Sago Porridge

Sago Porridge

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Soak: 5 mins
Total: 22 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
17 Calories
0g Fat
3g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 17
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 14mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 32mg 2%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 30mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sago is a starch that is extracted from the pith, or spongy center, of a variety of tropical palm plants, including the sago palm. It is then processed into either flour, meal, or pearl sago (this form is similar to tapioca).

It is one of the staple food products in New Guinea and the Maluku Islands in Indonesia where it is referred to as saksak, sagu, and rabia. Southeast Asia is the largest producer of sago and exports the starch to Europe and North America.

Sago is used in a few different ways, including as a thickener, for baking, and in desserts such as puddings. The preparation can range from forming it into a pancake, making it into a glue-like paste, or forming the starch into balls. Commercially, it is most often made into pearls. The pearls are boiled until they are translucent and then sweetened with milk and sugar. Cinnamon is the spice flavoring of choice but cardamom works great, too; and it goes well with various toppings. The bubbles at the bottom of the bowl or cup make for a delightful surprise as they slide down your throat.

"This traditional porridge is very easy to whip up and incredibly customizable. It is a great gluten-free option, and with the pearls cooked in water, you can even use dairy-free milk if you choose. My favorite part was the cinnamon stick steeping in the water which created a beautiful aroma!" —Tracy Wilk

Sago Porridge
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sago pearls

  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided

  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, or 2 gently bruised cardamom pods

  • Sugar, to taste

  • Milk, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sago Porridge ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Soak sago with 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes.

    Soak sago with water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. While the sago is soaking, add the remaining 1 cup of water to a saucepan along with the cinnamon stick (or cardamom). Cover and bring to a boil.

    water and cinnamon in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add the soaked sago along with any residual soaking liquid to the boiling water and stir.

    Add the soaked sago along with any residual soaking liquid to the boiling water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the sago is translucent and cooked through.

    Sago Porridge cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Remove from heat, and sweeten with sugar and milk to taste.

    Sago Porridge in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations

  • Choosing the cardamom pods instead of cinnamon will give this pudding an Indian or Middle Eastern flair. The pods are either black or green; for this recipe, use the green pods and gently "smash" them using the side of a knife.
  • The flavor of this dish can be changed by simply swapping out the cinnamon or the milk for an alternative. In place of, or in addition to, the cinnamon, add in a bit of nutmeg and/or ginger. And, whether for taste or to make the recipe vegan and dairy-free, you can use almond milk or coconut milk in place of regular milk.
  • For added texture and flavor, include a little bit of dried fruit, chopped apple, or fresh berries. You can also sprinkle a few toasted nuts on top before serving.