how to make sago soup dessert

Sago soup is a traditional dish in the Philippines. It consists of sago, coconut milk, and sugar. The dish is usually served with mangoes or bananas for dessert.

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How to make sago soup dessert

This Sago Soup with Taro is the ultimate dessert fix. Decadently creamy and rich with taro chunks, it’s the perfect recipe for a cozy night in. It’s prepared using just six ingredients and the result is heavenly. The creamy sweet soup loaded with pops of light tapioca pearls always leaves me wanting more!

The easiest indulgent dessert

I can’t say there are many sweet recipes that have so few ingredients, take so little effort to make AND taste incredibly homey.

Reading: how to make sago soup dessert

Sago Soup with Taro is a dessert that hits all the right notes – it’s creamy, wholesome and can be adjusted to just the way you like!

You’ll find that this recipe offers two options: (1) a lighter Chinese version and (2) a richer Vietnamese version. While each stems from a different cuisine, both have one thing in common – they’re loaded with fluffy fall apart taro pieces.

In top of that, the sago soup is infused with a gloriously nutty fragrance that takes this recipe from delicious to so good you just have to go for another bowl!

Everything you need to know about taro

What it is

Taro is a root vegetable that grows all year round and can be found in locations such as South Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

It is known as 芋頭 (pronounced wu tau in Cantonese) and khoai môn in Vietnamese. Unlike the purple yam in Canh Khoai Mỡ, taro has a pastier texture and is not at all slimey on the inside.

You’ll often find it sold whole in its tube-like form or cut into smaller pieces and wrapped in plastic wrap to keep it from browning.


When cooked, taro has a rich nutty flavor that comes off as rather creamy. Because of its mild taste and starchy texture, the root vegetable is commonly used in Chinese and Vietnamese desserts or in savory dishes to complement other flavors.

If it’s not cooked for too long, it retains its shape and stays firm to bite with a slight powdery mouth feel (which is what you would get in this sago soup). But if it’s infused with a liquid, the flesh acts like a sponge and soaks the juices in!

Health benefits

As with many root vegetables, you’ll find a generous amount of fibre in taro. It also comes with a number of antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins to support your body’s health.

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The nutrients found in taro are believed to slow down the aging process and explains why they are a popular ingredient for Asian desserts.

For a delicious and nutritious way to get your sweet tooth satisfied, taro in a sago soup is a must try!

Why this recipe works

  • Mixing blended taro in the sweet soup results in a richer and creamier base.
  • Adding a pinch of salt helps to balance the sweetness of the dessert so it’s not overpoweringly sweet.
  • Keeping the tapioca pearls in an ice bath keeps them springy.

What you’ll need

About the ingredients

You can buy all the ingredients from Asian supermarkets. If fresh taro is unavailable, use frozen ones found in the freezer section.

For the sago soup base, coconut cream or coconut milk can be used. If you prefer a Chinese take on this dessert, use coconut milk or evaporated milk. A Vietnamese version will use coconut cream instead.

How to make this recipe

Bring 1 1/2 L (6 US cups) water to boil in a pot and pour the tapioca pearls in. Stir continuously for 10 minutes to avoid clumping and sticking to the pot’s base.

Turn off the heat and put the lid of the pot on, then let it cook in the residual heat for 20 minutes.

Note: By the end of this stage, the pearls will become completely transparent and sink to the bottom. If they are still white on the inside, let it sit in the pot for longer.

Pour the pearls out through a sieve while running under cold water to loosen them.

Prepare an ice bath with enough water to completely submerge the pearls. Pour the sago into the ice bath.

Note: This step will keep the sago tight and springy as it stops the cooking process.

Peel and cut the taro into small chunks, roughly 1 cm (0.4″) thick.

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Steam the root vegetable for 15 minutes or until firm and slightly undercooked.

Note: Keep in mind that the ingredients will be cooked again in the pot so there is no need to completely cook it. But if you prefer a softer and mushier Sago Soup with Taro, steam it for an extra 3 minutes or until every piece is completely cooked.

Use a blender to blitz the steamed pieces with coconut cream until it forms a smooth paste. For every 1/2 US cup, blitz it with 1/2 tbsp coconut cream and 3 tbsp water.

Leave half of the pieces unblended to enjoy as chunks.

Bring 1L water to a boil and melt the rock sugar until completely dissolved, then pour the liquid into a bowl.

In the same pot, bring the coconut cream to a simmer.

Add the paste in and stir until combined.

Pour in the taro chunks, sugar water and salt, stirring to combine all the ingredients.

When mixed, drain the tapioca pearls and add them into the dessert pot.

Stir until well combined and serve immediately as is or refrigerate to enjoy cold!


Tips for the best results

  • Avoid overstirring. Since the ingredients are already cooked before being mixed together, stirring too much will break and mush the sago soup together.
  • Use fresh taro. Frozen versions are readily available in Asian supermarkets, but nothing compares to the robust flavors of fresh vegetables.
  • Make it your own. While this recipe only uses a handful of ingredients, you can certainly add more of your favorite toppings. Nuts, glutinous rice balls, corn, sweet potato, bananas and pumpkins are great ways to add more flavor and texture.

More ways to get your dessert fix!

  • Taro and Sweet Potato Balls Dessert (九份芋圓) – This a popular Taiwanese dessert that brings all the locals to one place!
  • Black Sesame Soup (芝麻糊) – Nutty, hearty and truly comforting is everything this sweet soup has to offer.
  • Snow Fungus Dessert Soup (雪耳糖水) – A light and nourishing treat is what you’ll get with this Cantonese recipe.
  • Vietnamese Glutinous Rice Balls with Ginger Syrup (Chè Trôi Nước) – Indulge in sticky, chewy and fragrant rice balls in a fragrantly warm sweet soup.
  • Che Dau Trang (Sticky Rice Pudding with Black Eyed Peas) – Find out the secret to making this Vietnamese rice pudding the ultimate comfort food!

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