Easy Coconut Mango Sago (Tapioca Dessert)

Difficulty Easy

Make a refreshing summer dessert: Coconut Mango Sago! This popular Asian dessert has only four ingredients: coconut milk, fresh mangoes, sugar, and sago (also called tapioca pearls). Enjoy this delicious dessert that’s easy to make at home!

Coconut Mango Sago

Coconut Mango Sago is a popular Asian dessert served in Hong Kong. A classic Cantonese dessert, it features creamy coconut milk and small tapioca pearls topped with chunks of fresh mangoes. An easy dessert that’s refreshing on a hot summer day!

Sago, also called tapioca pearls, is an edible starch from the pith of a sago palm. They are tiny white balls that turn clear when cooked. The cooked sago pearls are pleasantly chewy. They add a satisfying texture to any drink or dessert.

Some sago favorites: Peach Yakult Sago Drink and Korean Strawberry Milk with Sago.

Cooking the sago takes a little effort. But the cooking process is simple and straight-forward. Make it once to see how easy it is. A summer dessert that’s also a crowd pleaser!

The base of this Mango Sago dessert is a combination of coconut milk and bouncy tapioca pearls. These create a thick consistency similar to coconut milk tapioca pudding. They are also a neutral backdrop that tastes great with any kind of fresh fruit.

Coconut Mango Sago is a perfect after-dinner treat. So light and refreshing! Enjoy the tropical flavors!

two cups of coconut sago with mango topping on marble cutting board

Ingredients:

  • Sago. Sago, also known as Tapioca Pearls, are edible starch balls that are commonly added to Asian drinks and dessert. Dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan — these bouncy and chewy little balls add a satisfying texture. Look for Sago at the Asian market, where they come in different sizes and colors. 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. If you have a sweet tooth, the sweetness level can be adjusted.
  • Mango. Choose ripe mangos for the best flavor. I prefer Ataulfo mangoes which are smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous than Tommy Atkins mangoes. But choose the type of mango that you like best. In a pinch, frozen mangoes also work.

Instructions:

  1. Cook Sago. Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add mini tapioca pearls to the hot water. Cook until the sago are translucent, stirring frequently, about 10-12 minutes. The balls should be mostly clear with a few white centers or white dots here and there.
  2. *After 10-12 minutes
  3. Drain Sago. Use a fine mesh sieve to drain the sago. Add cold water to rinse off the excess starch and excess water. Stir constantly, until the tiny tapioca pearls are cool to the touch.
  4. Make coconut milk. While the sago cooks, make the coconut milk mixture. Add coconut milk and sugar in a large (at least 4-cup) measuring cup or large bowl. Whisk well, making sure there are no clumps of coconut milk and the sugar dissolves.
  5. Make Coconut Sago Pudding. After the Sago is fully cooked and drained, add the cool sago. Mix gently to combine. It will look soupy.
  6. Serve. Transfer to cups or small bowls. Top with chopped, fresh mango chunks. Serve immediately!
two cups of coconut sago with mango topping on marble cutting board
4. Top with fresh mango and enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Add Sago to BOILING water. Sago contains a lot of starch — it can dissolve when cooked incorrectly. Add to boiling water (with big bubbles breaking the surface) to instantly seal the tiny balls and prevent overcooked tapioca pearls from completely losing their shape.
  • Cook until clear and mostly translucent. The sago is done when they are soft and mostly clear. It’s ok if there are a few white centers here and there.

Variations:

Sago with coconut milk works as a fantastic base for many other flavors. Make it your own and change it up with seasonal fruit and toppings.

  • Fresh fruit. Add seasonal fresh fruit. Strawberries, Blueberries, Passionfruit, Mango Pomelo, Taro.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk. To make it sweeter, add a drizzle of Sweetened Condensed Milk. YUM!
  • Fruit puree. A classic addition to many sago desserts. In a food processor, puree fresh fruit and sugar together until smooth. Add to the coconut milk mixture or add on top, for a layered effect.

FAQ

Can I make this ahead of time?

Coconut Mango Sago can be prepped ahead of time. 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.

close up of coconut sago in glass cup with mango topping

More Asian dessert recipes:

glass cup of coconut sago with mango topping on marble cutting board and mangoes in background

Easy Coconut Mango Sago (Tapioca Dessert)

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Refreshing and light, creamy and sweet, Coconut Mango Sago is the ultimate summer dessert! Sweet ripe mangoes and rich coconut milk combine to create a luscious, not-too-sweet summer treat. Add plenty of sweet mango chunks and tiny tapioca pearls to add lots of satisfying chewy texture. An easy recipe that's irresistible!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4
Calories 247 kcal

Equipment

  • Fine Mesh Sieve

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • Cook Sago. Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add mini tapioca pearls to the hot water. Cook until the sago are translucent, stirring frequently, about 10-12 minutes. The balls should be mostly clear with a few white centers or white dots here and there.
  • Drain Sago. Use a fine mesh sieve to drain the sago. Add cold water to rinse off the excess starch. Stir constantly, until the tiny tapioca pearls are cool to the touch.
  • Make coconut milk. While the sago cooks, make the coconut milk mixture. Add coconut milk and sugar in a large (at least 4-cup) measuring cup or large bowl. Whisk well, making sure there are no clumps of coconut milk and the sugar dissolves.
  • Make Coconut Sago Pudding. After the Sago is fully cooked and drained, add the cool sago. Mix gently to combine. It will look soupy.
  • Serve. Transfer to cups or small bowls. Top with chopped, fresh mangoes. Serve with more mango, so people can help themselves. Serve immediately!

Notes

* I DO NOT recommend storing the sago with the coconut milk longer than 2 hours!  The resulting sago will be soggy and unappealing.
*To make ahead:  Store sago separately in an air-tight container.  To serve, rinse the sago in a fine mesh sleeve under cold water until separated and loosened.  Combine drained, rinsed tapioca pearls with coconut milk + sugar.  Stir gently to combine. Pour into individual cups/bowls.  Top with diced mango and enjoy immediately!

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 1gFat: 0.5gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 179mgFiber: 2gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 1120IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Coconut, Mango, Sago
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
15 minutes, All Recipes, Asian, Dessert, Game Day Food, Potluck

3 Comments

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  3. Thanks for sharing this easy recipe Lis! We tried it the other night and we really liked how the coconut soup doesn’t require cooking – using white sugar makes it dissolve easily into the coconut milk = one less pot to use. We doubled the recipe and it wasn’t too sweet; we did one modification of using cooked taro chunks instead of mango and it still turned out great! We ended up serving it chilled, so it def had a more pudding-like consistency, but I also had it with evaporated milk cus I like mine more soupy. Great and easy recipe! Thanks!

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