Sago kheer or Javvarisi payasam (a.k.a tapioca pearls pudding or sagubhiyam parammanam) is typically made from cooked tapioca pearls suspended in a sugary, milk solution.
But, here’s the problem with tapioca –Tapioca pearls contain high levels of carbohydrates from starch and have little nutritional value. It has a wonderful chewy texture, but that texture comes with a price in terms of high carbohydrate, which further increases when we add additional sugar to the payasam.
Upgrade my tapioca paayasam
I have used a Thai dessert called Sago Cantaloupe as my inspiration to make this recipe lower in carbs. Compared to the traditional way, this recipe:
- Only uses 1/2 the levels of tapioca pearls because there is a 2nd textural component added by cantaloupe balls.
- Only needs 2 Tablespoons of sugar to sweeten the entire dessert because the cantaloupe provides additional sweetness.
Did that pique your curiosity? Let’s look at the recipe –
- 1/2 Cantaloupe
- 1/2 cup Tapioca Pearls
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 Tbspn Sugar
Bring big pot of water to a full boil. Add 1/2 cup of tapioca pearls into the boiling water and stir until the water comes back to a full boil again. Let it boil for about 10-15 minutes until fully cooked. Once cooked, filter them out and soak them in cool water until the dessert is ready to be assembled.
Scoop the melons using a small melon baller, or simply cut them into 1-centimeter dice. See photos on how to scoop layers of fruit below.
Cut the remaining cantaloupe leftover from the scooping and add them to the blender. Add coconut milk, sugar and blend until you get a smooth mixture
Pour out the blended liquid in glasses. Add cooked tapioca pearls and scooped out cantaloupe balls and serve. This dish is best served cold.
This dessert needs a non-dairy milk like coconut milk. Cow's milk reacts with cantaloupe and makes in bitter after a while.
Step by step pictures
Adding tapioca pearls to water that has come to a rolling boil will allow the tapioca pearls to cook without sticking to each other.
Once the tapioca is cooked, strain them and place them in cold water ready for assembly.
De-seed the cantaloupe. Use a melon baller to scoop out the cantaloupe. You should be able to find one in a local grocery store.
Once you finish the top layer, cut across horizontally to reach the next layer and so on.
Take the leftover bits and pieces and chop them up roughly
Add the leftover chopped cantaloupe pieces, coconut milk and sugar to a blender.
Assemble the blended liquid with the cooked tapioca and add the melon balls to the top.
Each bite is creamy, sweet, chewy and delicious!!
One more thing
Remember to use ripe cantaloupe. When the fruit is ripe, the melon scoops are sweet and soft.
Also, don’t forget my notes in the recipe about the milk. Use non-dairy milk, otherwise you might end up with a bitter dish.
I hope you like this recipe. Even if you cannot do the exact same version, I hope this inspires you to create your own healthy version of Javvarissi Payasam. Do share your thoughts and comments down below. I love to hear from all of you!!
Are you looking for other desserts with less sugar?
Have you tried this?
Upgraded Semiya Payasam – sweetened with dates
Rava Ladoo – sweetened with dates
Gulab Jamun – sweetened with honey
Paal Kozhukattai – sweetened with Brown rice syrup