Sago with ginger milk pudding

Sago with ginger milk pudding

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

With inspiration from the sago pudding that I tasted as a child, this dessert combines northern and southern Chinese traditions for a lighter and more subtle taste. This dish is also about my fascination with using ginger as a setting agent. And I thought creating a sauce of fermented rice wine made it seem all the more grown-up.

For the glutinous rice wine


Quantity Ingredient
250g glutinous rice
10g wine yeast ball, (see glossary)

For the sago and rice wine sauce

Quantity Ingredient
70g small tapioca sago
1 tablepoon sugar
2 tablepoons unsprayed jasmine flowers, (see glossary)

For the black sesame croquant

Quantity Ingredient
100g black sesame seeds
75g sugar

For the ginger milk pudding

Quantity Ingredient
4 teaspoons ginger juice, (see glossary) from mature ginger which is stringy and starchy
2 teaspoons caster sugar
240ml milk


  1. Make the glutinous rice wine:
  2. Put the rice in a strainer or colander and rinse with cold running water until the water running off the rice is clear. Transfer the rice to a steamer and stir in 450 ml water. Steam for about 30 minutes until just cooked. Spread on a large tray to cool to lukewarm. Crush the wine yeast ball to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle. Scatter over the rice and mix well. Put in an earthenware jar with a lid that is more than large enough to hold the amount of rice. (It shouldn’t be airtight as the production of gas during the fermentation process will make an airtight container explode.) Place in a warm place and leave for 4 days. The glutinous rice wine is a mixture of broken down rice mixed with some liquid. You can also buy it ready-made from Chinese supermarkets and grocery shops.
  3. Make the sago and rice wine sauce:
  4. Soak the sago in hot water to cover until softened. Drain. Meanwhile, take 200 g of the glutinous rice wine along with its rice. Strain into a jug, reserving the rice. Top up the wine with water to 200 ml. Pour into a saucepan, add the sugar and heat to 80°C. Remove from the heat, drop in the jasmine flowers and leave to steep for 1 hour. Strain, then mix with the drained sago and the reserved rice.
  5. Make the black sesame croquant:
  6. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Spread the sesame seeds on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes in the oven until they smell toasty and refreshed. Combine the sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Heat until it liquefies and turns a light caramel. Don’t attempt to stir or the sugar will crystallise and ruin any thought of it turning to caramel. Take off the heat, add the sesame seeds and leave in the pan for a minute. Lightly oil a baking tray. Pour the caramel onto it to give a thinnish sheet of croquant. Leave to cool, then crush to a #ne powder with a mortar and pestle.
  7. Make the ginger milk pudding:
  8. Divide the ginger juice among four small but wide bowls, which you’d be happy to serve in. Dissolve the sugar into the milk and then divide the milk into four 60 ml portions. Heat one portion to around 75°C. Give the ginger juice in a bowl a good stir before pouring in the milk from a height of 15–20 cm — this helps the ginger juice to mix through well. Make up three more puddings in this way. Put the bowls aside and don’t disturb for 30 minutes until the puddings are set.
  9. Assemble the dish:
  10. Serve the warm puddings with the sago and rice wine sauce and croquant as condiments, so those eating can choose how much sweetness and textural interest they add to their dessert.
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