It is a white starch, 84% pure, with a slight reddish hue and a faint, mouldy odour to it. Otherwise, it doesn’t really have any taste, fat or protein to it.
With enough magnification, the grains of starch (.015 to .080 mm. in length) are revealed to be oval.
The starch comes from the trunk of the tree, which is harvested just before the tree flowers. The trunk is cut into lengths of 6 to 7 feet (2 metres) long, and the lengths are then split length-wise in half.
The spongy pulp inside the trunks is chopped up and crushed in the trunk. Water is then poured into the cavity to wash and collect the starch from it. The starch water is strained, then the fibres caught in the strainer are collected. Another method allows the water to settle, so that the sediment in it settles at the bottom, and then the water is drained off, leaving the starch behind.
However they were collected, the starch fibres are then either air-dried (or by or over a fire, or commercially, by machine.) If it is air-dried, it’s called “starch”; if it is dried by machine, it’s likely to be for the purpose of forming the starch into what is called “Sago Pearls.”
The starch is then formed into cakes for storage.
Sago Starch can be:
- used as an ingredient in making food such as Asian noodles, biscuits, etc.;
- used in making products such as syrups, and to make fructose and glucose from;
- made into a gruel;
- formed into Sago Pearls.
In India, sugar is added to the starch and boiled to make a jelly. In the West, it is primarily used as a thickener.
The left-over pulp from the process of making the starch can be fed to livestock.
The starch doesn’t dissolve in cold water. It needs to be boiled in water for a long time, stirring frequently, to get it to dissolve.
It becomes transparent at first, then gelatinous.
Use about 1 tablespoon of Sago Starch per 2 cups / 1 pint / 500 ml of water.
Pronounced “Say – go”.