thanks again and it helps make my green bean soup more interesting

  6. Thanks a lot for this excellent tutorial. I tried it and the results are perfect. I used to throw the sago in near the end or middle and end up with mostly melted mess in the desserts. This way of cooking guarantees soft and not melted sago :). Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  7. Good to know the details about Sago Pearls.Thanks

  8. How do you keep the sago from sticking together if you need to keep them for 5 hours after you have cooked them? I tried putting them in cold water, but they stuck together. Then I tried to put them in room-temperature water, but they still stuck together. Do you have a method? Thanks.

  9. I just wish someone can tell me where to obtain some real good sago pearls. As i ask around no one seems to know it.

  10. Am from Malaysia, was told to soak the sago for a few mins, before cooking. And the quality of the sago varies, from large to small pearls, some just crumple and the water turns milky. Any suggestions

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