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Nov 15, 2012

Palm Sugar and Coconut Cream Sago Pudding (Sago Gula Melaka)







The bare basics .... 
Just sago, coconut cream/milk and palm sugar syrup.
Simple, easy, minimalistic, yet a favorite among the locals and many non-locals who have tried it. An evergreen recipe. One that I'm not even going to "twist". It's just too perfect. One that can put a happy grin on my man's handsome face at any time. That's perfect!

Sissi of With a Glass made a comment on the previous post (Mango Pomelo Sago thingy) about having bought a packet of sago pearls (just because they look so cute) and wondering what to do with it. Here you go, Sissi, this one's for you. (PS: that comment really made me smile). 

Sago pearls come in different sizes and colors. I like using the tiny white ones. The greens are probably pandan flavored or colored and the pinks .... hmm ... 
Lately I've seen some yellows. Since I've no idea what is being used to color those things, I'm sticking to plain.



INGREDIENTS

1 cup sago pearls
5 - 6 cups water (the more water you use, the less likely the sago will stick to your pot)
coconut cream / coconut milk
palm sugar syrup (or chopped palm sugar melted over a water bath)


METHOD

Bring the water to a rolling boil.
Sprinkle sago pearls into the boiling water.
Boil for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the sago from sticking at the bottom.
Switch off heat and put a lid on the pot. At this point, you'll still see some white dots.
Let sit for another 10 minutes.
Sago should look translucent and starchy.
Using a sieve, strain sago over cold running water, stirring to remove excess starch.
Spoon into molds, refrigerate until set. 


To serve:

Remove sago from molds. 

Drizzle over coconut milk and palm sugar syrup ... as much as your sweet tooth will allow, and ...
Dig in!

(Alternatively, you can just put the sago into nice serving bowls, let it set and just pour on the coconut milk and syrup to serve).







44 comments:

  1. Thats so pretty, I have certainly not seen this being served somewhere before. Ping you are teasing me because coconut cream and palm sugar sounds divine but I don't get those sago pearls here. What are sago pearls made off?

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    1. Thank you, Helene.
      That's strange, not having it where you are. I thought it's such an asian ingredient.
      It's made from sago starch and water, manufactured into little pearls, the size of mustard seeds ... well, almost.
      An alternative would be tapioca pearls, "sabudana" in Hindi, if that helps :)

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  2. Ping, what is this? Boil some sago, add coconut milk and sweetener, and you call this a recipe. I expected so much more from you, bit disappointed. Thankfully the photo is great, but that doesn't make up for it. You have motivated me to post a recipe for peanut butter and jam sandwich, with toasted bread. Thats complex. Or celery dipped in peanut butter:)
    On a more serious note, I've had tapioca (?) balls cooked in sweetened milk, served sort of like porridge. Really really delicious, now that you have reminded me I am craving slightly. And I need to find a recipe?:)

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    1. Hahahahaha!!! Go right ahead and make a peanut butter and jelly post. There will be someone out there who hasn't even heard of it. Whoa! Wait a minute ... toasted bread? That's complex indeed! Sure you can handle that? :)
      And, btw, I believe I've converted Sissi with the celery and peanut butter. Har!
      I believe the tapioca balls are much bigger in size than what I've used here ... could be a little more chewy but still nice.

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    2. The balls I had was much smaller (that doesn't sound right...). It was the size of mustard seeds. Don't know what it was made of.
      I will ask for your help when doing toasted bread - this seems to be your forté:)

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  3. Oooooo...I love this!!! You did not pour streaks of the gula Melaka over it! Yummmmmmm!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Arthur! A simple picture for a simple recipe ... appropriate, don't you think? :)

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  4. Ping, it is that simple? I think I ate this dessert at the MIA AGM brunch. It was really good! Yeah, I am so gonna make this sago thingy!

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    1. Yes PH, it is! I can't believe you haven't had more of this being a local and all. Seriously?

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  5. Okay...I didn't know the process is so simple until u share with us. I have palm sugar and it's time to work on it.ehheheheh

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    1. Yup, it is, if done right. If you read Elin's comment below, it could be tricky the first time making the sago, knowing when it's fully cooked through. But the method here should work perfectly. Hasn't failed me before. The part where you rinse off the starch is also important. You'll find out :)

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  6. Wow...it looks so good...you know it may look simple but really have to be careful when cooking the sago.I tried a few times and the sago was either soggy and starchy or not properly cooked :p I must try your method :) Thanks for sharing your method :)

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    1. Thanks, Elin! Yeah, when I first started cooking sago, I had the same problem. Letting it sit in a covered pot helps a lot.

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  7. nothing wrong with the basics - that's the beauty of it, simple and taste absolutely great. this is one of my favourite desserts. i was craving for this a few weeks ago, and dragged hubby across town in search of it :P

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    1. Hi Esther! Simple is always nice, eh? Now you don't have to drag your hubby across town ... just to the kitchen will do! :D

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  8. Hi Ping - this is such a pretty little dessert. Like Helene though I don't think we have sago here. I think I've seen tapioca though so that could maybe work.

