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Cinnamon Sago Springrolls – Gluten Free Energy

In an attempt to devise a gluten free, close to natural, training snack I dreamed up this pearler (pun intended).  I wanted an easily digestible carbohydrate with little fiber, protein or fat that could be carried with me during exercise, trail running in my case. I have played around with a cocoa & sweet potato bar which was pretty good but too dense and I have tried jam or hummus filled mini pita breads but the wheat/gluten/yeast/fiber does not agree with me. So in my mind I devised something that started out as a rice containing wrapper (a fish-less sushi roll sort of thing). Factors such as the contents of my kitchen cupboard and the availability of produce from the nearest supermarket conspired against that idea and in turn this sago springroll was born. The outcome, as well as the tasting along the way, was a decent one if I do say so myself.

Sago Springrolls

Three sago springrolls, or spring-rectangles to be accurate, accompanied me on the Silvermine XL trail run recently. They held together well in their little plastic container over the 4+ hours and went down like a home-sick mole in the latter part of the race. Prep was pretty easy although a little time consuming as you need to first cook and set the pudding before wrapping it snug as a a rug.

Ingredients (for about 20 rolls)

100 ml dry sago (tapioca pearls)
800 ml milk
4 large eggs
75-100 ml sugar
2 ml salt
10 ml vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon
20 rice wrappers


  1. Soak the sago in 200 ml milk for 60 minutes
  2. Preheat the oven to 150ºC and grease a large square or rectangular baking dish
  3. Bring the remaining 600 ml milk to the boil and add the sago/milk mix to it, turn down the heat and stir continuously to prevent burning and sticking
  4. Let cook for 5 minutes
  5. Whisk the eggs and sugar with a beater until light and fluffy
  6. Add the salt, vanilla and cinnamon
  7. Stir the sago mix into the egg and pour into your greased baking dish
  8. Put your baking dish into a larger pan and fill this with water to below the rim of your baking dish
  9. Pop into the oven and cook for 45 minutes until the mixture is well set
  10. Remove and let cool before slicing the pudding into squares roughly 2 cm x 4 cm (or whatever size you want to wrap)
  11. Follow the instructions for preparing your rice paper, this usually involves soaking in water for a few minutes, drying and then wrapping your filling
  12. Stick your final product in a container and in the fridge, ready to go. They should last a couple days.

Nutritional info per sago springroll

Energy 93 kcal
Carbohydrate 16 g
Fat 2 g
Protein 3.1 g
Fiber 0 g

My 3 sago springrolls gave me almost 50 g of carbohydrate which worked in quite nicely with the 45-50 g per hour goal that I had during the race. The little bit of protein can be valuable for use in 3+ hour sessions or multi-stage events too. Thanks to the protein and carbohydrate content you can also use these delicious snacks as part of your recovery meal.  So if you are looking for something new in the DIY “energy bar” department give these a go. The cooked pudding, by the way, is super when it comes out of the oven, nice and hot, drizzled with a little honey. Go on, you know you want to!

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