If you're looking for a thick, perfectly sweet, and incredibly delicious pudding, then Sago pudding is the one for you! With just a few ingredients, such as sago pearls, butter, sugar, and aromatic spices like cardamom and saffron, you'll get one of the tastiest desserts in the United Arab Emirates!
- WHAT IS SAGO?
- WHAT IS SAGO PUDDING?
- WHAT MAKES THIS SAGO RECIPE SPECIAL?
- WHERE DID SAGO ORIGINATE FROM?
- ARE SAGO AND TAPIOCA THE SAME THING?
- 🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR SAGO
- 🔪 HOW TO MAKE SAGO
- 💭 COOKING TIPS FOR SAGO
- 📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS FOR SAGO
- 🍲 MORE DESSERT RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
- 🌡️ HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER SAGO
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
What's best is that it's a super versatile dessert that you can use different toppings to change up the flavor and make it your own! My recipe includes delicious toasted nuts such as pistachios and almonds that give our sago pudding a lovely crunchy texture and tasty nuttiness that's hard to beat!
Whether you're looking for a delicious dessert for a chilly evening or a sweet treat to serve on a special occasion, this sago recipe is definitely going to be a hit with your family and friends. So gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and let's get started making this delectable yet easy-to-make Sago dessert!
WHAT IS SAGO?
Sago is a type of starch made from the spongy center of different tropical palm trees. This starch is processed into small, clear beads commonly used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking and baking.
These are also known as tapioca beads and are very versatile! They can be boiled, fried, or baked, often used as a thickening agent in soups, stews, and sauces.
Sago is also a pretty healthy ingredient! It's a great source of gluten-free carbohydrates, which is a great metabolism booster, and a very good source of protein. Sago is also rich in minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium, which are essential for a complete and balanced diet.
Plus, it's also good for digestion, often used for infants or people recovering from illnesses because of its soothing effect on the digestive system.
WHAT IS SAGO PUDDING?
Sago pudding is a traditional South Asian and Southeast Asian dessert that uses sago pearls in a creamy, sweet pudding.
This pudding is made by simmering sago pearls in water until they are soft and tender. Then adding butter, sugar, and aromatic spices like cardamom and saffron to boost its flavor.
The pudding is then cooked until thick and creamy. To serve it, top it with toasted nuts like pistachios or almonds.
Sago pudding is an incredibly popular dessert in many countries, especially in Arabian Gulf Countries, India, Malaysia, New Guinea, and even Sri Lanka. It's a delicious sweet treat that can be enjoyed any time of the year!
WHAT MAKES THIS SAGO RECIPE SPECIAL?
There are tons of reasons why this recipe is incredibly special and absolutely delicious! Let's look at the top ones:
Flavorful texture: The flavor and texture combination is definitely what makes this sago recipe special. The sago pearls have a chewy texture that soaks up all the flavorful ingredients in this dish to give you incredible flavor in every bite!
Rich and sweet: Butter, sugar, and ghee give this dish richness with the perfect amount of sweetness! The fragrant spices also give it an exotic flavor to make it a truly unique and deliciously comforting dessert.
Perfectly nutty: The crunchy pistachios or almonds in this recipe add a delightful nuttiness and crunchy texture that's definitely hard to beat!
WHERE DID SAGO ORIGINATE FROM?
Sago was first harvested from the true sago palm, a palm tree native to the Indonesian archipelago, but it didn't take long for this tasty dessert to be exported across the globe!
Malaysians make a version of it called sago gula melaka with palm sugar syrup and coconut milk, and it's also a popular delicacy in New Guinea.
In different parts of India, this dessert is made using milk instead of water and is known as sabudana kheer, which literally means sago pudding in Hindi. While in Sri Lanka, coconut milk is primarily used to make it similar to countries like Malaysia, but with the addition of raisins and other aromatic spices.
Sago pudding has even made it as far as the United Kingdom, where it's normally thickened further with eggs and cornflour.
ARE SAGO AND TAPIOCA THE SAME THING?
Saga and tapioca are very nearly the same thing, with a couple of slight differences. The main difference is that sago is harvested from edible starch found in various tropical palm trees, while tapioca is made from the starch found in the roots of the cassava plant. Sago also has a higher protein content than tapioca, as well as more vitamins and minerals.
Another difference between the two is their size, texture, and color. Sago pearls are usually smaller and firmer than tapioca pearls, which are large and soft, whereas tapioca can be either translucent or various colors, sago is usually always opaque and white in color.
There is only a slight difference in taste, with sago normally being a little less sweet than tapioca. Overall, sago and tapioca can usually be used interchangeably for recipes, but definitely stick to sago for this one for an authentic flavor and one of the tastiest desserts you've ever had!
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR SAGO
All you need are some simple ingredients to make an irresistible dessert that you're going absolutely fall in love with. Let's look at some of the main ingredients.
You can scroll down to the recipe card for further details and instructions.
Sago: Delicious and nutritious with a great chewy texture, we'll use sago as the base of this dessert to soak up all the flavor of the other ingredients.
