Sunday, 10 June 2012

Chocolate sago pudding with coconut custard

Sago: it's definitely worth revisiting, as it has come back into vogue with a contemporary twist. You wont regret it, I promise, even if you some of you have some nasty memories from school diners in the 1950's! 

Chocolate sago is pure indulgence. This version of sago pudding is perfect for the winter palate, it's  wonderfully rich and chocolatey, and has that great comfort food quality that we desire in the cooler months. It will make any chocolate lover gush with
praise and delight. It's quite light and easy to digest. It's always a hit on the retreats I cater for because it satisfies those chocolate cravings without being too rich or heavy like a chocolate mousse but with all the delightful texture and sweetness.

When I found out sago had very little nutritional value, I must say I was surprised because it always felt so good going down and felt easy on my body to digest. There is something about sago's texture that I find soothing and nurturing. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is believed that sago porridge can be an effective and simple food to "cool and balance one's body heat" (when taking strong medicine or antibiotics). So it makes it a great dessert for summer time also, cooling down a sun-kissed body after a day in the sun. In the Summer I use seasonal fruits, coconut milk, and rosewater and lime, as opposed to the chocolate winter version.

I also like the idea of the environmental aspect. Sago palms are typically found in areas unsuited for other forms of agriculture, so sago cultivation is often the most ecologically appropriate form of land-use and the palm has many other uses. 


Makes approximately 10-12 tumbler glasses

Chocolate Sago
1 cup sago 
500gm coconut sugar  (palm sugar*)
1 cup coconut cream or milk
1 tbs good vanilla bean paste (or scrap two pods - even better)
3/4 -1 cup cocoa powder
filtered water

*Try to find sustainable palm sugar, which is basically what organic coconut sugar is

3 cups coconut cream or milk
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 tsp agar agar 
2 tbs arrowroot powder
½  tsp good salt

Soak the sago in a saucepan with 400ml of filtered water for approximately 10-15 mintues. Then add 1 cup of filtered water and turn up the heat and bring to just under boiling point. Reduce heat to simmer and stir constantly to prevent the sago from burning and sticking to the saucepan (trust me you never want to burn the pot and you will never burn it a second time because it's too hard to clean!). 

Add 1/4 cup of water and stir for another 5 minutes or until sago has absorbed the water. Then repeat the process. At this stage the sago balls will be approximately half cooked. 

You can see in this photo below that 50% of the sago is cooked and translucent and the other 50% is still white.

Then add another 1/4 cup and stir the water in, allowing it to fully be absorbed. Repeat until you have 90% of sago balls translucent.

Then add coconut milk and stir in and cook for another 5 minutes. 

Add 1 cup of boiling water to 1 cup of cocoa powder in a glass jug and whisk until paste is smooth and all the lumps are out. Add your vanilla to this and wisk in. Scrap chocolately paste into sago and mix through thoroughly.

Add the coconut sugar to the sago pot and stir until sugar dissolves. Taste to make sure it's chocolately and sweet enough for you. 

Tip: As sago sits and cools it becomes less sweet - so you want it pretty sweet when it is still hot.

Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly so you can pour into tumbler glasses. 
Fill ¾ of the way up the tumbler, leaving room for the coconut custard.

Place in the fridge to cool while making the custard.

To make coconut custard
Bring coconut milk or cream and agave syrup gently to the boil. Then mix the agar and arrowroot powders together in a mug and add some water. Stir to form a paste, removing all the lumps. The arrowroot may stiffen when you first begin to mix it with water but keep stirring it will soon yield and soften. Using a whisk, slowly stir in the white paste and allow the custard to thicken. It's good to continue to whisk the custard for a couple of minutes, allowing the agar agar (3-5 minutes) to dissolve in the heat so it can do it's job of  'setting' the custard.

Place aside and allow to cool slightly. Re-whisk or beat the custard until smooth. Then spoon onto chocolate sago and return to the fridge. Leave for an hour or two or until the sago is cold and has set. Remove from the fridge and dust with some cocoa powder to garnish.


  1. Hi Anthea
    Just in the process of making this and you have for the custard to mix the agave and coconut together but I cant see the quantity of agave needed in the ingriedient list, can you pls let me know?


    1. Thanks for that. I have updated the post and it now has the 1/2 cup of agave syrup on there. I hope the recipe goes well and tastes delicious! Happy cooking, Anthea xo