Mango sago is a refreshing dessert made with fresh sweet mangoes. Just 5 ingredients, no baking, so refreshing! You’ll want to make it all summer long.
(Have extra sago? Start the morning with a delicious mug of taho!)
Wikipedia will tell you that the original mango sago dessert originated from Hong Kong (mango pomelo sago).
When it eventually found its way to Philippine kitchens though, it lost the pomelo and became a much simpler dish.
Some recipes call for coconut milk but we usually just make ours with evaporated milk, sweetened cream or table cream, and a little condensed milk.
You can cook the sago or use pre-cooked ones; what’s more important is you use sweet, ripe mangoes.
Philippine carabao mangoes are the best (in my humble and biased opinion lol) but any sweet variety works. We get ataulfo mangoes here and they’re awesome for this recipe too.
Let’s get started!
Why you’ll love making this mango and sago dessert
Mango sago is one of the easiest and most delicious desserts you can make during mango season. And you’ll love making it as much as I do because:
- It only has 5 ingredients. Less if you have really sweet mangoes!
- It’s ready in 30 minutes. And 20 minutes of that is chilling (if you can wait that long lol).
- The mangoes shine. They really are the star in this dish. So grab all those wonderful mangoes while they’re at their sweetest this summer.
How to make
This delicious summer dessert is made of 5 simple ingredients:
- Ripe mangoes — you’ll want to use the sweetest mangoes you can find. I’d love to use Philippine Carabao mangoes but we most often use Ataulfo mangoes here and they’re pretty great too.
- Sago or tapioca pearls — mango sago or mango tapioca traditionally uses mini sago or tapioca but I also often use regular sago (like in the pictures). You can use whatever is available.
- Evaporated milk — I suggest using full fat for the richest, creamiest texture.
- Sweetened thick cream — ideally, you’ll want to use Nestle Cream, which is a kind of sweetened, thickened cream that Filipinos use when making buko salad and other cold desserts. The closest equivalent I can get here is sweetened cream (see picture, usually found in Asian supermarkets). If that’s not available, table cream will work too.
- Sweetened condensed milk — this is used to add sweetness to the mango mixture; you may not even need it if your mangoes are already sweet enough for your tastes.
You’ll need a blender to make the mango pudding, a pot to cook the sago and a bowl to put them all together. That’s it!
First thing you’ll want to do is to cook your sago. This would depend on the kind of sago you have — some require almost an hour of cooking while others are done in 5 minutes (I provide more sago cooking tips below).
Once your sago is done, put it aside in a bowl of cold water while you work on the rest of your ingredients.
In a blender, combine evaporated milk, cream and mangoes.
Blend until smooth, thick and fully incorporated.
At this point you’ll want to sweeten your mixture with condensed milk. How much condensed milk you put largely depends on how sweet your mango puree is.
Careful not to put too much though; we don’t want the condensed milk to overpower the mango flavor. I usually put 1-2 tablespoons.
Now it’s time to assemble! Add your cooked sago into your mango mixture and stir. Chill and serve cold.
Optional: top with diced mangoes and coconut.
Easy, right? Here are more tips for the best mango sago every time.
Creamy mango pudding
- For the creamiest mango pudding, use full fat evaporated milk and sweetened cream.
- Chilling the mango sago before serving also allows the mixture to thicken and become creamier.
- If the kind of mango you have is on the fibrous side, you may want to sift the mango puree into a fine mesh sieve before adding the sago.
Variations and substitutions
- Instead of evaporated milk, you can use coconut milk.
- Instead of condensed milk, you can sweeten the mixture with sugar.
- If you’d like to use gulaman or gelatin instead of sago for a nice mango sago jelly, ensure you make it firmer than usual then slice into sago-sized cubes.
- Looking to make a mango sago drink or mango bubble tea? Simply add a little more milk or water into the mango mixture to thin it out slightly.
To serve Filipino sago, you can:
- Scoop a generous amount into a glass and top with mango chunks and some shredded coconut.
