Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Sago Saga

The Sago Saga

Sago Saga is just my fancy way of saying Sago Kheer, but.. but.. the twist to this recipe lies in making it in four different ways. The first is the simple version as made by our Grandmas and the three other flavored versions, as tried and tested by me. Choose any one and give it a go. Light and flavorsome, it’s an ideal dessert to beat the heat.

The Simple Grandma Version:


2¼ cups milk
¼ cup water
3½ tablespoons sago/sabudana
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
a pinch or two green cardamom seed powder
4-5 cashew nuts, chopped fine
8-10 kishmish/dry brown grapes
3-4 almonds, slivered
½ teaspoon butter


  1. Soak the sago in water. The water should cover the sago and there should be a bit extra. Keep the soaked sago overnight, in the fridge.
  2. In the morning, drain the sago from the water and keep aside.
  3. Gently heat butter, add the chopped cashew nuts and gently roast them on a low flame. As soon as they show signs of turning color, add the kishmish and sauté for few seconds. Remove the cashews and the kishmish from the butter and keep aside.
  4. Boil the milk and water.
  5. Add sugar, green cardamom seed powder and continue boiling on medium heat.
  6. Add the drained sago to the milk.
  7. Keep stirring as it bubbles away for 3-4 minutes until the sago pearls lose their opaque white color and become colorless. Remove from fire.
  8. Cool. Remove in individual serving bowls. Garnish with chopped almond slivers.
  9. Chill in the fridge for 3 hours and serve.

The Saffron Version:

Heat ¼ cup of water (mentioned in the ingredients), and add a few stands of kesar/saffron to the hot water. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes. Add the saffron water with the saffron threads to the milk and proceed with the rest of the recipe as written in the method section.

The Indian Chai Version:

Instead of ¼ cup water use ½ cup water and bring it to a boil. When it comes to a boil, add a teaspoon of regular tea and boil till the tea water reduces to ¼ cup. Strain the tea and add the strained liquid to the hot milk and proceed with the rest of the recipe as written in the method section.

The Sweet-Ripe Alphonso Mango Version:

Omit the ¼ cup water. Reduce the sugar content to 1 tablespoon and boil the milk with the sago as directed in the method section of the recipe. Remove the milk and sago from heat when the sago turns colorless. Cool and add ½ cup mango pulp (I used ripe Alphonso mangoes) and mix well. Add a few tiny pieces of mangoes (optional). Garnish with mango pieces and slivered almonds.

Chef Notes:

  1. Our Grandma’s used to make the plain version whenever we battled a stomach infection. I had forgotten all about this recipe until my friend Zarina Cama Clowsley posted it at a food forum on FB a couple of weeks back. I therefore dedicate the first version to her and to all the Grandmas who make this to heal their ailing grand babies.
  2. This is an excellent recipe for people who suffer from stomach infections and acidity. When using it for stomach infections, I suggest you go with ‘The Simple Grandma Version’.
  3. I added nuts because I wanted to serve it as a light after meal dessert, but if you’re having it to ease a stomach infection, please omit the dry fruits.
  4. I have given four variations to this recipe. There are two more that you may try.
    Variations: 1. Adding rose syrup to the milk and water. 2. Instead of chai you may try it with coffee.
  5. If you want to make a richer version then take 4 cups of milk and reduce it to 2¼ cups.
  6. This time I used regular tea leaves for the Indian Chai version but feel free to experiment using flavored teas. You won’t know what works, until you give it a try. ;-)
  7. For the mango version I used ripe Alphonso mangoes but you may use any variety of sweet-ripe mangoes. 
  8. You may share the direct blog-link of the recipe/s but do NOT publish my recipes and my photographs on any blog-site or website without my explicit consent or attempt to pass off my recipe/s as your own. You will be held accountable for plagiarism.


  1. Awesome to see such an old favorite !

    1. Thank you! Yes, this recipe is indeed a very old one. It comes down from our grandma's time and it comes with so many memories :-)

  2. I mix a little custard pdr in extra cold milk and add it to make a custard version of sago kheer. Learnt it from my sis-in-law. Tastes nice.

    1. Hi Shama! Thank you so much for visiting the blog. As for the custard powder addition, that sounds like a wonderful version. I'll give it a try for sure! Cheers!

  3. Replies
    1. HI Monu! Thank you so much! The Grandma's version is the original recipe. I've built up the variations based on that :-)