Spices: Cardamom and saffron will give our sago a delightfully floral flavor that's slightly sweet, making our dessert both tasty and exotic!
Nuts: Pistachios have a subtle earthy flavor that's rich and slightly sweet while almonds are nutty and slightly buttery, but either one is a great choice for this dessert!
Butter and ghee: We're going to use both butter and ghee for this recipe to add a rich and slightly nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the rest of the ingredients. Using both also truly takes this dessert to the next level!
🔪 HOW TO MAKE SAGO
Making this delicious dessert is easier than you think. In just a few simple steps, you'll have the tastiest dessert of your life!
The full instructions are in the recipe card below, but let's look at the main steps to making this treat.
First, mix the saffron and cardamom in a small bowl with four tablespoons of warm water and set it aside. Then, in a separate bowl, soak the sago with enough water to cover it completely, about 2 cups, and set it aside for 30 minutes.
Next, in a large pan, add the sugar and three tablespoons of water. Cook the mixture on medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally to dissolve the sugar until it carmelizes. Pour the remaining water onto the caramelized sugar and keep stirring until the sugar dissolves again.
As the caramelized sugar and water comes to a boil, add the soaked sago and stir it gently. When some of the sago is transparent, and some is still a little white, add the butter and ghee and continue stirring on medium-low heat.
When the sago is almost entirely transparent, add the saffron and cardamom mixture we made earlier and stir it together. Continue occasionally stirring while the sago cooks and turns completely transparent, which takes about 35 to 45 minutes. Add the nuts and stir for five more minutes, then turn off the heat.
Serve the sago hot or at room temperature, garnished with nuts and lightly sprinkled with a little more cardamom powder.
Your delicious Sago is ready to be served!
💭 COOKING TIPS FOR SAGO
Toast the nuts: Be sure to toast whichever nuts you choose before adding them to the sago; it really brings out their nutty taste!
Watch the sugar: Be sure to keep an eye on the sugar while you're caramelizing it. Don't let it get dark in color, or your sago will turn bitter.
Buy different-sized sagos: You can find small and large sago seeds in the market. You can use both, but soak the large for one hour before using it.
Use butter or ghee, or both: You can go for ghee and oil or only oil, but the combination of butter and ghee gives a great taste.
Adjust for consistency: This recipe is quite forgiving! So if you want the sago to come out thinner in consistency, add more boiling water. Try half a cup at a time, and mix it well till you get your desired consistency.
📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS FOR SAGO
There are many delicious variations of sago that you can try to make this dessert even more enjoyable! Here are a few ideas:
- Rose water: Traditionally, many people love adding a little rose water to their sago. My family and I are not fans, so I skipped it in this recipe. But if you love the floral flavor and scent, you can go for it!
- Coconut: Looking for an exciting variation? Try making Coconut Sago Pudding by adding a little desiccated or flaked coconut to the sago for a deliciously sweet and nutty flavor.
- Dried fruit: You can add some raisins or other dried fruit to your delicious Sago pudding to elevate the flavor even more!
- Milk: Instead of water, you can also use whole milk, coconut milk, or even almond milk to make your sago extra creamier.
🍲 MORE DESSERT RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
🌡️ HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER SAGO
In an airtight container, you can store leftover sago pudding in the fridge for up to 6 days. You can freeze this delicious dessert in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before warming it over the stovetop and adjusting the consistency with a bit of water.
- 1 cup sago
- 2 cups + 3 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 2 tablespoon rose water optional
- ½ tablespoon cardamom powder
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- ¼ cup crushed pistachio or roasted almonds
- 5 cups water
- In a small bowl, mix the saffron with cardamom and 4 tablespoon warm water. Keep aside.
- Soak the sago in enough water to cover it, around two cups, and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
- In a large pan, add the sugar and three tablespoon water. On medium heat allow the sugar to dissolve while swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar caramelize.
- Now pour the remaining water on the caramelize sugar, careful the sugar will sizzle and splatter. Keep stirring and the sugar will dissolve again.
- When the caramel comes to a boil, add the soaked sago with the water over the caramel and stir.
- When some of the sago is transparent and some still a little white, add the butter and ghee, and keep on stirring on medium low heat.
- When the sago is almost all transparent add the saffron and cardamom mix and stir.
- Keep stirring occasionally, the sago will take 35 to 45 minutes to cook, and all the sago seeds will turn transparent. Add the nuts and stir for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with nuts and sprinkle with cardamom powder.
- I didn’t use rose water since we are not fond of it at our home.
- Sago seeds are found small and large in the market, you can use both, but soak the large for one hour before using it.
- You can use nuts like, cashew, pecan, pistachios in this dessert. For best result use toasted nuts.
- Do not allow the sugar to get a dark color when caramelizing or the dessert will turn bitter.
- You can go for ghee and oil or only oil, but the combination of butter and ghee gives a great taste.
- This recipe is forgiving, if you want to the sago to come out thinner in consistency, you can add more boiling water, try half a cup at a time and mix.
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