With only six ingredients, this easy coconut milk tapioca dessert is creamy and rich, with a subtle hint of vanilla. Bananas are fabulous with it and so are many other fruits. I’m lucky to be in Hawaii for a few days and so am celebrating apple bananas! And orchids!
Simple and mildly sweet
This is one of the simplest desserts I know. As you’ve learned if you’ve tried any of my other dessert recipes, I prefer a very mild sweetness. This keeps the dessert from triggering more cravings for sugar. It also lets the flavor of the coconut milk complement your chosen fruit in the pudding. But be careful if you are thinking this is low carb — there is plenty of carbohydrate in the tapioca itself.
The tapioca pearls give an interesting texture and translucent pearl-like appearance and thicken the mixture. If you don’t want it as thick as you see here, or if you are using granulated sugar instead of maple syrup, you can add a little more water.
The perfect dessert for a Thai meal
This dessert is the perfect finish to a Thai meal but often accompanies Vietnamese food as well. Consider making it if you serve my Coconut Milk Green Thai Curry!
This recipe was inspired by the many restaurants and cafes in Hawaii where we’ve eaten tapioca cooked with coconut milk. Sometimes it’s with mango, sometimes with banana, as here, and sometimes plain. I’ve used the large pearl tapioca because that’s what we find locally, but small pearl would do if that’s what is available to you.
Choosing your fruit
Apple bananas are slightly tart and firm when ripe, compared to those available in most Mainland markets. If you have an Asian market nearby ask if they have anything like it. The Central American bananas might be too bland but you could try using them slightly under-ripe. Other slightly tart fruits would be delicious: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mango or papaya.
This pudding would be nearly as tasty and refreshing without fruit at all! Best of all, it can be served slightly warm if you are in a hurry, or chilled if you make it far enough ahead.
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Other fruit desserts on A Meal In Mind
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Easy Coconut Milk Tapioca Dessert
- Combine water and large-pearl tapioca in a 2-quart saucepan and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. Tapioca pearls will partly fall apart.
- Stir in coconut milk and salt. Bring to a simmer and heat for about 10 minutes or until the liquid is thickened and the tapioca pearls are translucent.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Stir in the sweetener and the vanilla and mix well.
- At this point you need to decide if you want to serve fruit on the side or mixed in. If you want to mix it in, fold it in gently now.
- Spoon into serving-size dishes.
- Serve warm or cold. Garnish with additional fruit if desired.