Sago Dumplings with Red Bean Filling (桂花豆沙西米糭) | Christine's Recipes: Easy Chinese Recipes | Delicious Recipes

Sago Dumplings with Red Bean Filling (桂花豆沙西米糭)

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Sago Dumplings with Red Bean Filling01

Dragon boat festival is coming around the corner, exactly falling on this weekend this year. We will surely have some traditional savoury Cantonese sticky rice dumplings. As I was itching to make some sweet ones for my family as well. I soaked some sago for a little while, then wrapped in with red bean filling. Voila, the steamed sago dumplings looked so spectacular and went so well with the fragrant Osmanthus syrup. Immediately I brought a batch for a family gathering. And it’s gone so fast. The second batch is reserved as afternoon snack on the weekend.

Sago Dumplings with Red Bean Filling Recipe (Printable recipe)
By Christine's Recipes
Prep time: 45 mins + plus soaking bamboo leaves and sago time
Cook time: 30 mins
Yield: makes 10

Sago Dumplings with Red Bean Filling03

  • 250 gm sago
  • 20 gm sugar
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 250 gm red bean paste (store-bought or homemade)
  • 10 pieces bamboo leaves
  • kitchen twine
  • 50 gm palm sugar, roughly chopped
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 tsp dried Osmanthus flower
Sago Dumplings with Red Bean Filling Procedures01

Sago Dumplings with Red Bean Filling Procedures02

  1. Soak bamboo leaves one day ahead or overnight until softened. Use a sponge or clean cloth to wipe clean both sides of each bamboo leaf. Carefully place the leaves into a large pot. Pour boiling water to cover all the leaves. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook over high heat. Bring it to a boil. Remove from the heat. Keep the lid on and let it cool down or until warm. (Remark: By doing this, the bamboo leaves won’t easily break apart while wrapping. Click to see photos here if you like.)
  2. Cover sago with water and soak for about 30 minutes. Drain well. Mix with sugar and oil. Set aside.
  3. Divide red bean paste into 10 portions, each 25 grams. Knead each into a small ball.
  4. In a small sauce pan, place palm sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Sprinkle dried Osmanthus flower and steep in the syrup, covered, until it’s cooled down.
  5. To wrap dumplings: With smooth side up, fold up 1/3 of a bamboo leaf to form a cone. Add 2 tablespoons of sago. Place a red bean ball in the middle, then top with another 2 tablespoons of sago to cover. Lightly press and level the surface. Fold the upper part of the leaf to cover the sago. Fold-in both sides and the remaining part. Form a triangle shape. Use kitchen twine to wrap tightly around the dumpling. Repeat this step to finish wrapping the remaining ingredients.
  6. Steam the dumplings in a wok or a steamer over high heat for about 30 minutes. When they cool down a bit, unwrap the dumplings. Serve warm with drizzled syrup.
Sago Dumplings with Red Bean Filling02

  • While the sago dumplings are still hot or warm, they look beautifully translucent.
  • The leftovers can be chilled in fridge for about 1 week in an air-tight container. They turn opaque when cold. You can reheat them by steaming. The dumplings will turn soft and translucent again.
  • Dried Osmanthus flower has a sweet, fragrant and refreshing smell, often used to make Chinese tea, available at Asian grocers. Or you may get it online here. You might like to discard the dried flowers after steeping in syrup or reserve them as decoration.


  1. This is so interesting! I have never thought of using sago to make dumplings. Wish I could taste one!

  2. This is something new to me. I can tell it s good.

  3. Wow, what a fantastic idea... but sadly I don't know how to wrap dumplings. Wonderful clicks!

  4. Do you have a video showing the wrapping of dumpling?

    1. Sorry, I didn't take video this time. Might do it next time.

  5. Hello Christine
    Thanks for your recipe sharing.
    Seek your advice can I change the cooking method from steam to boil. How long can it be kept inside the fridge or room temperature

    1. It can be kept in fridge for up to a week.

  6. Hello Christine
    Thanks for your recipe sharing.
    Curious how does the sago dumpling taste like. Is the texture QQ and refreshing as I plan to make it next week

    1. The texture of sago depends on how long you cook. If they are over-cooked, they'll turn mushy.

  7. Can you make this without the bamboo leaves?

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      I think you can do it without bamboo leaves. Might use a mould or anything else. Be creative. You need to do some trial-and-error experiments though.