Light and refreshing mango pomelo sago - a Cantonese dessert with tiny tapioca pearls and bursts of pomelo in every spoon.
Mango pomelo sago is a cold and refreshing dessert originating from Hong Kong. It’s always a delight to see this flavour combination pop up in early Fall when pomelos are in season and the weather is still warm. This year, I saw mango pomelo sago drinks and ice cream pop up at local businesses and I’m loving the love that this combination is getting!
What is sago?
Sago is the starch of the tropical sago palm that can be rolled into tiny balls that become translucent and soft when cooked. While commonly found in tropical Southeast Asia, sago can be hard to find in Canada and the US. More often, when you have "sago" desserts, the little pearls are actually made from tapioca, which comes from the cassava plant. This is what I’ve used in this recipe.
Sago or tapioca pearls don’t taste like anything on their own and aren’t chewy like the larger tapioca boba pearls. When added to desserts, they provide some thickening and a slight, smooth texture.
I’m personally most familiar with sago or tapioca pearls in Cantonese tong sui (a hot or cold, sweet dessert soup that may or may not include sago) and sai mai lo (a type of tong sui specifically made with sago). Sago desserts were always my favourites at the end of family dinners at Chinese restaurants.
How to make mango pomelo sago
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add sago to boiling water, lower heat to low-medium, cover partially, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the sago from sticking. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for another 10 minutes until the sago becomes translucent.
Strain the water away with a fine mesh sieve and rinse sago with cold water. Transfer sago to a small bowl of cold water and set aside.
In a blender, blend mangoes, coconut milk, and evaporated milk until smooth. If you’re using frozen mangoes, let this sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes or defrost them slightly in the microwave for easier blending. If you’re using fresh mangoes, you can add choose to blend in a handful of ice to keep the dessert cold.
Strain the sago from the water and stir into the mango mixture. Divide into serving bowls.
Add about 2 tablespoons of pomelo granules to each bowl. Serve cold.