coconut-tapioca-pudding-with-mango Recipes

coconut tapioca pudding with mango

Look, I know it’s prime resolution time. I realize that outside the 10 percent of you who have understandably succumbed to the explicit demands of the polar vortex with salted caramel brownies, the remaining 90 percent of you out there are swearing off carbs, gluten, fat, sugar, things that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food or things that even had a mother, while sweating off the holiday’s demons on stationary bikes. (Although I’m sure no matter how bad you may think things got over the holidays, surely none of your children announced at preschool’s circle time that his mommy was going to have a baby, which was news to you? Which led to you having to make an awkward joke about too many cookies in December? Nope, surely none of your angels would do a thing like that. Not unless they wanted to go to boarding preschool next year, right?)

what you'll want
chilled coconut milk, inverted, milk poured off

Ahem, so I realize that for most people, dessert is not an option in January, but I’m just not among them. I think that measured quantities of not excessively decadent desserts are exactly the key to resolution sanity and that there are few better vehicles of moderation-friendly desserts than pudding which is why in previous winters we’ve tackled everything from Chocolate Pudding (recently updated, even easier now), Vanilla Bean Pudding, Caramel Pudding, Almond-Vanilla Rice Pudding and Arroz Con Leche. This year will be no different, except for the fact that this is the year that I come out as a tapioca pudding junkie, no matter how weirdly old-fashioned that makes me. (… She types while dreaming of being huddled under an afghan in a granny cardigan with tissues stuffed in her sleeve.)

small pearl tapioca like styrofoam beads

a sunken egg yolk
glurp glurp glurp on the stove

I don’t know why tapioca doesn’t get more love in the pudding world, as it’s absolutely gorgeous, clear beads of an every-so-slightly chewy starch that’s basically the caviar of the plant kingdom and deserves an equal amount of adulation. In a pudding, these pearls are stirred into a custard of your choosing; milk laced with cinnamon or vanilla are typical common, but I figured that if I going to make tapioca pudding, something that my husband doesn’t much care for (because he is wrong), I might as well include all of the ingredients that fascinate him the least (vanilla beans, coconut) so I could be reunited with all of my lost food loves at once. Something this rich and luxurious benefits from contrast, and for that, I used some mango pureed with lime juice, and then, because I couldn’t help myself I make some whipped coconut cream as garnish, though I think a grating or two of lime zest or a scattering of toasted coconut chips would work just as well.

a riper mango would have been better
mango puree
whipping chilled coconut cream, omg
coconut tapioca, batch one

As is often the case in January, this includes a bit of longing for warmer places, places with palm trees, citrus and tropical fruit; places where one might not wail “nooooooooo!” when they realize they bought rotten mangoes and this means they need to risk hypothermia to return to the store; places where one might find the concept of Gore-Tex and ski socks a bit absurd for a grocery run. Nevertheless, should such unimaginable places be as far from your reality as they are from mine, this dessert, 1/2-cup suggestions of islands of eternal summer, might be just the dessert for you too.

coconut tapioca + mango + coconut cream
mine all mine

NEW: Smitten Kitchen Facebook Chat! This year, I’d love to try something new, regularly scheduled open-invitation Ask Me Anything-style Q&A sessions that I’m hoping will both help me ease up inbox strain (i.e. I could answer your a immediately, rather than letting it fall into an eternal inbox queue) and give us some off-site time to chat as fluidly as possible. The first of these will be next Wednesday, January 15th from 12 to 1 p.m. EST on the Smitten Kitchen Facebook Wall (a top post will announce it; leave your questions in the comments) and I hope you can join in. Whee!

One year ago: Ethereally Smooth Hummus
Two years ago: Apple Sharlotka
Three years ago: Vanilla Bean Pudding
Four years ago: Caramel Pudding
Five years ago: Fig and Walnut Biscotti
Six years ago: Goulash
Seven years ago: Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango

This recipe calls for small pearl tapioca, which is different in starch granule size from instant (more fine; requires no pre-soaking), large pearl (larger, of course; needs to soak overnight in the fridge) or those giant tapioca pearls used for bubble tea. It’s my favorite for pudding because it shows off the tapioca’s caviar-like charm without taking forever to cook. This pudding is moderately sweet, but if you, like me, like things even more lightly sweetened, you can drop the sugar amount to 1/4 cup. You can replace any or all parts of the full-fat coconut milk with lite coconut milk or regular milk; I used all coconut milk for my first batch and 1 3/4 cups (1 can) coconut milk + 3/4 cup whole milk for the second. The mango puree won’t be terribly smooth unless you start with frozen mango chunks, have very ripe mangoes, or a professional-quality blender, but we found it no less of a charming topping even if not completely velvety. Mango curd would be another option here, albeit a much more rich one. If you’d like to make whipped coconut cream to top this, you’ll need to start with full-fat coconut milk and set it in the fridge overnight so that the coconut fat solidifies in the can before whipping it. [Edited to add:] This pudding will set on the firm side, closer to Jell-O; to make a softer pudding, increase the coconut milk to 2 3/4 cups, or, as is often called for in many old-fashioned recipes, beat the egg white you separated off the yolk separately with a spoonful of sugar you’d otherwise add right to the pudding, until glossy peaks form. After the pudding has cooked for 15 minutes, spoon some into the egg white and fold them together, then fold this egg white-pudding mixture back into the pot. Cook it with the egg white for 2 more minutes over medium-low heat, stirring, before dividing it between pudding cups. Pudding can also be served from one large bowl.

