Refreshing and light, creamy and sweet, Coconut Sago with Mango is your summer dream come true.
In places all over the world, summertime means the same thing: swelteringly-hot, sticky masses of people desperately trying to stay cool. In Asia, specifically, summer weather can be brutally hot and humid.
Enter Coconut Sago with Mango, an Asian-inspired dessert that’s perfect for those intensely hot summer days. Light and refreshing. Loaded with fresh fruit. Not too sweet and not too heavy.
My version is very simple and made with just 4 ingredients! So refreshing!
What is Sago?
Sago or Tapioca Pearls are plant-based, starchy little balls made from cassava roots. When cooked, they turn clear or translucent. They have a slightly chewy, gelatinous consistency similar to chia seeds.
Sago is commonly added to Asian drinks and desserts. The texture is bouncy and chewy. The flavor is neutral. The perfect addition to pudding, fruit puree, cold drinks, tea, etc.!
In this case, creamy coconut milk and sweet mango combine for the ultimate light + refreshing dessert. Similar to boba, sago is deliciously addictive.
Sago is also dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. Making Coconut Sago an easy crowd pleasing recipe that everyone can enjoy.
How do you cook Sago?
Sago contains quite a bit of starch. When cooked incorrectly, Sago can become glue-y and soggy with the most unappealing texture.
The trick to cooking sago: add to boiling water and cook until chewy and soft with white centers, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Make sure the water is at a roiling boil! With big bubbles breaking the surface! The boiling water will instantly seal the tiny sago balls and prevent soggy, gummy, overcooked tapioca pearls.
This simple dessert requires only 4 ingredients:
- Sago. Look for it at the Asian market. There’s all kinds of sizes and varieties available. Sago will sometimes be labeled “Tapioca Pearls” and they will be white and very small.
- Coconut Milk. Canned, full-fat coconut milk is best.
- Sugar. Can be subbed with Agave, maple syrup, or honey.
- Mango. I prefer Ataulfo mangoes which are smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous than Tommy Atkins mangoes.
How to Make Coconut Sago with Mango
- Cook Sago: Bring water to boil. Add Tapioca Pearls and simmer until clear and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. The balls should be mostly clear but it’s ok if some centers are white here and there.
- Drain and rinse Sago: with cold water, stirring constantly, until pearls are cool to the touch.
- Add Sago to coconut milk: Mix coconut milk and sugar in a large (at least 4-cup) measuring cup. Transfer sago to liquid. It will look soupy.
- Transfer to cups or small bowls. Top with chopped, fresh mango. Serve immediately!
What else can I add to Coconut Sago?
Sago with coconut milk works as a fantastic base to many other flavors. My recipe calls for fresh, sweet mango. But make it your own and change it up with seasonal fruit.
- Fruit puree (mango puree, strawberry puree, passionfruit puree)
- Sweetened Condensed Milk (a drizzle is very good!)
Can I make this ahead of time?
Coconut Mango Sago can be prepped ahead of time. Simply store the cooked sago, coconut milk mixture, and mango separately. When ready to serve, run Sago under cold water in a fine-mesh sieve to “loosen” and separate the balls. Add to coconut milk mixture, top with mango, and serve!
I do not recommend storing the sago and coconut milk together. At most, it can keep in the fridge for 2 hours before it gets too bloated. The sago keeps absorbing the liquid and will become quite soggy.
Other Asian-inspired desserts you may enjoy:
- Coffee Jello
- Peach Yakult Sago Drink
- Easy Coconut Mochi Cake
- Matcha Coconut Pudding
- Korean Donuts (Kkwabaegi)
Creamy Mango Coconut Sago
- 1 cup tapioca pearls (small or fine)
- 1 400 ml/ 13.5 oz can coconut milk (canned) full fat, not from a box
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2-3 mangoes peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks
- Bring at least 8 cups/2 quarts of water to boil in a large stock pot. Add tapioca pearls (sago) to the boiling water. Make sure the water is at a roiling boil to instantly seal the starchy balls and prevent overcooking them!
- Lower heat to medium and cook until the balls are cooked through and clear, about 10-12 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape the bottom and corner of the pan to prevent sticking.
- Drain sago into a LARGE fine mesh strainer. Using a spoon, stir the tapioca pearls so that the excess liquid is drained. Rinse with cold water, stirring constantly, until the sago is cool to the touch. Drain as much excess liquid as possible.
- In a large (at least 4-cup) measuring cup or bowl, add coconut milk and sugar. Mix with a spoon until sugar dissolves.
- Transfer drained, rinsed, cool tapioca pearls to the liquid and mix well. It will look soupy.
- Transfer Coconut Sago into individual cups or bowls, making sure to fill it 3/4 full to accommodate the addition of fruit. Top with a generous spoonful (or two) of the fresh mango. Serve with additional mangoes, if you like.