: a dry granulated or powdered starch prepared from the pith of a sago palm and used in foods and as textile stiffening
Food starch prepared from carbohydrate material stored in the trunks of several palms, chiefly Metroxylon rumphii and M. sagu, sago palms native to Indonesia. Composed of 88% carbohydrate, sago is a basic food of the South Pacific, where it is used in meal form to prepare soups, cakes, and puddings. Elsewhere its use in cookery is mainly as a pudding and sauce thickener. In industry it is used as a textile stiffener. The thick trunk grows to 30 ft (9 m) tall in low marshy areas. At 15 years the core of the mature trunk is engorged with starchy material. If allowed to form and ripen, the fruit absorbs the starch, leaving the stem hollow and dying. Cultivated plants thus are cut down when the flower spike appears, and the starchy pith is extracted from the stems.