Coconut Sago with Mango

Refreshing and light, creamy and sweet, Coconut Sago with Mango is your summer dream come true.

Recently, my friend Michelle of Sift and Simmer posted a picture of Mango Sai Mai Lo on her IG feed. Unfamiliar with this Asian dessert, I did a quick google search. Otherwise known as Sago, I knew I had to make it!

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!

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

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.

Ingredients:

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.
close up of coconut sago in glass cup with mango topping

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.

Other suggestions:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Passionfruit
  • Pomelo
  • Fruit puree (mango puree, strawberry puree, passionfruit puree)
  • Taro
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk (a drizzle is very good!)

Can I make this ahead of time?

This Coconut Sago recipe is best served immediately to preserve that bouncy, chewy texture.

To prepare ahead of time, store the sago separately in an air-tight container. When ready to serve, run under cold water in a fine-mesh sieve to “loosen” and separate the sago balls. Then add to coconut milk and top with mango!

If stored together with the coconut milk, the sago will keep absorbing the liquid and become quite soggy. At most, it can keep in the fridge for 2 hours stored this way. Any longer than that — I don’t recommend it.

How to Make Coconut Sago with Mango

Bring (at least) 8 cups of water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add Tapioca Pearls and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring constantly.

Drain in a fine-mesh sieve. a wooden spoon so that the excess liquid is drained. Rinse with cold water, stirring constantly, until pearls are cool to the touch.

Add coconut milk and sugar to a large (at least 4-cup) measuring cup. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Transfer drained, rinsed, cool tapioca pearls to the liquid and mix well. It will look soupy.

To create a more pudding-like consistency, store in the fridge (covered) for 1-2 hours.

Transfer to cups or small bowls. Add chopped, fresh mango on top. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Other Asian-inspired desserts you may enjoy:

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

Coconut Sago with Mango

The Subversive Table
Refreshing and light, creamy and sweet, Coconut Sago with Mango is your summer dream come true.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 17 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4

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
 

  • 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!
    stainless steel stock pot filled with boiling tapioca pearls
  • Lower heat to medium and cook until the balls are clear with white centers, 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.
    drained and rinsed tapioca pearls in fine mesh sieve
  • 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.
    measuring cup filled with coconut sago
  • Optional: to create a more pudding-like consistency, store in the fridge (covered) for 1-2 hours.
  • 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.
    three cups of coconut sago with mango on cutting board with bowl of mangoes in front

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!
Keyword Coconut, Mango, Sago
15 minutes, All Recipes, Asian Inspired, Dessert, Potluck

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Coconut Lime Popsicles (Dairy-Free + GF) | The Subversive Table

  2. Pingback: Black Sesame Creme Brulee | The Subversive Table

  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!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

*

Recipe Rating