Honeydew Sago Dessert Recipe: A Refreshing Summer Treat!

Updated 29 August 2009

Originally posted 1 August 2008

Honeydew Sago Dessert

honeydew sago

In Malaysia, we have many soupy desserts. Some of them are served hot, like the Chinese “tong sui” (sweet drinks) and others cold (like cendol, ice kacang and es teler). The honeydew sago dessert falls into the cold category and it really is refreshing.

During Summer, melons are abundant in the grocery stores and the farmer’s market. One Saturday, we bought three melons at the Palo Alto Farmer’s Market—a bambino watermelon, an orange-fleshed watermelon and a honeydew melon (read about our encounter with a gross “Asian-girl fetish” man). The watermelons we planned to just enjoy on its own but I had plans for the honeydew melon.

Sago = Tapioca pearls

sago tapioca pearls uncooked

Sago or tapioca pearls can be found in all your Asian grocery stores and probably in some of the regular stores as well. They look like little tiny white beads. I love these things and will put them into any “soupy” Asian desserts abundantly (be careful though as they are also a thickener and too much can turn your “soup” into “pudding”). There’s another dessert that is made entirely of them and I will blog about that later.

Working it out

So anyway, we had brought back lots of stuff from the farmer’s market, right? And Nate had told you that he was working on the grilled pork tenderloin dinner with all the other ingredients. (By the way, I did not agree with his post—we had a little argument about it after it was published, yeah, our first blog fight *lol*. What I think he meant to say was that I also do look at what I have before deciding on what to cook BUT once I decide, I settle on a recipe (or adapt it) and go from there. He, on the other hand, starts chopping the stuff on hand and then continues searching for how to make use of it and what else to make with it…not very efficient…tsk…tsk…).

I love him anyway and sometimes it works out remarkably well. I just have to stay away so as not to get impatient. So while he was putting together this wonderful meal, I took a nap. I woke up feeling refreshed and came into the kitchen to work on my dessert dish. The whole meal came out really great and because pork tenderloin and grilled halibut are pretty light foods, there was room for my honeydew sago dessert which was a delightful way to end dinner and the weekend.

Honeydew Sago Recipe

½ honeydew melon (save the other half for enjoying plain)
1 cup sago (tapioca pearls)
½-1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet your honeydew is)
½ cup water
1 cup coconut milk shake the can before measuring out the one cup otherwise you will have really thick coconut milk only)
½ tsp salt


Make a simple syrup: Put water and sugar into a small pot and boil till sugar dissolves to make a syrup. Cool.

Boil the sago: Put a big pot of water to boil (to hold about 7 cups or more of water). When water comes to a boil, add sago to water and cook on med-high heat. Stir occasionally. Sago is done cooking when it looks translucent, about 8-10 mins. Caution: Don’t overcook the sago as it can become a sticky mess. Better to have a few pearls that have not turned translucent than to have a glop of melting sago.

Cut and blend the melon: While sago is cooking, cut half of the half melon into chunks

honeydew chunks in blender

and buzz in your blender till smooth.

honeydew being blended for honeydew sago dessert

Dice the remaining quarter of the melon into small ½ inch cubes (or if you want to be really pretty, you could use a melon baller).

diced honeydew melon

Rinse the sago: As soon as sago is done, pour it out into a fine-mesh colander and rinse with cold water.

Assemble the dish: Put the melon cubes and the melon juice together in a large bowl.

blended and diced honeydew melon

Add the coconut milk.

drizzling coconut milk to sago honeydew dessert

Followed by the cooled sago.

adding tapioca to honeydew for sago honeydew dessert

Pour in the sugar syrup little by little, to adjust the sweetness.

Salt trick

The trick to getting your dessert to taste better is to add a little salt. Salt enhances the sweetness of any dessert!. Stir it all together and chill.


honeydew sago

Cheers, Annie

This post was entered in the “Merdeka Open House 2009: My Sweet Malaysia” roundup, hosted by Babe in the City – KL

33 thoughts on “Honeydew Sago Dessert Recipe: A Refreshing Summer Treat!”

  1. >@all – thanks again for your comments!

    @babe – yeah, slowly getting settled.

    @Lianne – hope you get to try making it again!

    @Queenie – do you have an Asian grocery near you? Should be able to find it there.

    @Christine – wow, what a nice compliment! I'm happy your family liked it.

    @Tummywise – you're welcome!

  2. >Hi! I was searching for a quick and easy dessert recipe for the mooncake festival party I held in my place today and found the perfect one in yours. It was a really a good turnout despite it being my first time..thanks to your good guidance! Everyone just love it! Would like to thank you very very much for this! 😀

  3. Hi, if i were to used those coconut cream, (package like a paket drink), how to add to this sago? do i need to mix with water?

  4. Can you make this honeydew soup warm? I feel I’ve had a warm version at Chinese restaurants as a child and was hoping to recreate this experience. I was wondering if there is a warm version of you recipe?

    1. Melinda,

      great question. I’ve also had a warm coconut-tapioca soup as a dessert at Chinese restaurants. I think they use sweet potato chunks instead of honeydew melon, though.

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