When I was a little girl [in the Philippines], one of my favorite drink is Sago at Gulaman. It’s basically Agar-agar and Sago Pearls in brown sugar water called Arnibal. We used “Azukal na Ba-o” from what I remember. I’m not sure what it is yet… I think it’s palm sugar. It’s basically a brown disc sugar that one dissolves in water.
When I went to the market yesterday, I was looking for this “bao” but couldn’t find any so I figured the run-of-the-mill cane sugar will have to do. I bought some Pandan leaves to make it look more interesting and green.
I searched for Sago but only found Tapioca Pearls which I proceeded to purchase. When I looked it up, I found out that the two are interchangeable. Sago is made of palm and tapioca pearls — well, of tapioca. The two are treated the same way.
Back to the cookbooks I go. I found a recipe by Reynaldo Alejandro called “Sago Pearls and Coconut Gelatin”. Perfect!
The first step was to get my tapioca pearls ready. The instruction in the book didn’t work out for me.
In the picture above, the tapioca pearls are not cooked. I was hoping it’ll cook some more since I had to cook it ten minutes more with the sugar (after 30 minutes of boiling) but it didn’t. When it was warm, it was nice and chewy but after I chilled it, as this dessert needed to be, it was inedible.
I decided to soak it in water before I went to bed last night and as soon as I woke up, I boiled the sago for 1 minute, reduced the heat to medium, covered and then allowed to cook for 20 minutes more.
I think 10 minutes would have been sufficient. Basically, just cook the sago (tapioca) until the center becomes transclucent.
8 cups of water
1/2 cup of Tapioca Pearls (16:1 water:pearls)
5 Pandanus Leaves
1-1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Nata de Coco
Preparing the Tapioca Pearls
The key is to soak your sago in water. I let it sit in water for a few hours before I started. After soaking, here are the instructions:
- Boil Water
- Pour Tapioca Pearls and boil for about 1 minute
- Reduce heat to medium and cover for another 15 minutes occasionally stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Add 5 tbsp of sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Let sit for 10 minutes until the center is no longer opaque
Recipe for Sago and Nata de Coco
Adapted from Reynaldo Alejandro’s Recipe
- Boil 1-1/2 cups of water. Add pandanus leaves. Boil for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.
- Remove Pandanus leaves. Add sago and nata de coco.
- Cook and stir for about 5-8 minutes until syrup is thick.
- Let sit to room temperature and then store in refrigerator.
- Serve Chilled
I also tried making Boba Milk Tea and this is the version I like most
Recipe for Boba Milk Tea
1 packet tea
Nata de coco
There are no measurements since I just kept adjusting until I got what I wanted. It was delicious!!! I actually didn’t use sugar because the tea I drink (Medifast Calorie Insfuser Green Tea Lemon) is pretty sweet.