- You can also choose to mix some mango chunks into the puree.
- Or put the sago in the glass first then top with the mango puree.
- You can even top sago mango with ice cream!
- Whatever you decide to do, this delicious Asian dessert is best served chilled.
Sago vs tapioca 101
Difference between sago and tapioca
Although the terms “sago” and “tapioca” are often used interchangeably, they are two different things.
According to The Spruce Eats: Sago is an edible starch that is made from the pith of an array of tropical palm trees. Tapioca pearls, on the other hand, are made with tapioca or the starch from cassava, a root crop.
They look similar, taste similar, have a similar chewy texture when cooked, and cooked the same way. They’re often substitutes of each other in recipes too, though not always.
In this recipe, you can use either one.
And what about boba pearls, those most often used in bubble teas? They’re also known as tapioca pearls and are made from tapioca starch
What does sago taste like
Sago on its own has no flavour. It takes on the flavour that you add to it.
For example, some people like to soak it in brown sugar syrup to give it a bit of sweetness.
How to cook sago or tapioca
How you cook sago depends on the kind of sago or tapioca pearls you have.
I like the quick-cooking boba pearls (pictured above) that usually have English cooking instructions on the back.
If you can’t find those, you probably have the kind that needs about an hour to fully cook.
If you google how to cook sago, you’ll find 101 ways to do it; this is how I do it:
- Bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil. I don’t bother to measure how many cups of water; I just make sure it’s enough to fully cover the sago or tapioca.
- Add the sago slowly and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally so the sago don’t stick to one another.
- Switch off the stove and cover the pot.
- Wait another 10 minutes before draining the water and catching the sago in a mesh sieve.
- Rinse the sago in cold running water for 15-20 seconds.
- Place the sago back in the pot, add water and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Repeat 3 to 6 until your sago is fully translucent and chewy but still al dente.
If you have the quick cooking sago, all you’ll need is to follow the package instructions. It’s usually done in 15 minutes or less.
You also have the option to buy pre-cooked sago usually sold in bottles (like the one I use for making buko pandan).
Most brands package the sago in sweet, flavored syrup so you’ll need to rinse the sago to get that flavor out.
Yes you can, especially when mangoes are not in season. Just taste and add more condensed milk to sweeten the mixture.
You can make mango sago the day before you plan on serving it, although it’s best served the day it’s made.
Mango pudding with sago should last up to 3 days kept in a covered container in the fridge.
You can still enjoy it a few days after that but the issue is the sago or tapioca hardens the longer it keeps and it gets to a point when they’re too tough to eat.
Mango sago doesn’t freeze well because freezing changes the texture of the sago. It’s best kept in the fridge.
Other mango Filipino desserts
Love mangoes as much as I do? Check these out:
And be sure to check this out for a list of delicious, must-try Filipino dessert recipes.
- First thing you’ll want to do is to cook your sago. This would depend on the kind of sago you have — some require almost an hour of cooking while others are done in 5 minutes. I provide more sago cooking tips in the post. Once your sago is done, put it aside in a bowl of cold water while you work on the rest of your ingredients.
- In a blender, combine evaporated milk, cream and flesh from the mangoes. Blend until thick, creamy and fully incorporated.
- At this point you’ll want to sweeten your mixture with condensed milk. How much condensed milk you put largely depends on how sweet your mango puree is. Careful not to put too much though; we don’t want the condensed milk to overpower the mango flavor. I usually put 1-2 tablespoons.
- Now it’s time to assemble! Add your cooked sago into your mango mixture and stir. Chill and serve cold. Optional: top with mango chunks and coconut.
- The number of servings depends on how small or big your serving bowls or glasses are. The estimated nutrition calculation is based on 12 servings.
- The cook time here is based on me using quick-cooking sago. Your cook time may vary depending on the kind of sago you have. See post for tips on how to cook sago, FAQs and more.
Nutritional information are estimates only.