Sago porridge is a rich and creamy porridge made from sago pearls boiled with warm spices and sweetened with coconut milk and condensed coconut milk. It’s a sweet, spiced, warm, and comforting breakfast meal to jump-start your morning.
Guyanese Sago Porridge
Sago Porridge is one of my all-time favorite porridges. (Cornmeal porridge comes in a close second.) I always thought sago would be hard to find in the US, until a friend shared that Indians call this sabudana and it is readily available in Indian markets or grocery stores like Patel Brothers. Once I got my hand on a bag of sago, I couldn’t wait to whip up some porridge.
Why You’ll Love This Sago Porridge Recipe
- Quick & Easy: Skip boring oatmeal or cereal and opt for this delicious Guyanese porridge instead. It takes just 20 minutes to make with just a handful of ingredients.
- Versatile: Eat it by the spoonful in a bowl or slurp it down in a cup. Enjoy it sweet or unsweetened, with or without toppings, there are so many ways to enjoy sago porridge. Have fun figuring out what you like best!
- Healthy: Although this recipe contains sweetener options, sago porridge is a wholesome meal that’s good for you. Sago pearls are great for people struggling with digestion issues, as they aid with digestion and provide a boost of energy.
What is sago?
Sago is an edible starch made from the pith of the sago palm (a tropical palm tree). It it processed into flour, meal, or pearl sago. The pearls look a lot like tapioca pearls but unlike tapioca, it is not made from cassava starch.
- Guyanese Sago Porridge
- Why You’ll Love This Sago Porridge Recipe
- What is sago?
- Ingredients for Sago Porridge
- Spices for Sago Porridge
- How to Make Sago Porridge
- Tips for the Best Sago Porridge
- Recipe Variations
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Sago Porridge
Sago is ideal for sweet porridge but it also works for drinks, pudding, and savory recipes.
Ingredients for Sago Porridge
A descriptive sentence or two.
- Sago Pearls: They have a neutral taste so they’ll suit whatever ingredients you add.
- Water: The liquid base of the porridge.
- Spices: I use a medley of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cardamom pods, and freshly grated nutmeg.
- Flavoring: Vanilla essence or extract imparts flavor. Add almond essence or extract as an optional ingredient. (If you like a nutty taste, definitely add it!)
To Sweeten (Optional)
- Coconut milk or other milk of your choice
- Sweetened condensed coconut milk
- Sugar to taste
See recipe card for quantities.
Spices for Sago Porridge
I typically add the same combination of spices to my porridges: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and sometimes cardamom. I don’t deviate much from this because I want my porridge to have a familiar taste that I link to porridges from my childhood. Using whole or ground spices is simply a matter of preference.
To make it easier to remove whole spices from the finished porridge, you may simply place the spices in a muslin cloth and tie into a knot, then fish the spice bundle out once you’re done making the porridge. I don’t mind encountering a clove or two while drinking my porridge, and the longer the spices sit in the porridge the more flavorful it becomes.
How to Make Sago Porridge
Rinse and soak sago
I always give my sago a quick rinse and then let it soak, in just enough water to cover it while my water and spices are boiling. This helps the sago to cook to the right translucency and get that signature gelatinous texture that sago is known for.
So while the sago soaks, add water and spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom) to a medium sized saucepan on high heat and bring up to a roaring boil. Boil for about 5 minutes (or longer if you want a stronger spiced flavor).
Next, stir in the soaked sago pearls, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring non-stop, until the pearls are completely translucent. This may take about 5-8 minutes.
Then add the grated nutmeg, vanilla essence, and almond essence if using, and mix well.
Finally, add the coconut milk and sweetened condensed coconut milk and sweeten to your taste.
Sweetening your Sago Porridge
As a child, my parents sweetened our porridges with powdered full cream milk or evaporated milk and brown sugar, or condensed milk. In my quest to choose more dairy-free options and because dairy gives my children tummy troubles, I sweetened my porridge with coconut milk and sweetened condensed coconut milk.
This porridge is best enjoyed immediately but you can store it in an an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, stir over low heat on the stovetop. You may need to add a splash of water or milk to loosen the consistency.
Tips for the Best Sago Porridge
- Rinse the sago pearls thoroughly under cold water to remove excess starch. This helps prevent the pearls from becoming too sticky or clumping together during cooking.
- Keep stirring the sago porridge while it cooks. This ensures that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
- Reduce the heat once you add the sago pearls. Vigorous boiling can cause the sago to break apart or become overly sticky.
- The porridge is done when the sago pearls are transparent. This ensures they are fully cooked. Undercooked sago is tough so definitely be patient with this step.
- The porridge thickens as it cools.
- Spices: Add ginger for some extra zing.
- Fruits: Add fresh or dried fruits to the porridge for natural sweetness and more texture. Try diced apples, blueberries, pitted cherries, dried cranberries, or raisins.
- Nuts: Add slivered almonds, toasted coconut, or chopped pecans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sago has a neutral taste so it will take on the flavor of whatever ingredients it is combined with. When cooked, they are soft, chewy, and gelatinous.
Make sago porridge with sago pearls, water, and your spices and sweeteners of choice. Add coconut milk for creaminess.
Sago is derived from the pith of various types of palm trees, while tapioca comes from the cassava root. Although they have a similar appearance, there are subtle differences in taste and texture when cooked.
Sago is a good source of carbs, which provide energy. It’s also good for stomach aches and indigestion because it contains resistant starch, a variety that easily passes though the digestivebtract and provides the gut with healthy bacteria. Adding ingredients such as coconut milk and sweeteners can contribute to the overall calorie content, so be mindful.
- Medium sized sauce pan
- 1 cup Sago Pearls
- 4 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract or extract
- 1 teaspoon almond essence or extract; optional
- 1/2 cup coconut milk or other milk of your choice
- 1/2 can of sweetened condensed coconut milk about 1/4 cup, or
- sugar to taste
- Rinse the sago pearls in cool water, then soak in just enough water to cover the pearls and set aside
- Then add water and spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom) to a medium sized sauce pan on high heat and bring up to a roaring boil. Boil for about 5 minutes (or longer if you want a stronger spiced flavor)
- Next, stir in the soaked sago pearls, reduce the heat to medium and continue to boil, stirring non-stop, until the pearls are completely translucent. This may table about 5-8 minutes
- Then add the grated nutmeg, vanilla essence and almond essence if using and mix together well
- Finally add the coconut milk and sweetened condensed coconut milk and sweeten to your taste
- Serve Hot
The information listed in the recipe card is an estimate provided by an online nutrition tool. The tool evaluates ingredient names and amounts then makes calculations based on the number of servings listed for the recipe. It is provided as a general guideline and not as a precise calculation. For precise nutrition information please feel free to add the ingredients to your preferred nutrition calculator or consult a doctor or licensed nutritionist.