Friday, April 18, 2014

Making Bubur Sagu Mutiara (Sago Pearls Dessert)

Few weeks ago I stumbled upon green sagu mutiara (sago pearls) at a local supermarket. I noticed that a medium pack of sago pearls didn't cost much so I bought one.

Since I happened to keep some jack fruit in my fridge this week, I thought of turning my sago pearls into some nice Indonesian dessert, which my Mom often made back then, and serve it with the jack fruit.

Two days ago, I decided to cook my sago pearls by putting 1/4 of the pack onto a half pan of water and planned to boil them together. When Naomi's Nanny saw me doing this, she asked me what I was doing and prompted that my sago pearls' cooking method was all wrong. She advised me to soak the sago pearls in a bowl of cold water for few minutes then cook them in boiling water whilst stirring them constantly. In the end, she offered to cook the sago pearls for me. I was like "Okay... Go ahead." and I went upstairs. Minutes later, the Nanny told me the sago pearls was ready and she was going to go home.

After the Nanny left, I checked on the sago pearls that she cooked. I thought something went terribly wrong here. The sago pearls in the pan smelled weird (burnt?), very watery and shapeless. I could not see them in the form of pearls at all. They looked slightly more like melted agar-agar. In the end, I had to waste them since I thought this would not be edible either and began making sago pearls again from zero. This time I did a bit of internet reading before started experimenting with the sago pearls.

One source in the internet mentions that to avoid mashed sago pearls, we don't have to soak the pearls in the water and start cooking them right away. I tried this method and it worked. Perhaps, some kind or specific brand of sago pearls just doesn't require any soaking?

So here you go, the recipe that I used to make the sago pearls dessert. It is based from this source. By right, this dessert should be easy to prepare; it's just that we need to be a bit wary when cooking it so it doesn't stick to the pan (especially if this is your first time cooking it). Constant stirring is required when cooking sago pearls but not over-stirring as this will ruin the final result of the cooked sago pearls.

My first home-made Bubur Sagu Mutiara.

Bubur Sagu Mutiara (Sago Pearls Dessert)


  • 250gr Sagu mutiara (sago pearls)
  • 500ml Water
  • 150gr Sugar, as needed
  • 3 Pandan leaves
  • 200-250ml Coconut milk
  • A dash of salt
  • Jackfruit, to garnish (optional)

  1. To cook the sago pearls: Bring water to boil. Add in sugar and 2 pandan leaves into the water. Make sure the sugar dissolve in the water.
  2. Once the water is boiling, pour the sago pearls into it. Lower the heat to medium.
  3. Keep stirring (but not over-stir) the sago pearls so it won't stick to the bottom and side of the pan.
  4. Cook the sago pearls until it thickens and produces jelly-like and translucent consistency. You may want to taste it to check if it's sweet enough. If it isn't, add some sugar. Also, if the water is not enough to cook through the sago pearls, it's okay to add some water into the pan while cooking.
  5. Once done, set the cooked sago pearls aside and began cooking the coconut sauce.
  6. To make the coconut sauce: Bring to boil coconut milk, salt and pandan leave. Stir the coconut milk once a while when cooking it. Once done, set aside.
  7. To serve: Put some sago pearls in a small bowl. Top it with some jack fruit cubes and few spoons of coconut sauce. Best served warm.

Simple Indonesian style sago pearls dessert.

In the future, I think I'd need to buy sago pearls that are sold by trusted manufacturer (or branded). The one that I bought was actually supermarket label sago pearls and I am not so satisfied with its quality. In addition, it is best to use honey jackfruit (nangka madu) for this dessert because this variant of jack-fruit has really strong aroma and very sweet.

Anyway, for a first timer, I think I eventually got the hang of cooking the sago pearls correctly.

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