Coconut Sago & Taro Dessert / Sai Mai Lo / 西米露


This dessert has many names, in Chinese it's called 西米露
I’m pretty sure Sai Mai Lo has Filipino roots and not Chinese as I had always thought. If you have your own version, please feel free to share! :D

I remember my mom making this dessert since I was young. Since I didn't know how to say the name, my brother and I would call it "bau bau" which means "little bubbles" and the name kinda stuck.



This is a simple dessert to make and can be enjoyed hot or cold. You have your three main ingredients: coconut milk, sago (or tapioca pearls), and taro. 

At right is a chunk of taro with the top cut off. Great contrast in colouring of the flesh and skin. Always amuses me for some odd reason haha

Tapioca Pearls (left: available as small, shown here, and big pearls) & Coconut Milk (right: available in cans)

Starting off with the taro, you use a peeler to remove the tough outer skin before dicing it. The size of the cubes depends on your preference. 

To cook it: boil water, add the taro, boil for a few minutes and let it simmer for about 7 min. When it is easily pierced with a knife, remove from the water. Drain and set aside. Keep the boiling liquid in the pot!

Next stage is to prep the sago. These small tapioca pearls can be deceiving so be careful! You don’t need a lot to yield a sufficient amount. I probably used a third of a cup here and that was enough for 4 people. 
So what you want to do is first reboil the water, then stir in the tapioca pearls. Boil them for a couple of minutes before lowering the heat to let it simmer. Stir occasionally and when the pearls are almost completely transparent, with still a bit of white in the middle remove.

The water has a slight pink hue due to the taro.

Drain in a sieve and run it under some cold water to avoid sticking.

We’ve now reached the final stage: assembly. Dun dun duunnn!! (G down to D up to G#!! going through microtones/quartertones up to A). 

As I waited for the pearls to cook, snacked on some blueberry yogurt & mango. :)

Here, I used brown rock sugar, which essentially is crystallized sugar. Dissolve it in water. As you bring it to a boil, add the taro and the tapioca pearls. Pour in milk and coconut milk. You can also use evaporated milk. 
Once it comes to a boil and the tapioca pearls are completely cooked through, it’s ready to be served! :D:D

I love tong sui! (Chinese dessert soups). Think about it, you quench your thirst, satisfy sweet tooth, and warm yourself up at the same time! WIN-WIN-WIN. 

Finished! The sago are like little bubbles in your mouth whereas the taro provides more substantial texture & flavour.

5 out of 5 NOMs