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Sago with Mango and Toasted Coconut


Sago with Mango and Toasted Coconut
Christina Soong-Kroeger

Sago is cool, finally.

For many years, sago was not cool. It was one of those dessert that occasionally popped up at BYO (Bring Your Own) gatherings, often brought by a Chinese or Indian friend.

Served with fresh fruit, brown sugar syrup and/or coconut milk, sago was one of those desserts that people usually enjoyed but only ate when someone else made it.

Occasionally one would find sago on the menu of your local Asian restaurant but again, it wasn't the most popular dessert around.

But that's all changed now, with the introduction of Asian dessert bars, which have popped up in every Australian capital city to cater to the growing overseas student populations.

Here you will find twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings happily tucking into bowls of sweet bean curd, black jelly and red beans, shaved ice dishes and yes, sago, too.

Finally, sago is cool, and not a moment too soon, either. Because sago is cheap, easy to make and delicious.

Typically, sago recipes are also gluten and lactose-free, making them a popular choice with coeliacs and people who cannot tolerate dairy.

For this recipe below you simply boil the sago (tapioca) beads with water, coconut milk, palm sugar and vanilla. And that's it, bar some simple garnishing with mango and toasted, shredded coconut.


Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 70 grams sago (tapioca)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 35 grams palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or essence
  • 25 grams shredded coconut
  • 1 fresh mango or 1 small tin mango


  1. In a small saucepan, bring sago, coconut milk, water, sugar and vanilla bean to the boil.
  2. Reduce to simmer until tapioca has become translucent (8-10 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, heat up a frypan until hot and then add shredded coconut.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, until coconut starts to brown nicely.
  5. When it’s almost done, turn off the heat as the coconut will continue to cook from the heat of the pan.
  6. To serve, ladle sago into serving bowls, top with sliced mango and garnish with shredded coconut.
  7. If you are using canned mango, a couple of teaspoons of the syrup can be dribbled over the sago, too.
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