Honeydew Sago with Coconut Milk and Mint

Food stylist, writer and cook Shu Han Lee shares four recipes from her first cookbook Chicken and Rice (Fig Tree, Penguin Books), which combines the best of Southeast Asian with British seasonal ingredients

Posted on Mar. 3, 2017
By Editor

Honeydew Sago with Coconut Milk and Mint
Prep 5-10 mins • Cook 30 mins • Serves 4

Chilled sweet ‘soups’ like this are very common in our hot tropical weather and the most elaborate ones can include shaved ice, sweetcorn, cubes of fruit or sweet yam, and tapioca jellies in all sorts of crazy colours. Amidst all the psychedelic options, honeydew sago must look pretty boring with its muted pale colours and bare ingredients list, but its plainness belies just how perfectly the flavours and textures work together. Mint is not often added, and sugar rather than honey is the usual sweetener; but I use them because I find they bring out the refreshing sweetness of the honeydew melon.

This dessert is also great in autumn made with pears. Make sure to use very ripe pears, or, if you like, poach them gently in the coconut milk and water. 


  • 60g tiny sago pearls
    1 medium sized ripe honeydew melon
    200ml thick coconut milk
    200ml water
    5 tbsp runny mild honey, or to taste
    a handful of fresh mint


Step 1

Put the sago pearls into a pot of boiling water. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent the sago from sticking. It should turn mostly translucent now, except for a tiny white dot in the middle. Turn the heat off, cover the pot with a lid and let stand for another 10 mins, until the sago turns fully translucent. Rinse the cooked sago pearls through a sieve to remove excess starch, then drain and tip into a bowl with plenty of cool water until ready to use.

Step 2

Peel and deseed the honeydew melon. Cut half of it into chunks, and dice the other half into small cubes.

Step 3

Mix together the coconut milk, water and honey, tasting and adjusting as you go along. Tip into a blender along with the honeydew chunks and blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary to thin the mixture. Add the small honeydew cubes to the mixture and place in the fridge to chill.

Step 4

To serve, spoon the sago into bowls, scoop the honeydew coconut mixture over, and finish with torn fresh mint

Recipe: Lee Shu Han
Photograph: Fig Tree, Penguin Books

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