October 4, 2023

Mango Pomelo Sago Dessert 楊枝甘露

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This yummilicious Chinese spoon dessert is just the thing to take advantage of the autumn pomelos that are flooding the market at the moment.  It's pomelo (and mango) time, folks!  

You'll find these kind of desserts in Hong Kong specialty dessert shops, 糖水鋪, which, if you haven't tried yet, you must cuz the desserts they serve are pretty fab!  These dessert shops are in every residential neighborhood, usually open later and into late night, and serve all kinds of traditional and newer types of Chinese desserts.  

This fabulous Mango Pamelo Sago Dessert 楊枝甘露, also known as 芒果柚子西米露,  is one of the newer HK desserts, a most delectable concoction of flavors and textures: chewy sago pearls, juicy pomelo sacs and deliciously sweet mango all tied together with lusciously creamy coconut cream.

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Here are the main ingredients for this fab dessert from top left clockwise: pomelo, mango and sago/tapioca pearls*.  Let's not forget the secret 'up the ante' ingredient, coconut cream, which is not shown in the photo cuz I forgot.  My bad.

Pomelo 柚子, which looks like a supersized grapefruit, is a fruit that is native to Southest Asia.  It tastes quite like the grapefruit, except there's only a slight sourness in the taste, the rest is sweet and a tiny, tiny bit bitter.  Quite refreshing, actually. 

Pomelos come in two skin colors, yellow and green, and three flesh colors, white, pink and red.  All kinds are suitable for this dessert.  When buying pomelos check for heaviness, which indicates juiciness.  Also have a sniff at the stem area, a ripe pomelo will smell wonderful.

The mango 芒果 is one of the world's favorite fruit, surely, beloved for its smooth, lovely and fragrant sweet flesh and wonderfully cheerful yellow orange color.  It's the perfect complement to the pomelo.

The pearls in the photo are actually tapioca pearls* 木薯珍珠 instead of sago pearls.  I know that this dessert has "sago 西米露" in the name.  It's hard, however, to find sago pearls these days and tapioca pearls is a totally acceptable substitute. 

Here's the pomelo 柚子.  We used the yellow skinned pomelo with white flesh.  A slight aside, but do you see the thick pith?  This spongy part of the pomelo is used for the Cantonese delicacy, Shrimp Roe Braised Pomelo Skin 蝦子柚皮, which is one of my hubby's most accomplished dishes.  Hopefully we can post on that soon!

For this dessert dish, however, we will be using the pomelo fruit itself.  Peel off the pith.  Remove the seeds.  Remove the fruit from the tough skin and then separate the juice sacs from each other.  It's a bit finicky to get these juice sacs completely separated, so do your best and just break the remaining into small chunks.

Skin your ripe mango.  Slice the flesh off and dice.  Reserving some of the dice for topping, purée the rest.  Wow, the aroma of mango is just so alluring!

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Okay, all ready for the final dessert assembly!  So far so easy, amiright?  Spoon some of those lovely hydrated tapioca pearls into a dessert dish.  The lovely chewy round texture is an absolute delight to bite into.  

Pssst...We've been enjoying these so much that we've been going crazy adding these into all our drinks!  Tapioca pearls are fabulous addition to our homemade Italian grenadine soda!

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Next top with the pomelo juice sacs.  Texture on top of texture!  These pomelo juice sacs will release a spurt of refreshing liquid when bitten into.

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Next pour the mango puree over all.  Top with mango cubes.  Looks really yummy already, amirite?  Mango is always so gorgeous!

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Ahh, at the last, the magic ingredient that ties all together!  Finish with coconut cream, which will permeate all the ingredients, adding a most luscious fragrant creaminess to the mix.  We stirred in a bit of powdered sugar into the coconut cream before adding but this is up to you.  Depends on how sweet your mango is, really.  If it's sweet enough you might not need the extra sugar.

Stir that luscious coconut cream thru and you've made the easy and yummilicious Mango Pomelo Sago Dessert 水楊枝甘露, a real superstar of a dessert: sweetly tart mango swirled through with pops of chewy tapioca pearls and juicy pomelo, all nestled together with the soothing creaminess of aromatic coconut.  Please enjoy the noveau HK dessert experience!

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Mango Pomelo Sago Drink Recipe
(makes two servings)  Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 5 mins



Boil two inches of water in a small pot.  Turn heat to low, add in tapioca pearls, cover and let cook for 5 mins.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 mins.  Check the pearl's readiness by eating one: it should be soft all the way thru, with no crunchiness in the middle.  When ready rinse under cool tap water to stop the cooking.  Layer half of the pearls to each dessert cup.

Peel the pomelo.  Separate into segments.  Pull the pomelo flesh apart from the skin.  Use fingers to separate the pomelo juice sacs.  It's kinda hard to get the little juice sacs apart completely, just do your best.   Divide in half and layer on top of the tapioca pearls.

Use a peeler to peel the mango.  Slice mango flesh off the stone.  Dice mango flesh.  Reserve 1/4 of the mango dice and purée the rest in food processor.  Pour half of mango purée in a layer over the pomelo in each dessert dish.  Top with reserved mango dice.

Mix powdered sugar with coconut cream to taste.  The sweetness desired will depend on how sweet your mango is.   Reserving 2 tbsp for the final swirl, add the rest of the cream on top of the mango in each dish.

Stir to mix everything up.  Top with a swirl of coconut cream on top.  Chill in fridge 15 mins until cool.  Serve with a spoon.  Enjoy!