Norwegian cooking: Pearl Porridge

Growing up, I always loved going to my grandmother’s to eat. Not just the Sunday steak, where dinner was followed by dessert, which in turn was followed by coffee and cakes, but also for some of the more everyday meals. One of those meals was sago porridge, or pearl porridge as we used to call it.

According to Wikipedia, an ever reliable source, I know, the sago is “a starch extracted from the pith of sago palm stems, Metroxylon sagu.” It is a small, round grain, looking like a pearl, that apparently can be substituted for tapioca pearls.

This weekend, my sister and I decided to see if the porridge was as tasty as what we could remember from what we were younger, or if we just were idolizing the memories.

To be absolute faithful to my grandmother’s recipe, we borrowed her recipe book. We did this partly to stay true to the recipe, partly because we were having trouble finding it in any of our own cookbooks, and finally, because all the recipes that we hit with Google… well, they had some odd additional ingredients. By going with the older recipe, we ended with less odd ingredients, and more pure in taste.

Grandmother’s cookbook is from the latter half of the 1930s, and the title translated to English means Economical cookbook.

Here is the recipe.

Pearl Porridge from Økonomisk Kokebok by Laura Wathne, Alexandra Olsen & Marie Steensland.
(It will serve about 6-8 people, as it is a hefty recipe.)

2 litre or 4.2 pints milk. (Whole milk is preferable, but half of ours was low-fat, because we didn’t have enough.)

2 ½ dl/1 cup sago grains.

1 tablespoon butter (Butter substitute, such as margarine can be used, but the real thing might give a better taste.)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1) Pour the milk in a pot on the stove, and bring it to the boiling point.

Bringing milk to the heating point.

2) Then, you add the sago grains, and stir gently to avoid the concoction sticking to the pan.

3) Do this for 20 minutes, or until the milk and sago grain mixture reaches a thick consistency.
Almost porridge consistency
4) Then add the butter, the sugar and the salt, and stir for a few minutes more before serving.
Porridge in the serving bowl

Serve with butter/margarine, sugar and cinnamon.
Sago porridge

We found that it had just the same taste as we remembered, and since we were only three eating, we had plenty for dinner the next day.

By Anne

Anne is a librarian by day. By night, she reads. She knits. She watches movies and television shows. She enjoys board games. And posting on royal related forums.


  1. Yummy! So, sort of like risengrød, only Norwegian? I may have to try this one myself – it’s always a treat to find another way to burn out all the pots in the house…. 😀

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