Makes 6 just shy of 1/2 cup each pudding cups, plus toppings

Pudding
1/3 cup small pearl tapioca (I used this)
2 1/2 cups coconut milk (light or full-fat; a 13.5-ounce can will contain 1 3/4 cups)
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt or a heaped 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from a 1-inch segment of vanilla bean

Mango puree
1 very ripe mango, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional; I used it but would skip it next time)
A squeeze or two of fresh lime juice

Optional garnishes
Whipped coconut cream
1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
Few gratings of lime zest

Make pudding: In a medium saucepan, soak tapioca in coconut milk for 30 minutes. Whisk in egg yolk, sugar, salt and vanilla bean seeds, if using (if using extract, you’ll add it in a bit). Place saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer, then reduce it to very low heat so it’s barely bubbling, and cook it until it thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract, if using. [Pudding will be the consistency of thick gravy — i.e. worrisomely thin — going into the cups but after chilling in the fridge, it will set.] Pour into pudding cups to chill for several hours or overnight.

Make mango puree: Place mango chunks in food processor with sugar (if using) and lime juice and blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides several times, if needed. Refrigerate puree until needed.

Serve with mango puree on top, plus whipped coconut cream, toasted coconut flakes or a few gratings of lime zest.

To make whipped coconut cream: This a bit of advance planning. Place 1 can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight; in most brands, this will cause the coconut fats and thin milk/watery part to separate. Place a small/medium mixing bowl in the freezer, ideally metal. The next day, turn it upside-down before opening it, so that the thickened coconut fat will be at the bottom. Pour off the thin coconut milk; you should have about 1 cup and this can be used towards the 2 1/2 cups needed for your pudding. About 2/3 cup thickened coconut fat will remain at the bottom of the can; scrape this into your chilled bowl, add about 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (for a light sweetness; use more to taste) and beat it with an electric mixer until thick and whipped cream-like. Dollop it over desserts such as this, though you’ll have more than you need for 6 puddings.

To toast coconut chips: Heat an oven to 350 degrees F. Spread coconut flakes on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes, tossing once if needed to help them brown evenly. Let cool before using.

How to use a vanilla bean: Cut off desired amount of bean. With a sharp paring knife, split the segment lengthwise. Use the back of the knife to scrape the seeds out of the open pod; they’ll be on both sides and look a bit like sticky tar. Use these in your pudding. Go ahead and throw the pods in, too, for extra flavor, just remember to fish them out before chilling the pudding.

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203 comments on coconut tapioca pudding with mango

  1. My 5 yo frequently talks to the baby in my tummy, even though said baby is 9 months old now.

    Tapioca pudding is one of those polarizing things like black licorice and running and I’m in the love category. All three of those actually. I must be some sort of statistical anomaly.

  2. I LOVE tapioca pudding. My mom would make a double batch of it when I was a kid, and the rest of the family knew they would only get one bowl of it the night it was served because I would devour the rest of the leftovers myself (usually sometime that same evening).

    I haven’t made it myself as an adult, but this version looks so amazing, I might have to change that!

  3. I have never made coconut cream before, but that sounds delicious! You mentioned ‘most brands’ of full-fat will work for this, but do you have a brand or two that you know work? Also, can the leftovers (of the cream) be kept for a bit in the fridge? I’m thinking it would be great to top some warm drinks with. I can’t wait to make this this weekend.

  4. What a beautiful, brilliant idea to pair this with mango.

    I know the egg yolk adds richness etc etc, but do you think the pudding would set up without it?

    1. Nicole — I actually wanted to test that as my mother never made puddings with eggs, but she also used Minute Tapioca (I suspect the recipe on the box with some tweaks). The yolks also adds thickening/binding, so I believe that without the yolk, you’d need less milk. The standard back-of-the-bag small pearl tapioca pudding recipe from Bob’s uses 2 egg yolks [a9o-ll <– Jacob did that] and 3 cups of liquid. With 1 yolk, I needed only 2 1/2. Theoretically, you could try to skip the yolk and drop the liquid back to to 2 cups, but keep some on hand in case you end up needing it. Again, I'm just free-thinking about this and how I'd approach it; I didn't test it without a yolk.

