How to make mango sago - a sweet, creamy, and refreshing summery dessert that combines fresh mango with creamy coconut milk, decadent condensed milk, and sago pearls. Even better, this sago dessert is gluten-free, can be made dairy-free, and requires just 4 ingredients!
Technically this step is optional but highly recommended as it can cut their cooking time down by 50%! I recommend soaking the pearls in room-temp water for at least two hours at room temperature or overnight (in the fridge).
Step 2: How to cook sago pearls
Bring a pot of water (enough to cover the pearls by several inches as they’ll expand 2-3x their size while cooking) to a boil.
Add the sago pearls, bring to a boil once more, and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the pearls are completely translucent, with a slightly brownish tint.This will take around 40-45 minutes if the pearls weren’t soaked or 15-20 minutes if they were.
Step 3: Drain and rinse the sago
Drain the sago pearls through a colander and then rinse them well with cold water to remove excess starch.
If the remainder of the mango sago pudding ingredients isn't prepared at this point (it only takes a couple of minutes), then you can keep the sago in cold/ice water while prepping the rest.Don’t leave cooked sago balls out at room temperature for more than 4 hours, or they can turn bad. If you know you won’t be using them for longer, then store them, in the water, in the refrigerator.
Step 4: Prepare the mango pudding
Cut the mango (using one of these four methods). As you will blend the mango, there’s no need to make pretty cubes. You could even peel the mango and simply scoop all the flesh from the seed.Feel free to keep some to one side as a topping. I used a mini scooper/baller to create little mango ‘balls’. I did the same with some pink dragon fruit (completely optional).
Add the mango, coconut milk, and condensed milk to your food processor or blender and blend till you achieve a smooth consistency.
If the pudding is too thick, then add in a little more milk. If it’s not sweet enough, increase the condensed milk or add a little of your favorite liquid sweetener (like maple).
Step 5: Assemble the mango sago bowls
Transfer the mango mixture to a bowl (or glass jars/cups) and add the sago pearls. These can be used to top the pudding or mixed into it, then top with the mango and dragonfruit balls (and optionally some shredded/flaked coconut). You could also add a few extra spoonfuls of coconut milk if preferred.For extra sweetness, you could even drizzle the top of the pudding with a bit of extra condensed milk.
How to Store Mango Sago?
Store: Store the prepared mango sago in the fridge for up to two days, though the fresher it is, the better the results. To read about how to store the cooked sago pearls, read the FAQs.Freeze: I haven’t tried to freeze this sago dessert before as I prefer it fresh. However, freezing the prepared, combined mango sago should work (untopped). I recommend wrapping it tightly (or transferring it to single-serve airtight containers) then freeze for up to three months. Allow it to thaw overnight for an ‘instant’ dessert the following day.
Save some mango for the topping: this isn’t necessary, but you may want to save some of your mango from being blended and instead keep it as an extra topping to the mango sago dessert.
The pearl size: you may be able to get tapioca/sago pearls of different sizes. I like to use tiny ones for my preferred texture. However, feel free to use larger ones for chewier results. Just note that the cooking time will vary.
Give the pudding time to marinate: you can enjoy the mango sago immediately after preparing it. However, if you allow the dessert some time to chill in the fridge, the flavors will have time to marinate and ‘meld’. Just give it a quick taste before serving, as the sweetness can mellow when chilled, so you may want to add a little more condensed milk.
Other Optional Add-ins and Variations:
Mango pomelo sago: the original Hong Kong version of this dish included pomelo. If you live somewhere where it’s easy to source this ingredient, it’s highly recommended - it adds citrusy tang to the dessert. You can add pomelo segments or peel the skin off the segments and separate the tiny ‘pulp’ sections inside - for a citrusy treat that bursts in your mouth. If you can’t find pomelo, you could try another tart citrus, like grapefruit.
Coconut: shredded or flakes, you can add coconut to the top of the pudding. I recommend toasting it for a slight crunch and an extra layer of flavor.
Lime: for a touch of ‘zing’ and extra freshness, you could serve the mango sago dessert with a squeeze of fresh lime.
Vanilla extract: feel free to add a little vanilla extract to the mango blended mixture for extra flavor. I use homemade vanilla extract and add around ½ tsp then increase, to taste.