Sago is back in fashion! It is wonderful when it is paired with enough lemon juice that it is tangy, and enough jaggery that it is sweet, and swimming in coconut milk. A truly delicious and cooling dessert, just made for hot weather. It can be served hot, cold and at room temperature. This is gorgeous. I still make it often.
Do youemember sago – that lumpy stuff that we ate as kids? Tasteless but oh so cheap to cook. Well, it is back! Borrowing from the cuisines of South and SE Asia, sago is now a yummy, sweet dessert for summer (cold or chilled) or winter (hot). Try this one. Great for any time, even for kids arriving home from school.
Pandan (pandanus) leaves and fresh kaffir lime leaves are available from good Asian supermarkets. They are not entirely necessary to this dish, but add a subtle flavour to it. If you are lucky enough to have cardamon plants growing, add a cardamon leaf to the boiling water instead.
Growing your own plants is so easy. I have a kaffir lime plant in a pot, about 8 feet tall and flowering this year for the first time. Not that the limes are anything to write home about, but it is exciting nevertheless. And I have cardamon growing in a pot. It doesn’t flower but the leaves are used in anything from teas to curries to rice to desserts. Yum. Also on my balcony in pots are several different kinds of mints, parsley, curry leaf, thyme, basil, rosemary and sage. So much better fresh, and always available.
There is a similar recipe from the Retro Recipe Series on this site’s sister site, A Life (Time) of Cooking, but it has been updated there with changes in technique. It is a bit simpler, too. The recipe appears here as part of the Retro Recipes series.
Tropical Coconut Sago Pudding
|8 oz sago||6 oz brown sugar||6 oz can coconut milk||32 oz water|
|Pandan leaves (optional)||very ripe sweet bananas or other tropical fruits||fresh kaffir lime leaves or lemon/lime rind (optional)|
Boil the water in a large pot. Put the sugar and pandan (pandanus) leaves into the boiling water, and add the sago. Stir periodically so that the sago does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Keep the water boiling and cook until the sago is transparent – about 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the coconut milk. You can also stir through most of the fruit cut into chunks.
Serve it hot or cold or chilled in the fridge. Top with the remainder of the fruit and some shredded fresh kaffir lime leaves or finely grated lemon or lime peel.