Sacoo-Sai-Mou (Tapioca pearls with minced pork stuff)

SACOO-SAI-MOO or Tapioca pearls with minced pork stuff. This is street food in Thailand this savory appetizer differs from the usual sweet preparation of tapioca. Convenient for a cocktail party or family holiday gathering, sakoo sai moo freezes well before cooking.

  • 1 ½ cups (8oz) pearl tapioca
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp. white pepper
  • 3-5 pieces of fresh cilantro 
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil 
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. lean pork 
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce 
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh hot chiles 
  • 3 tbsp. crushed roasted peanuts 
  • tapioca flour (this is critical to the success of this recipe!)
  • 2 tsp. fried garlic (available already prepared or prepare your own)
  • Crushed roasted peanuts
  • Sliced red chillies and fresh cilantro
  • Rinse pearl tapioca in a fine strainer, drain and transfer to a bowl.
  • Dissolve salt in hot water and gradually add to the tapioca, mixing well.
  • Cover and leave for 1 hour.
  • Mince the pork with a sharp cleaver until fine, almost like hamburger.
  • Alternatively you may buy ground pork but it must be lean or else your "Sakoo" will be too oily,
  • In a heavy mortar and pestle or clean coffee grinder grind together the white peppercorns and cilantro root or stems until pulverized completely.
  • Heat the oil in a wok over medium.
  • Cook onion until soft.
  • Stir in palm sugar and pepper-coriander paste.
  • Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl mix together the pork and cooked onion with sugar and pepper paste.
  • Add 3 sauce.
  • Add in the fresh chiles and crushed peanuts.
  • Mix well. (Crush the peanuts in a mortar and pestle or cut up with a sharp cleaver)
  • To shape the balls: Using your fingers roll the pearl tapioca into 1 inch balls with damp hands.
  • Cover with a damp cloth.
  • Wash and dry your hands and dust them with tapioca flour.
  • Press thumb or finger into each ball to form a cup shape.
  • Put in a teaspoon of pork mixture and seal the tapioca over the filling.
  • Mold into balls again and cover with damp cloth until ready to cook. (If all are not required immediately, pack some in a freezer container and freeze, ready to steam when needed.)
  • Place the balls on oiled parchment paper in a steamer or banana leaf, leaving 1/2 inch between each.
  • Steam over fast boiling water until the tapioca is quite clear, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the steamer from the heat and leave for 5 minutes for the balls to dry slightly before transferring to a serving dish.
  • Sprinkle with crushed fried garlic or crushed roasted peanuts and garnish with chilli slices.
  • Serve warm with lettuce, coriander and bird's-eye chillies.
Note: that the filling must be strongly seasoned to stand up to the coating of bland tapioca.



foodbin said…
a good snack food-is it sticky?
I absolutely love this!
Anonymous said…
I love this snack, it's tasty. My was not round it was almost flat, but it was tasty. yum yum :)