Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Making of Sago Pearl

Sago is a starch extracted from the pith of sago palm stem, Metroxylon sagu. It is a once a major staple food for the Melanaus of Sarawak.

The sago palm grows in the swamps of Sarawak. It can grow up to 30 meters in height, at 1.5m/year. The palm will only reproduce once before dying. They are harvested at the age of 7 – 15 years, just before flowering, when the stems are full of starch stored for use in reproduction. 1 palm is estimated to yield 150 to 300 kg of starch.

Sago flour contains almost pure carbohydrate. It has very little protein, vitamins, or minerals. 100G of dry sago contains 355 calories, some 94g of carbohydrate, 0.2g of protein, 0.5g of dietary fiber, 10mg of calcium, 1.2 mg of iron, and negligible amounts of fat, carotene, thiamine, and ascorbic acid.

The Melanaus uses the sago flour to make tebaloi cracker. The pearl-sago are consume directly together with peanuts, grilled prawns , or umai.

Process of making sago-pearl
1. first, the sago palm is felled
2. the pith is crushed and kneaded to release the starch
3. the crushed pith is wash and strained to extracted the starch
4. the raw starch suspension is allowed to settle
6. a sieve is used to separate the pearl form the flour, flipping is continued to produce more pearls
7. finally, the pearl sago is heated over fire to dry it up.

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