Yuan xiao （元宵, teochew: 十五晚 chap ngo meh）, the 15th day of the first lunar month, is both Lantern Festival and Valentine's Day for the Chinese. It also marks the last day of the Chinese New Year celebration. After meeting my relatives in my maternal grandma's house on the second day of new year, all the twelve aunties (including my mum) in the family will each cook up something and meet again to celebrate yuan xiao.
Sago is made from the starchy juice extracted from the trunk of a palm tree in New Guinea. When uncooked, the dry sago pearls look like the tiny styrofoam balls that form a styrofoam board. When cooked, it expands to twice its original size, turns translucent, soft and chewy.
The first time I had honeydew sago was during my primary school days. I remember eating it at a restaurant with my extended family for some celebration (either yuan xiao or my maternal grandma's birthday). The dessert (last dish) served was honeydew sago. Just like any typical restaurant, the dessert was brought to the table in a large serving bowl, then the waitress would scoop it into smaller bowls for our individual consumption. Both my cousin, YS, and I thought it was the most wonderful dessert we've ever tasted. We must have had at least two helpings then. ^^
Made this for tonight's celebration. It has been a hot sunny day today, I'm sure my dessert will be a welcomed dish tonight ^^
One honeydew (or rockmelon), cut into cubes
150ml/half to three-quarter cup Water
125g/half a packet Sago
Lots of water (to boil sago)
250ml Coconut milk
1 litre Fresh milk
*Amount of sugar is approximately 20% the volume of liquids as water from the melted ice will further dilute the soup. My personal preference is 10-15%. without ice.
- Boil sugar with 100ml water till sugar thoroughly dissolves. Cool the mixture. (I usually do this the night before)
- Boil sago in big pot of water for 5 minutes, constantly stirring. (sago is only 50% cooked through at this time)
- Rinse half-cooked sago in tap water to remove the starch.
- Boil sago in fresh water again for another 5 minutes, constantly stirring (sago should be 90% cooked through now, translucent with some bits of whites still in the middle. I usually stop at 90% because continue cooking till 100% will result in over-expansion in other 90% of the sago and cause them to become too soft and gooey).
- Rinse sago in tap water again, till sago is completely cooled.
- Quickly mix cooked sago with the liquids in a serving pot (I used my Endo thermal pot. Mixing them quickly will prevent cooked sago to lump and stick together.)
- Add honeydew and lots of ice. Serve.
90% cooked sago ~
Brought a pot of honeydew sago to my niece's birthday party as well (I attended 2 gatherings tonight). Heard a guy murmuring "Yum yum" to his bowl of honeydew sago... I think he had at least 3 helpings just now... hahahaha... success! Yay! (^___^)v