Sago Dessert

2013-06-01
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Tapioca seeds/balls (sago)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut cream/milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon food colouring of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon flavouring of your choice
  • ¼ cup fresh desiccated coconut (optional)
  • 1 Litre serving dish

Method

In a large pot bring the water to boil with the sugar and salt.  When boiling add the tapioca and stir to cook. Frequent stirring action will also avoid  the sago from sticking to the base of the pan. In another pot bring the can of coconut milk to simmer on a medium to low heat but do not allow it to boil vigorously. Add to this colour and flavouring of your choice.

When most of the tapioca has turned translucent (approximately 20 minute)s then add to it the simmering coconut milk and stir well to combine and simmer further for 5 more minutes until it thickens. Serve hot from the pan into bowls or let it set in a wide dish with a sprinkling of coconut on top and let it cool then either scoop out the desired quantity or cut it into preferred shapes and serve for an afternoon tea. When hot let it set in glass dessert bowls sprinkled with some coconut for attractive effects.

Variations and Suggestions

I have observed in the West that Tapioca (Cassava starch) or Sago (palm starch) is only now becoming popular as a dessert or a drink/beverage. The ones readily available in our supermarkets are usually called ‘seeds’ but in actual fact they are manufactured as tiny balls from the  starch of either the Cassava tree or the Palm tree. Sometimes you may find that not all these seeds will go transparent when cooking, so sometimes I find that soaking them in a cup of warm water for five minutes before cooking  helps because it starts the cooking process by softening the seeds. If you use this method it will mean that you will require less water during the cooking process.

I grew up with Tapioca (Cassava) plants and my mother made various tapioca and coconut desserts when harvested. Tapioca bulbs grow a little like potatoes but are milky white in colour and much starchier than your ordinary potatoes I believe because when cooked they are very sticky. My mother made  savoury and sweet dishes from her tapioca plants in our garden.

The green colour obtained in my featured recipe is from a plant called Pandan. This plant also grew abundantly in my childhood garden alongside tapioca. To get the colour and flavour from it we had to grind the long green leaves in a mortar and pestle then with a little water we extracted the colour and flavour out of it and then strained it before using it in recipes. We also used the whole leaves in cooking sweet and savoury recipes. Those certainly were my happy days! Today Pandan liquid can be purchased from major supermarkets  in small bottles and certainly from your local China Town/Asian grocer. It not only delivers colour but also flavour so use about 1/2 teaspoon for this recipe.  Enjoy!

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