Sago is a bit like quinces. You don’t hear too much about either these days. Or tapioca for that matter. But back in the day, they were staples on the family dinner menu. I grew up loving sago. Both my grandmother and mother used to whip up sago desserts. Usually, a lemon sago pudding.

The Thai people are very good at sago desserts (or might be tapioca, not sure). And at a Malaysian restaurant in Sydney’s Lane Cove, my great mate and I used to delight in the sago dessert with palm sugar and coconut milk.

So when I spotted some sago in the supermarket the other day, I decided to try one of my grandmother’s sago pudding recipes. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure about this dessert. It’s not very sweet. So I had it with some vanilla ice-cream and a bit of maple syrup. Without these extras, I think it was a bit bland, albeit it had a delicate flavour. I’m going to try again using a different recipe based on coconut milk.

But if you’ve never had sago before, this is an easy dessert to try. And you can add whatever you like to it if you agree with me that it’s a bit bland.

Here’s what you need:

* 250ml or 1 cup of sago

* 2 eggs, separated

* 500ml milk

* 2ml vanilla essence

* 1/2 cup sugar

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

First up, cover the sago with enough water and let it soak overnight. The sago will absorb most of the water, if not all. Just use enough water to cover the sago and don’t drain the water off when it comes to making the pudding.

Preheat your oven to 180 C or 350 F. Then heat the milk in a saucepan to lukewarm and stir in the sago. Remove from heat. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and salt in a bowl. Then add the milk and sago mixture a bit at a time, stirring well between each addition.

Now beat your egg whites until stiff and fold into the milk and sago mixture. Stir in the vanilla essence and pour into a greased ovenproof dish. Bake for around 40 minutes or until set. Serve your pudding hot. I think this pudding could taste quite good with golden syrup, honey, cinnamon or maybe even some jam.

Sago pudding mixture – ready to be poured into baking dish after having folded in the egg whites and vanilla essence.

Baked sago pudding with a dollop of ice-cream.