My friend had been craving baked sago pudding, something that is generally easy to find at yum cha restaurants. However, the yum cha restaurant we went to didn’t have baked sago pudding on their menu – shock horror! So I decided I’ll make one for her when she came to visit. I wasn’t sure which variation she liked – normal or with coconut – so I made a normal one. She liked it although she also liked the coconut one. This is the recipe for the normal one with the coconut variation shown below in brackets.
The first time I cooked sago, I didn’t put enough water in (you have to put a generous amount) and it got very gluggy and started sticking together. The next time I cooked sago, I put too much water and had covered the pot with a lid, which led to frothing over the top of the pot. On the third time, I overcooked it because I was waiting for it to get transparent (which took a while) but then it kept cooking and cooking and became gooey. So by the fourth time I cooked it, I learnt to let it continue to cook in its own heat off the stove for a more ‘al dente’ consistency.
Serves 6 (ramekins)
Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 20-25 mins (depending on your oven, you may want to rotate the ramekins position for more even baking of the top layer)
Custard powder 30g
Full cream milk 500ml (coconut version: 100ml milk plus 400ml coconut milk)
Evaporated milk 100g
Cover the sago with a generous amount of water and bring to the boil with the lid off (to prevent it frothing over). Let it simmer for about 10 minutes before taking it off the heat. Cover with a lid and let it sit for a further 15 minutes before draining in cold water.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
In a separate bowl, mix together the custard powder, half of the milk/coconut milk and eggs. It would get a little lumpy but that’s ok, it would get dissolved in the cooking process.
In a large pot, mix together the remaining milk/coconut milk, evaporated milk, butter and sugar. Put on a low-medium heat and gradually add in the custard powder mixture prepared earlier, whisking as you do so. Continue whisking away until the mixture thickens but be careful not to let it boil.
Pour in the sago and whisk together until evenly mixed through.
Grease 6 ramekins and fill each with the sago mixture, taking care to wipe any drippings along the edges of the ramekins.
Place the ramekins on a large baking tray and fill to about a third full with hot water. This would keep the custard nice and moist while the top bakes.
Carefully place in the oven for 20-25 minutes making sure to rotate the tray around halfway through to ensure even baking. Once brown spots start to appear on the top, it should be ready. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving.