When I need a really fast, make ahead sweet, I reach for this Mango Sago. Especially now, when mangoes are at their peak. Even with all of the annoying squirrels racing to get their fair share, I still have plenty left to make this recipe. With perfectly ripe summer fruit, this tropical dessert doesn’t even need any sugar. It’s creamy, cooling, refreshing and makes a beautiful presentation. Any leftovers make a great grab and go breakfast too!
I first had this dessert at a Singaporean restaurant in Manila many years ago. It’s a frequent dessert soup served at Chinese restaurants. After a rich meal, this mildly sweet, fruity offering is a sophisticated step above cut oranges. And with just a couple of quick easy steps, you too can have this on your table tonight!
Sago are tapioca pearls, made from the starch of the cassava root. The starch gets gelatinized when cooked, which then thickens liquid into a pudding-like consistency. Sago pudding can be made with all kinds of fruit, and is enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia. Mango Sago is said to have originated in Hong Kong, where it is appreciated for its tropical flavors. Be careful to get the small white pearls, not the larger black or brown tapioca that is used to make Boba Tea.
Preparing Mango Sago
This recipe relies on the sweetness of ripe summer mangoes. When selecting them, look for fruit that gives when you gently squeeze it and has a rich tangy aroma. While you don’t want rock hard, you don’t want super mushy/soft either, because we are going to cut some pretty cubes to garnish our mango sago.
If mangoes are not available or out of season, you can use frozen mangoes or even switch out the mangoes for strawberries, raspberries, or peaches. I’ve also had this soup many times with chunks of taro root floating in it, a traditional version which you can make year round.
Blend until it’s a smooth puree and take a taste. If it’s not as sweet as you’d like, add the optional sugar. Then chill in the fridge for at least an hour until ready to combine with the tapioca. You can make the puree a day ahead too.
Cooking the Sago
It is crucial that your water is at a furious boil before you start. Use a whisk or fork to stir the water as you pour in the tapioca. You need the tapioca to be separate grains and tapioca loves to cling together. If you’re not attentive, you will end up with a tapioca raft, where your tapioca gels into one big blob. Once you’ve poured in the tapioca, lower the heat and cook the tapioca for 13-15 minutes, giving it a good whisk every couple minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the tapioca sit in the hot water for another 5 minutes. This soaking time allows the tapioca pearls to fully hydrate. Any hard white centers will disappear as they soak in the hot water so don’t worry about them. Once the pearls are translucent, drain them in a sieve and run under cool water to cool.
Now that the sago is cooked, it’s time to add the prepared mango puree.
Mix to combine:
Keep them in the fridge until ready to serve. The longer the Mango Sago sits, the more pudding like it becomes. I enjoy eating it immediately after making it as a chilled soup, and then having one the next day when it’s more like a tapioca pudding. Either way, it’s delicious. I hope this easy Mango Sago brightens up your summer. Let me know by commenting and rating the recipe, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: serves 4
- Category: sweets
- Cuisine: Chinese
- ¼ cup small tapioca pearls
- 3 fresh ripe mangoes
- 8 oz coconut milk or coconut cream
- ¼ cup condensed milk
- 2–3 Tablespoons sugar (optional depending on the sweetness of the mangoes)
- Peel the mangos and then cut the mango off of the seed in thick slices. Take a couple of the nicest slices and cut them into ¼ inch chunks for garnishing (you should have about ½ cup). The rest will be blended. You should have about 1 pound of mango to puree.
- In a blender, add the coconut milk, condensed milk, and mango. Blend until smooth, and transfer to a large bowl. Taste the puree. If it’s not as sweet as you would like, add the optional sugar to taste.
- Cover the bowl and then chill the mango puree for at least an hour before adding the tapioca. (You can make this the night before and store it covered in the fridge.)
- In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Make sure the water is at a rapid boil, and then add the tapioca, whisking as you pour it in. (If the water is not boiling, the tapioca will stick together and you will create one gooey raft of tapioca).
- Lower the heat to medium high and simmer for 13-15 minutes, whisking every couple of minutes. It’s ok if the tapioca still has a small white spot in the middle. It will disappear as it sits in the hot water.
- Turn off the heat and let the tapioca sit for 5 minutes or just until the tapioca is clear. Drain the tapioca into a sieve and rinse under running cold water to cool. Drain well.
- Add the tapioca to the mango puree and mix to combine. Pour into individual bowls and top with the reserved mango chunks. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Do not substitute Boba tea tapioca pearls which are a completely different product.
*If fresh mangoes are not available, feel free to substitute 1 pound of frozen mango or 2 cups of other fruit such as peaches, strawberries, or raspberries. Add sugar to taste once you have made the puree.
Keywords: mango, sago, desserts, summer, sweets, chinese, cantonese