    By the way, my mother tried one of your recipes recently... I'm not sure which one it was but she loved it. It was like a cake apparently. I told her to leave a comment but maybe she didn't do it in the end, but just wanted to let you know :)

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    1. Oh me! Oh my! Oh Gosh! You've made me the happiest person alive right now! Wish I knew what your mother tried and loved tho. It gives me a buzz to have someone try a recipe of mine and like it :) Thank you soooo much for telling me!
      Tapioca pearls would work, I suppose, but I think they're a little bigger in size and could get more chewy. The cooking time might vary as well. I must try it out with those and see ...
      You probably could find sago pearls in the Asian stores.

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  9. hahaha the last time i made this was during my school days. Not really fond of this so didnt make.

    Ahem ahem...got the kuih talam recipe ka? That one nice

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    1. You don't like sago pudding? Hmm ... one of the rare minorities :)
      Kuih talam? I don't quite like that so I don't make ... hehe. Serious!

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  10. Ping, I could stare at that picture for hours... so beautiful! Just Googled 'sago' -- never heard of it, but I like anything 'palm' -- yum! Hope you're feeling better... Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

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    1. Awww .... thanks, Kimby. Yes, I am feeling more upbeat these days and have finally got my car back.
      I guess I have taken some, what I thought were common ingredients, for granted. But perhaps you might know sago as "sego"?

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  11. What a fascinating dish. Sometimes the simplest is the best.

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    1. You're so right, Zsuzsa, thank you!

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  12. Dear Ping, it is such a wonderful surprise! I don't know how to thank you for this kind post and the recipe which would make me run into the kitchen if it wasn't too late for cooking today. It sounds so easy, I cannot believe I have had the cute balls in my pantry for such a long time without using them!
    It looks beautiful and so tempting (you are right: the white pearls look very elegant!), I am already considering to prepare it for my family for Christmas (no one would guess what it is made of!). First I have to test it though (I can spoil even the easiest recipes when I make them for the first time). Your artistic photo amazes me as always. Thank you again for your kind gesture and for the link to my blog. I am impatient to taste this delicacy and play with coloured sago!

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    1. No thanks needed, Sissi, I should thank you for getting me to realise how I've taken some of our most common and basic ingredients for granted ... even our recipes.
      You might need a few tries to get to the texture you prefer. Rinsing it less will turn out a starchier and more rubbery pudding. I always, rinse, stir it around to loosen the pearls, until I see individual translucent pearls. I have friends who prefer the "loose' sago version of this dessert and mix the rinsed pearls straight into the coconut milk instead of setting it in a mold, so that it doesn't stick together.
      Hope this helps. And I certainly hope you like this favorite of ours.

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    2. Thank you once more for the rinsing tips. I will have to experiment! (I am impatient, but I lack time this week...). Something tells me I will prefer them sticky but still keeping the cute pearl shape. I hope I can post it soon. You are really so kind :-)

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  13. Ok, first of all, this dessert looks exquisite. We're talking snow white beautiful. Second, those sago pearls are beyond adorable and I'm intensely curious about what they taste like - I mean on their own - what's the texture/taste - is it similar to other starchy foods - what could you compare it to? The addition of coconut milk and palm syrup sounds heavenly... oh, swooning over here, ... must find the pearls! ;0). p.s. please tell mr. 3 cookies that we like it simple - lol.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! They are cute, aren't they? Now you know why Sissi bought them just to store them :)
      They don't have a taste on their own ... just imagine cooked starch ... it's bland. Texture-wise, that depends on how much liquid starch is rinsed off after cooking. (See reply to Sissi's comment).
      Haha! Mr T is a hoot! You should check out his recipes ... he's a specialist in simple!

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    2. Kelly, the 'simple' comment was a joke:) I am thinking of making this once I get my hands on the key ingredient

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  14. Wow yummy coconut cream pudding i like it very much, and i wanna try this as a dessert, thanks to share with us

    sugar free sweetener

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  15. Hi Ping, wah.... my all time favorite. I never get tired of eating it. :) Nice picture!

    Have a nice week ahead,regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, glad you like it! Thank you!

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  16. Did you say coconut??? You better save me at least TWO helpings!!! So beautiful the way you've plated this.

    PS...one envelope of gelatin is .25 ounces or 7 grams. It is in a powdered form.

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    1. Yup! Come on over .. and hurry!
      Thanks Lizzy!

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  17. I see sago pearls all the time and never know what to do with it. Now I know thanks:-)

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    1. Glad to be of help :)
      Thanks for coming by.

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  18. This is so cute. It's easy to make and it's going fast too. I never new what to do with sago pearls or what they are, now i know what to do with them.

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  19. Thank you so much for this recipe! I've tried so many times to cook sago and it's always ended up a gluggy mess, but now I have beautifully soft and squishy sago setting in the fridge (in heart shaped molds squee!!) and I can't wait to eat it tonight :D

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