Chinese Recipes and Content, Desserts

Sweet Potato Sago Pudding (番薯西米露)

3 of my last 4 recipe posts have all been Chinese recipes and we’re going to continue that trend with today’s new recipe post, which is for Sweet Potato and Sago Pudding (番薯西米露). This dessert soup is ideal for any season because it can be served fresh off the heat piping hot, gently warmed or even cold straight from the fridge! It’s super refreshing straight from the fridge and it’s super comforting when piping hot after dinner or as a snack.

It’s more commonly made with taro, a root vegetable that is quite starchy almost like a potato but with a more nutty and rich flavour. Taro is popular is Chinese cuisine with many desserts being flavoured with taro such as milk tea (usually coloured purple), ice cream and of course in sago soup.

Taro can be hard to source here in the UK so sweet potato is an easy ingredient to find that substitutes well for taro. I love the slight orange tint the sweet potato gives to the soup too. Pumpkin would also work for this and substitutes readily for sweet potato.

With only 4 ingredients (5 if you include water as an ingredient), this recipe could not be any simpler and making it yourself will save you a lot of money eating it out! This is one of the recipes that I am so thankful to have learnt how to make from my grandma and mum and now I can pass it onto my readers and share it with others who want to make it.

You’ll notice the ingredient quantities aren’t fixed. Whenever we make this at home, we never measure any of the ingredients really, the amount of sweet potato and sago changes every time. The important thing is that there is enough water to boil the sweet potato and enough sugar to provide sweetness to taste so feel free to play around with the quantities!

Make sure also to check out my other Chinese recipes:

Pistachio Castella Cake (開心果古早味蛋糕)

Malaysian Steamed Sponge Cake (馬拉糕)

Baked Glutinous Rice Cake (焗年糕)

Sweet Beancurd Soup (腐竹糖水)


About 100g tapioca pearls

About 300g sweet potato

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

About 30g granulated sugar


Soak the tapioca pearls in a bowl with enough water to cover them by an inch. Stir and set aside to allow the pearls to bloom slightly. Prepare the sweet potato by peeling it and cutting into 1.5cm cubes.

In a large saucepan, bring around 750ml of water to the boil. Once boiling, add in the sweet potato cubes. When the sweet potato is almost cooked through (test by inserting a knife into a cube and it should give way fairly readily), reduce the heat to medium and add in the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Drain the tapioca pearls from the water and add to the saucepan, stirring to prevent the tapioca from clumping together.

Leave the soup to cook on medium heat for around 10 – 15 minutes until the tapioca pearls are almost fully transparent with a tiny white bit in the centre, making sure to stir fairly regularly to prevent the tapioca pearls from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the sugar, stir to dissolve and taste, adjusting the sweetness as required. Don’t worry if it seems like a lot of liquid as the sago will continue to absorb the liquid and the soup will thicken once it has cooled down.

Serve the dessert soup immediately in bowls or leave the soup to cool down, refrigerate and eat cold straight from the fridge or reheat in the microwave.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my latest recipe for Pistachio Castella Cake (開心果古早味蛋糕)!

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