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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.

49 comments on “How to Cook Sago”

  1. Great instruction, very helpful. Thanks for taking the trouble.

  2. Don’t try to cook this. I tried to cook it for half an hour, the sago pearls were still white and hard. Some turned translucent indeed but most did not. Left a slimy mess in my pot that took me 10 minutes to scrub it away. I did simmer this and stir it occasionally btw. To think I’ve finally found the treasure in my local asian grocery store but no, Worst ingredient I’ve ever seen.

  3. Where can you buy sago pearls, I can only find the tapiaco pearls but not the sago pearls.

  4. I am in South Africa. I learnt about sago when I had loose stools. I soaked it in water for 3 hours and then drank the water and my stools have stiffened. Now I eat a small portion of sago everyday. The best way to cook sago is put it in cold water in a pot. About 2 tablespoonfuls are enough and a half cup of cold water. bring it to a boil for 10 minutes stirring once in a while then boil it again for another 10 minutes. This should be in a medium heat. 20 minutes is enough to get the sago to be translucent. I add a tiny bit of salt and chillies and eat it.

  5. Should cook longer ==

  6. Needs  a higher ratio of water to sago as sago expands and absorb water. This recipe works. Simmering 10 mins is an approximate depending on your flame .. adjust accordingly as not to “melt” the sago to blobs of starch. Glad for the tips given 

  7. Tried this, works beautifully! I had more water than sago of course. Followed instructions above, except depending where I buy my sago, some need 15 min on fire n off fire…some need 10. But end result beautiful, no sticky, translucent sago!

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