Kuih Abok Abok Sago (Steamed Tapioca Pearl Cake)

Kuih Abok Abok Sago (Steamed Tapioca Pearl Cake)

Course: Kue, Snack, Street Food
Cuisine: Malaysian
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Author: Marvellina
Learn how to make this easy traditional Malaysian Nyonya kuih abok abok sago that is lightly sweet, naturally gluten-free wrapped in aromatic banana leaves or without wrapping.
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  • ramekins


If you want to wrap the kuih:

  • Banana leaves thaw if frozen


Soak the tapioca pearls:

  • Soak the tapioca pearls in water (room temperature) for 10 minutes until they are softened. Strain off any excess water. Lightly squeeze out any excess water

Prepare the sago mixture:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine soaked tapioca pearls, grated coconut, both types of sugar and stir to combine
  • Divide the mixture into half and add the pandan extract to the other half of sago mixture. So you have the white sago mixture and green sago mixture. Feel free to use another coloring as you desire

Prepare the steamer:

  • Bring the water in the steamer to a boil while preparing other things

No-wrap method:

  • I use individual ramekin cups. Scoop 1-2 tbsp of green mixture into the cups and then top with white sago mixture, leaving about 1/8-inch from the top of the cup. Repeat with the rest.
  • Place the cups in the steamer and steam for about 10-15 minutes or until the sago turns translucent. They will still appear to be very soft when they are warm. Remove from the heat and let them cool completely before unmoulding. They can be easily unmoulded without sticking to the cup.

Prepare the banana leaves (for wrapping method):

  • Cut banana leaves into 8-inch circles and then soak in hot boiling water to soften the leaves. This will help a lot during wrapping. It makes your life easier for sure

How to wrap with banana leaves:

  • Fold the banana leaf into a half-circle and then fold and twist over to form a cone
  • Fill half of the cone with a white sago mixture. Use the back of the spoon to gently pack it down. This will help to maintain the shape. Top with the pandan mixture, leaving about 1/4-inch from the top
  • Simply fold down the extra banana leaves over to enclose and then secure with a toothpick. Place this on a steaming plate in a standing position
  • Steam over high heat for 10 minutes and let them cool down completely before unwrapping


  • Leftover can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For longer storage, freeze them in the freezer for up to one month.


  • If stored in the refrigerator, simply reheat in the steamer over high heat for 5 minutes. If stored in the freezer, do not thaw when you want to reheat. Simply reheat in the steamer for 10 minutes or until heated through


If using desiccated coconut, add 50 ml of coconut milk to moisten the coconut. Let them sit for about 15 minutes or until soften. If the desiccated coconut is sweetened, reduce the amount of white sugar in the recipe to 30-40 grams, depending on how sweet of a tooth you are.