Mango Sago (杨枝甘露)

Learn to make restaurant-style mango sago with three beautiful layers that are creamy, fruity, and loaded with goodies. {Gluten-Free, Vegan-Adaptable}

Four cups of mango sago served with grapefruits as a garnish

Mango sago is a popular dessert in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The first time I had this dessert was when the famous Hongkongese dessert shop Honeymoon Dessert (满记甜品) opened in Beijing. I was hooked! The sweet creamy fruity base was loaded with gooey tapioca pearls and mango chunks. It was a magical moment when I felt extremely happy after eating a spoonful of the mango sago. It immediately became my favorite summer dessert.

It never even crossed my mind to make this dish at home until I moved to the US. Now it’s a 20-minute drive to the closest Asian dessert store where I can get my sweet tooth satisfied. After a while I decided it was time to learn how to make the dish myself.

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Close up of a cup of mango sago

Cooking notes

1. Ingredients

Making the restaurant-style version of this dish is surprisingly easy. All you need is:

Ripe mangoes, evaporated milk, coconut milk, and small tapioca pearls.

A lot of dessert shops also use pomelo pulp in this dessert. If you cannot find pomelo, you can use grapefruit instead. You can also skip the citrus altogether.

2. How to prepare sago

The best way is to follow the instructions on the package you have, since cooking methods and times vary. Some brands recommend boiling all the way through, while others ask you to soak the tapioca pearls after boiling.

If your package does not come with instructions, simply boil them until most of the pearls turn transparent. It is OK that some of them have a small white dot in the middle. They will continue cooking a bit more when you drain them, and eventually turn completely transparent.

Chopped mango on a cutting board with uncooked sago on the side

Dried small tapioca pearls (sago) on the left and cooked ones on the right

3. What type of milk to use

After trying a few recipes, I found that the combination of evaporated milk and coconut milk works best.

This recipe blends evaporated with the mango, to create a very creamy and fruity layer that is neither too runny nor too heavy. Some recipes call for condensed milk in this step, which makes the mixture too sweet. Heavy cream makes the mixture quite dense. On the other hand, milk will make the paste runny.

If you want to make the dish vegan, you can use a blend of coconut milk and plant-based milk (see the headnote in the recipe below) to create a similar texture.

The recipe finishes the dish with a top layer of coconut milk, which makes for a beautiful presentation.

4. Adjust the sweetness

I rarely need to add any sugar to my mango sago if the mangoes are very ripe. The finished product is not too sweet, which allows you to taste the original flavor of all the ingredients.

However, if you prefer a sweeter dessert, you can either add sugar into your mango paste or serve the dessert with some syrup on the side, so your guests can sweeten it as they like. Both agave syrup and coconut syrup work well.

Restaurant-style mango sago showing three layers

That’s it!

The last time I made a big batch of this, my husband ate three cups in one sitting because it was too irresistible! Well, since the dessert is made with all-natural ingredients and is quite low in calories, we felt no guilt even after eating too much! Now we call this homemade version of mango sago “happiness in a cup” 🙂

Close up of the mango sago after mixing together

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Mango Sago (杨枝甘露)

Learn to make restaurant-style mango sago with three beautiful layers that are creamy, fruity, and loaded with goodies. Use 1/2 cup coconut milk plus 1/4 cup plant-based milk to replace the evaporated milk if you want to make this dish vegan. This recipe is slightly adapted from this Chinese recipe.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 340kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (45 g) small tapioca pearls (sago)
  • 2 big mangoes , peeled and diced (about 2.2 lbs/ 1kg in total)
  • 3/4 cup (176 grams) evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar or to taste (Optional)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 grapefruit , sliced (Optional)

Instructions

  • Bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add the tapioca pearls. Boil until pearls turn transparent with a small white spot in the middle of each, 12 minutes or so. Stir occasionally. (The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your tapioca pearls. You should always follow the instructions on your package if there are any.)
  • Immediately strain the cooked tapioca pearls with a fine sieve and rinse them with tap water to stop the cooking. Submerge the sieve with the cooked tapioca into a bowl of tap water to prevent the pearls from drying out. Set aside.
  • Add half of the mango chunks (I use the ones with imperfect shapes), about 2 cups, into a blender. Add the evaporated milk. Mix at the highest speed until it forms a smooth paste. Taste the paste. Add the sugar (if using) and blend to mix again if it’s not sweet enough.
  • To assemble, divide and add the tapioca pearls into serving bowls. Top with the mango paste, then add the coconut milk. Top with the mango chunks. Garnish with grapefruit, if using. You can also chill the desserts in the fridge for an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.8g | Protein: 5.9g | Fat: 18.5g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 578mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 29.3g | Calcium: 12% | Iron: 7%
Learn to make restaurant-style mango sago with three beautiful layers that are creamy, fruity, and loaded with goodies. It’s so easy to make and low in calories. #dessert #fruits #mango #asian #recipes #glutenfree #vegetarian

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4 thoughts on “Mango Sago (杨枝甘露)

  1. Mana

    This sounds incredible! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, and your history of recipes is always so fun. I feel like I’m adding to this forever long list of places to try one day if I get to make my dream visit to Asia.

    I’m really looking forward to trying this one out.

    Reply
  2. Naty

    Hello Maggie!
    Thank you so much for sharing amazing, mouth.watering dishes.
    I’ll prepare it ASAP. I have everything I need at home right now.
    Thanks!!!

    Reply
  3. Erica

    I’ve tried this recipe. I used medium sago seeds, that’s how the bag is labelled, with no cooking instructions!
    There was a choice of medium and small in the shop but I couldn’t remember which was wanted.
    Would the small ones cook up to provide more to use in the serving bowl? The medium ones have made a minimal layer. Not like your picture.

    Reply