Steamed Tapioca Balls filled with Pork Recipe (Sakoo Sai Moo)

You'll often find Sakoo Sai Moo at street food stalls in Thailand. This popular 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.

Sakoo Sai Moo is a dumpling is a walnut-sized ball of slightly chewy translucent steamed tapioca filled with seasoned ground pork. It is served with leafy green lettuce, cilantro and fiery prik kee noo, fresh Thai chili peppers, giving a bright flavor blast to the savory filling. Sakoo Sai Moo


  • 1 1/2 cups (8oz) pearl tapioca
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the Filling


  • 2 tsp. fried garlic (available already prepared or prepare your own)
  • Crushed roasted peanuts
  • Sliced red chillies
  • Fresh cilantro


  1. 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.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the filling: Mince the pork with a sharp cleaver until fine, almost like hamburger mince. Alternatively you may buy ground pork but it must be lean or else your Sakoo will be too oily.
  3. In a heavy mortar and pestle or clean coffee grinder grind together the white peppercorns and cilantro root or stems until pulverized completely.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok over medium.
  5. Cook onion until soft.
  6. Stir in palm sugar and pepper-coriander paste.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. In a small bowl mix together the pork and cooked onion with sugar and pepper paste.
  9. Add 3 Tblsp. fish sauce.
  10. Add in the fresh chilies and crushed peanuts. Mix well. (Crush the peanuts in a mortar and pestle or cut up with a sharp cleaver)
  11. Note that the filling must be strongly seasoned to stand up to the coating of bland tapioca.

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 or banana leaf in a stacked steamer, 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 chili slices.

Makes 50-60 pieces. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe © Temple of Thai, Image © swingvoodoo / 123RF Stock Photo

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