Sago pudding with passionfruit caramel

Prep 20 mins

Cook 20 mins

Serves 4

Difficulty 2

“Sago is made with starch from the pith of sago palms,” says Hetty McKinnon. “The white balls are neutral in flavour and have a distinctive slippery mouthfeel. While sago is an unusual ingredient, sago puddings and jellies are actually very easy to prepare. They’re often paired with coconut milk and topped with tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple or melon. In this recipe, I’ve given a popular Asian dessert some flair with a dazzling passionfruit caramel. The caramel is a revelation – it’s more tangy than sweet, and it’s also perfect ladled over vanilla ice cream, or even on top of pavlova.”

195g (1 cup) small sago pearls

400ml can unsweetened coconut cream

3 tbsp caster sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract


80g (1⁄3 cup) caster sugar

170g passionfruit pulp (fresh or canned)

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium, add the sago and cook stirring often, until the sago is transparent (10-12 minutes). Drain and set aside.

2. Set aside 1 tbsp coconut cream for the passionfruit caramel and 2 tbsp for serving.

3. For the passionfruit caramel, place a saucepan over high heat. Add the sugar and 2 tbsp of water and stir until the sugar has dissolved (2–3 minutes). As soon as the liquid turns a light amber colour, reduce the heat to low and add the passionfruit pulp and reserved 1 tablespoon of coconut cream. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or so, until bubbly and thick.

4. Pour the remaining coconut cream into a saucepan, add the sugar, vanilla extract and 125ml (½ cup) of water. Stir over medium–low heat for 2 minutes until well combined, then remove from the heat. Pour the coconut cream mixture over the sago and stir well.

5. Ladle the sago pudding into bowls and top with spoonfuls of the passionfruit caramel. Finish with a drizzle of the reserved coconut cream. This sago pudding can be served warm, cold or at room temperature. The longer it sits the more it will solidify, like jelly.



Extracted with permission from the book To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Hetty McKinnon.

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