Whee! I’m in Singapore again! Passing through on official business… Official travelling business! Ha! I thought I would shed some light on an unsung hero of Singaporean dessert specialities…. and how to make it at home!

I first tried Mango-Pomelo-Sago in January 2012, visiting family over Christmas during my third year at UCL. I was stressing out about a mini- thesis due in the day after I landed at Heathrow. January 9th! Aaaaa!! (Yes, I am great at remembering dates, Facebook’s memory has nothing on mine! It’s why I chose to study Art History…)

As you may or may not know I am a keen follower of the saying “STRESSED backwards spells DESSERTS.” So off I went to the local foodcourt in Novena in search of a Dopamine hit… my mother had tried this beforehand, and suggested I try it too. It looked a little something like this:


I have to say it was a little odd at first, soupy in consistency, mango flavoured, custard like, but not quite custardy….

This reminds me, I should probably write about hot soupy desserts I’ve come across in the foodcourts as they are quite interesting to observe!! (One more added to the list of side-note posts… side posts? )

You know what? I liked it, it worked, and it was cold and refreshing after a really long day of brain-racking and typing poetic, philosophical musings on obscure theorists like Alain Badiou… I got a first in that mini-thesis so it was all worth it in the end; but I digress…

If you are as curious as I am about food, and would like to try this delightful Singaporean dessert, here’s how!

The ingredients are pretty simple … all you need for about 3-4 servings is:

1) 3 tbsp. condensed milk
2) a splash of cold milk
3) 2 fresh mangoes- you want to cut the mango laterally so the two “cheeks” are separate from the seed. Keep the seed as you can use it to obtain mango pulp..
4) Mango pulp to mix into the milk.
5) A packet of sago pearls
(Also known as Tapioca pearls.. you’ll find these at any Asian Supermarket, I happen to be in Asia at the moment, so every supermarket IS AN ASIAN SUPERMARKET! HAAA!)

OPTIONAL: pomelo flesh from about 1/4 of a pomelo. Roughly three to four segments. NB. This is a variation… but a worthwhile addition if you can find it!



1) The first thing you have to do is boil up about 3 handfuls of sago for 15 minutes in a stainless steel saucepan (WMF ones are my favourite@!!). The amount of water should be approximately 3 times the amount of sago pearls. This is because sago is REALLY REALLY STARCHY and if you add too little water you will get a glop ball. No one likes a glop ball. So as soon as the water and sago come to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer on low for the remainder of the 15 minutes, stirring gently.
The sago pearls should turn from white to transparent…
TIP: Add some water on top if you see the liquid getting too thick. The pearls need to move about in order to cook properly.20140611-124436.jpg

2) To further prevent a glop ball, pass the boiled sago and water mixture through a sieve under cold running water. Rinse off all the starchy thick water, to reveal the previously invisible sago pearls. Plonk them back into the pan with some more cold water to ensure they don’t stick together whilst preparing the rest of the dessert.

20140611-123316.jpg3) Peel the middle of the mango as shown and cut off the two fleshy “cheeks” on either side of the seed. Keep the mango “cheeks” aside and squeeze the flesh around the mango seed to a pulp over a large bowl. Further squish any large lumps of mango to ensure a smooth texture. If the seed is particularly fleshy, you can dice it as shown in the picture below and blitz it in a small food processor for a smoother pulp. Alternatively scrape it with the back of a knife… but I prefer using my hands. It’s fun. Don’t judge… Next, add three tbsp. of condensed milk to the bowl and stir.

4) Add a splash of milk, stir and add in the strained sago pearls, followed by cubes of mango. NB. Here, I had extra mango flesh which I pureed and added in for extra flavour!


5) Chill in the fridge for two hours and serve when ready! If you don’t have time to chill it, add ice cubes, the stall owners always do!
NB. You can add in pomelo flesh as well, I didn’t have any to hand, so I just used mangoes. No complaints though.. it’s just as refreshing. Oh and by the way this is gluten free too!! Woo!!

So there you have it… Singaporean Mango Sago. Ready in a jiffy… gone even faster!




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