How to make: Sago (tapioca pearls) and mango dessert

How to make: Sago (tapioca pearls) and mango dessert |

Common need not be boring. This very common Chinese dessert made with soft and chewy sago, pureed mangoes and coconut cream is a refreshing break from heavy cakes and pies. In Asia, sago can be bought cooked in many markets. If you can get your hands on cooked sago, then, this is a no-cook dessert. If not, you can buy dried sago and boil them at home.

As a trivia, I am curious as to how sago came to be known as tapioca pearls. They are different things, actually. Tapioca is a starch extracted from cassava while sago is a starch that comes from the sago palm. But since, in common parlance, these two food terms are used interchangeably, for purposes of convenience, I am using the term tapioca pearls to refer to sago.

When using dried sago, make sure that no white center remains to make sure that they are cooked through and there are no hard centers. Most packs of dried sago come with cooking directions. Basically, it only involves boiling in water with a lot of stirring. Sago (tapioca pearls) and mango dessert

For best results, choose the smallest sago that you can find. Oh, yes, they do come in different sizes. And different (artificial) colors too.


  • 2 c. of cooked sago (tapioca pearls), chilled for best results
    3/4 to 1 c. of pureed mangoes, chilled
    1/2 to 3/4 c. of coconut cream (if using fresh, see how to extract coconut cream; canned coconut cream is an okay substitute), chilled
    sugar, to taste
    chopped fresh mangoes, optional
    crushed ice, optional


In a large bowl, stir together the sago and pureed mangoes. Add enough sugar to taste.

There are two ways to serve this sago and mango dessert. First is to stir in the coconut cream with the sago, sugar and pureed mangoes, and then ladle them into individual bowls. The second is to ladle the sweetened sago and pureed mangoes into individual bowls and drizzle the coconut cream afterward. Your choice, really. The first option is more convenient and less messy. The second option is better for presentation purposes. Sago (tapioca pearls) and mango dessert

Of course, I chose the first option because I’m not big on presentation. I just mixed everything together.

Quick Notes

If you want, you can stir in chopped mangoes and crushed ice just before serving. The pieces of mangoes will add a nice texture to the dessert while the crushed ice will ensure that the dessert is served cold. Be careful about how much ice you add though because as the ice melts, it will dilute the sweetness and thickness of the dessert.

That said, you can easily make this wonderful dessert at home. Very refreshing. Very tasty. Very comforting.

Cooking time (duration):5 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6

Meal type: dessert


  1. Melissa Co says

    hi Ms connie, which is better to use, nestle cream and condensed or the coconut cream?, thanks

    • Connie says

      There is a notice right above the comment box to “please read…” before posting a comment. Perhaps, you missed it or skipped it?

  2. says

    I tried your sago-mango dessert last sunday for my daughter’s birthday ( she loves mangoes so much ) easy to make! i just added pandan leaf just for a presentation :) thanks again Ms. Connie ;)

  3. Jessica says

    Hi Connie,

    This was fantastic!! My sisters, brother, mother and I have a tradition to make a “random” dessert when we’re all together for Sunday night dinner. This happened last night and I had picked up these dry tapioca pearls in the Asian aisle at my grocery store. I have to say it again, this was fantastic! I’ll definitely be making it again, as well as experimenting with other ideas! Cheers :)

  4. says

    hi connie!

    it’s me again. we’re having friends over on Friday night and i thought to serve this as dessert. however, good quality ripe mangoes are hard to find outside the Phils. i planned on making banana cake, but this one is much more Filipino. i wonder if this will work well with bananas? thanks in advance for answering my question!


  5. Monaliza says

    Hi Connie, I did this last night. It was a hit. All of my 4 kids asked for second serving and even asked me to do it again today.

    Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.

  6. JOYCE says

    I came across this dessert at a catered party. I planned to serve this at my daughter’s grad party and since I wasn’t sure what was in it, I used all purpose cream and condensed milk. Oh boy, it was a hit.

  7. Rodora says

    Thanks Connie for sharing this recipe. It was sooo good. I have another new dessert to brag about during gatherings. I love some of your easy recipe.

  8. Rose Conil says

    Hi Ms. Connie! Any instruction to make the sago from scratch? I can’t find any cooked sago here in Kuwait ( the cooking time) . Pls. need to be rescued:-)