Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tapioca Pearls with Red Wine (Sagu)


Sagu is how we call the dessert made with tapioca pearls in Brazil. :)


This is another recipe that takes me back to my childhood. My mom used to make these and yes, with wine. But she boiled long enough so all the alcohol evaporated. However, we could still taste it. To me, it sounds and it looks a fancy dessert, maybe it’s just because there’s wine lol. You can use any red wine you want, I used a cheap one and still tasted wonderful! Husband approved too! :)

Sagu has a really interesting consistency. I feel almost like the pearls massage my mouth. It’s kind of funny for me :)


It’s not just because my mom used to make this dessert that reminds my childhood, but because they use to serve it as a snack in some of the schools I’ve studied. But instead of wine, they prepared it with grape juice. I don’t know if they still serve this for the kids in school as I’ve been away from Brazil for more than 5 years. I guess you could use any kind of juice or syrup and you would have a variety of flavours. I’d give it a shot with cherry juice or syrup. Maybe adding a little vodka it’d be great too. Poland makes a delightful cherry vodka called Wiśniówka. I think it would taste amazing with sagu.


I heard that some people like to serve sagu with a vanilla custard or pudding, but I prefer it pure like that, with nothing taking the taste of wine away :)

I used a mug instead of a cup to measure the tapioca pearls and the wine. Sorry, I know it’s not precise, but I worked for me :P And it yield a lot as you can see the big bowl in the background of one of the pictures.

You can use the whole bottle of wine, but you will get then a very liquid consistency and will have to boil for longer to get that sauce-like consistency. If the idea is to make sure all the alcohol is gone, then it’s ok. But I’d be afraid to lose that nice colour if boiling way too long.

I was researching to find out how long it takes for the alcohol to evaporate and I found this page. I had no idea about it, so I guess my sagu had retained about 50% of the alcohol, as I boiled it for about 10 minutes.




1 mug tapioca pearls
3L water
750ml red wine
1 mug of sugar


In a large saucepan boil the water. Then, add the pearls and slowly stir until it boils again.

When the pearls have a clear looking (no white spots) remove from heat and let it cool.

After cooling, using a drainer to wash out the pearls for a few seconds, so that the gooey consistency goes away (some people leave it, but I think it tastes and looks better without it).

Put the pearls back to the saucepan and add the wine and sugar. Let it boil for about 5 minutes or longer, if you want the alcohol to evaporate more.

Transfer to a large glass bowl, let it cool and take it to refrigerate overnight.




Eliana said...

Are you kidding me?
I just held a package of Sagu today and I told my husband that I used to eat this dessert! I have to try it! Thanks for sharing the recipe!