Spiced Pearl Sago

Sago is made from tapioca starch and is sold as tiny “pearls.” The chewy texture and starchy taste of sago is so beautifully complemented by the nutty flavour of coarsely ground peanuts, and balanced by the tanginess of freshly squeezed lemon juice, making this dish a definite winner.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sago/sabudana/tapioca pearls
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, boiled
  • 1-2 chopped green chillies
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • Lemon juice, about ½ a lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander for garnishing

  1. Soak the sago overnight or for 5-8 hours in water. Do not add excess water while soaking. Add only enough water to just  about cover the sago.
  2. Cut the boiled potatoes into bite sized chunks.
  3. Coarsely grind the roasted peanuts.
  4. Heat a pan and add the olive oil. When the oil warms up, add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter for a minute or two.
  5. Add the ginger, green chillies and chopped potato chunks. Sauté on medium heat.
  6. Mix the coarsely ground peanuts to the potatoes and continue sautéing till the potatoes brown slightly. Add about a teaspoon of salt and the turmeric.
  7. While the potatoes brown, gently drain any remaining water from the sago. You might find a white sediment in the bowl in which you soaked the sago. Carefully, place the sago in another dish and rinse out the white sediment.  The white sediment is the starch that comes out of the sago.
  8. Now add the sago to the pan, mix everything well and cook until the sago pearls are a bit translucent and well coated. Do not add any extra water. 
  9. If you like spice, add chilli powder and check for salt. Add more if required.
  10. Cook and cover for 4-5 minutes on low heat. Once your sago pearls are uniformly translucent, your dish is ready.
  11. Squeeze in some lemon juice and garnish with lots of freshly chopped coriander.
  12. Dig in!

Jovi’s Notes
In India, this dish is often eaten when people are fasting. People replace the regular table salt with sendha namak or Himalayan rock salt.
You can find Sago easily on Amazon UK or your local Indian store.