Dessert, Recipes

Sago pudding is like my brother and sisters; something that I grew up with and that both my mother and my father love. The starchy white sago grains are made from a paste that comes from the sago palm, which grows in tropical places like the East Indies. But never fear – sago pudding is an authentic South African ending to a proper South African braai. In my family, we served sago with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and a bit of apricot jam, which you might or might not consider normal

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 litre milk (conveniently, almost every supermarket in the world sells milk in this measurement unit)
  • 1 cup sago
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tots butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 tots apricot jam
  • cinnamon sugar (see below)


  1. Throw the milk and sago into your flat-bottomed potjie and mix. Cover with the lid and let it stand for at least 1 hour – longer is also absolutely fine.
  2. After an hour (or longer) add the sugar, butter and cinnamon stick to the sago and milk, then mix everything together. The butter will obviously not mix into the cold ingredients at this stage.
  3. Put the potjie on the fire (coals or flames) and bring to a gentle simmer without the lid on. Control the heat (you might need to remove some coals or flames from under the potjie) and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the grains have swollen up and the sago has become almost see-through. Don’t multi-task at this stage, as milk can easily boil over – you have been warned. If you’re going to err one side or another, rather simmer it for too long than too short, but please don’t let it boil over or burn. Take the potjie off the fire and leave it to cool slightly with or without the lid on for at least 10 minutes (again, longer is acceptable).
  4. Whisk the eggs and vanilla until they are well mixed and quite fluffy. Pour the mixture into the sago, stirring all the time.
  5. Spoon the apricot jam in blobs on top of the sago mixture in the potjie, and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Put the lid on the potjie and bake for 30 minutes by placing coals underneath the potjie and also placing coals on its lid.


AND …To make the cinnamon sugar, just mix 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon with 2 tots of sugar