The Melanau communities named this rounded peanut-sized traditional food as Sagu or Bulu. When Sarawak was colonized by the Japanese in the 1940s sago was one of the staple foods of the people in Mukah, the place that has the biggest area in the planting of the sago palm tree. The ingredients for producing sago beads are easier to find in Mukah, Dalat and Oya.
In raw form sago is processed to become lemantak flour to be made into food such as 'Ambuyat'. The lemantak flour is processed to produce sago beads. Nowadays, sago beads are found in traditional cuisines such as cakes as well as cendol, a dessert with coconut milk gravy.
To produce sago beads the lemantak flour is dried and then mixed with dried grated coconut called 'kerisik', rice bran, coconut milk and salt, all of which to be grounded finely for easy blending. The mixture is then sieved using 'takung', a special mould made from bamboo trunk.
The sieved mixture is then rolled using a special gadget weaved from the leaves of palm tree. The rolling technique produces sago beads through the holes in the sieve. The sago beads are then grilled for five hours in a ceramic pot laid on bricks, without using cooking oil. When grilled the sago beads must always be evenly spread to ensure a balanced grilling. The lengthy grilling process too is to make the sago beads truly crispy.
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