Saku is made from the starch of the sago palm, and when cooked its small round pearls are very similar to tapioca pudding.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 150 g (5½ oz) small sago pearls
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) coconut water
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) Perfumed water (see Note)
  • 3 pandan leaves
  • 200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 90 g (3 oz) sweet corn kernels
  • 100 g (3½ oz) fresh young coconut meat, shredded
  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) coconut cream
  • 1 tsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Place the sago pearls in a sieve and rinse under cold running water to remove any excess starch.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut water, perfumed water and pandan leaves to the boil. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the sago, stirring with a spatula to prevent it from clumping together. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the sago is tender. Stir in the sugar, reduce the heat to low and add the corn kernels and shredded coconut meat. Mix well to combine, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, warm the coconut cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and salt and whisk until the coconut cream thickens. Remove from the heat.
  4. To serve, divide the cooked sago mixture among four bowls and top with 2–3 tablespoons of the coconut cream.



To make perfumed water, fill a bowl with 1 litre water and scatter the water's surface with 1 handful of unsprayed, unopened jasmine flowers. Cover and leave overnight on the bench until the flowers bloom, infusing the water with jasmine aroma.


Recipe and images from Bangkok Local by Sareen Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99