My Sunday Saviour – Sago

Where tiny sago pearls come from – the Sago Palm

I don’t know many words in Patois, but I do know ketch. I mean, I had to. It was directed at me most of the time when I would help my mom in the kitchen. It means ‘to burn.’

“DON’T LET THE RICE KETCH.” – my mother

I would just like to say, I’m not a bad cook and most of my friends can attest to this. But seeing as this is my first blog post, I thought I would start off with something easy – and with something that would not burn (i.e.: SHOULD not burn).

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Uncooked Sago Pearls

I ended up making Sago Porridge or Pudding. It’s both a breakfast dish and a dessert with four fool-proof ingredients: milk, sago pearls (or small tapioca pearls), sticks of cinnamon, and sugar to taste. Sago comes from a larger-than-life palm, pictured above. How it goes from a towering tree to dainty white pearls is a thing of wizardry. When cooked, the small white sago pearls inflate into clear little bubbles of gushy starch.

The consistency can vary depending on if you like it to be more like a porridge (more milk) or more like a pudding (more sago, which acts as a thickening agency). In my childhood, it was a welcomed treat over the dreaded Sunday morning oatmeal.

After a couple of eye-brow raises and flailing hand gestures, I was barely able to get a recipe out of my mother. The thing is, West Indian people rarely measure – it’s like a measuring cup is a form of witchcraft. So for most of the food I prepare, you’ll have to deal with an active description. However I did find a wonderful recipe by Cynthia Nelson here.

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Sago Porridge – not burnt!

My first post and thankfully nothing ketch’d. Although I did get docked points for using powdered cinnamon over the sticks. Blasphemy.




  1. We were just talking about this very thing a few weeks ago. Not even sure what to call it then, just a description. Cleve said he use to have it like porridge for breakfast. So yah, Thanks for the recipe, I’m going to try and bring back some memories with it this week. Nice post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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