While investigating recipes from the Sri Lankan Cook Kandalama Style book, I’ve run across a variety of unique ingredients, one of which is sago. At least. to me it’s unique, having grown up on the wrong side of the planet.

Wikipedia defines sago as starch extracted from the pith of tropical palm stems, though I’ve read elsewhere that it can also be created from tapioca tubers. As I’m no expert on the product I can’t say for sure, but it seems that the term ‘sago’ can sometimes be used loosely to describe a similar product from multiple sources (know any differently? let me know in the comments!)

It can be turned into flour or shaped into a pearl form that’s reminiscent of tapioca. Apparently the pearl form is far more common and frequently used to make delicious puddings. Based on the dish I made, it doesn’t have much flavor on its own (makes sense, I suppose, as it’s essentially pure carbs), but soaks up sweet flavors and coconut milk beautifully.

Unlike other ingredients I’ve tried to track down, sago is surprisingly easy, and affordable, to find. It’s readily available on Amazon and other online sites, and also can be purchased from Indian groceries as “sabudanna” (or sabudana, sabudhana, etc) as it’s frequently used for religious purposes. A little goes a long way, so unless you’re planning on creating a sago feast (or want to stock up for months), buying a small package will do the trick.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the results of my sago experimentation, Cook Kandalama Style. Have any other tips about sago? Let me know in the comments!