      Jillian — I used the Native Forest brand you see here, which separates well. I'd read somewhere that the Thai Kitchen brand of coconut milk doesn't separate well anymore, but I didn't confirm this in the kitchen. Then again, I'd probably trust Rose (actual commenter above) over "something I read on the internet," and Rose says Thai Kitchen works just fine. :)

  5. Oh my. So many things I love on one page.
    1. Smitten Kitchen
    2. tapioca (I like to call it “happioca”)
    3. mango
    4. vanilla bean
    5. coconut

    What is up with your husband??? Oh well- all the more for you and your baby with the forked tongue!

  6. mmmm mango and coconut! especially the coconut whipped cream, I think I crushed a whole can of solids the first time I made it with a pound of strawberries!

    This reminded me of one of my favorite desserts that I want to pull back out again (mango curd layered with coconut whipped cream), thanks for sharing!

  7. *Hi-fives Jen* – Black licorice, running and coconut… Outliers are awesome! :D

    Jillian – I know that the Thai Kitchen brand full-fat coconut milk will definitely work. If I can find it in rural South Carolina, you should be able to find it anywhere! I’ve used both the regular and organic versions.

  8. This pudding looks absolutely DREAMY. The bakery I work at used to make coconut tapioca pudding but they have discontinued it. This looks like the perfect fix for that problem. Thank you for encouraging the pudding addiction!

  9. Oh my goodness, this looks good. Alas, my husband is of the opinion that coconut and tapioca are both awful, so more for me! :) I haven’t made tapioca pudding in years because I didn’t want to eat it all by myself, but I might just have to try this.

  10. If anyone out there is anything like me, ie: a terrible planner, the can of coconut milk for the whipped coconut cream can be placed in the freezer for just 30 minutes instead of overnight in the fridge. Yay for faster whipped topping!

  11. Hurray for another gluten free recipe! Especially for those of us with celiac disease, when eating 100% gluten free is not a passing fad but a serious, lifelong health requirement.

  12. Ooohhh you posted this at the exact right time! After a week of sub-zero temps just reading this was a mini vacation! Coconut, Mango, Lime *swoon*…I’ll have to give this a try!

  13. Oh god I LOVE coconut tapioca pudding, as well as ripe mango with sweet rice. Perfect combo dish!

    ps. Tapioca isn’t old-fashioned in asian cultures :)

  14. Tapioca pudding is a fave around here. I like it warm, with plenty of freshly ground nutmeg. The coconut milk sounds absolutely divine! I shall give it a try. mmmm

  15. I cannot wait to try this. They sell just plain coconut cream here in Kenya. I made the mistake once of thinking it was the same as cream of coconut (it’s most definitely not) and never really knew what to do with it. Now I know! Here’s hoping that I can find tapioca. :)

  16. Isn’t it weird how we Americans just “discovered” coconut milk in the past two decades? Before that, coconut was just the shavings. How did it take us so long to get on the bus with such a cheap, versatile and shelf-stable product?

  17. This recipe looks lovely, except that I fall the tapioca hater camp. I have tried it several times, but I just can’t handle the texture. So, can this be made without the tapioca? Or is there a substitute one could use, like rice?

  18. I had heard that you could whip coconut milk, and was dismayed when mine stayed flat and boring and peak-less. Thanks for the tip about leaving it in the fridge overnight- I’ll try that next time!

  19. I went into preschool and told the class that my mom had a baby over the weekend, but we didn’t like it, so we flushed it down the toilet. True story. Active imagination, I suppose…which led to many any awkward moment for my poor mother.

  20. “the caviar of the plant kingdom” — I love that analogy! You know, I’ve never made tapioca pudding. I make rice pudding with coconut milk and love the taste and texture and know that I’d love this. It is so perfectly tropical & wonderful looking. The mango puree, mmmm, delish! pinned

  21. When I was a waitress and I mentioned that we offered tapioca pudding as one of our dessert options, an older, gruffer male customer squinted one eye and asked, “Tapioca. Frog-eye or B.B. shot?” I didn’t know how to answer him then, and still don’t! How much lovelier “pearl” tapioca sounds. I shall make this for my husband for our annual Living Room Luau this month…and it sounds so delish that I might have to switch my allegiance (temporarily) from rice pudding to tapioca. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. I get this exact pudding at a deli here in SF and always wanted to make it. Those of you who don’t like tapioca should try a homemade version at least once, and enjoy it warm. It could be a game-changer. The recipe on the back of the Bob’s Red Mill bag is my go-to.

  23. This looks so delicious! I love the addition of the mango, never thought about that with tapioca. Also, your son is hilarious! Reminded me of the time my little cousin spilled the beans about her mom being pregnant when her parents hadn’t planned on telling anyone for a good while. Kids say the darnest things!

  24. My mother always likes to remind me about the time I told my kindergarten class that my mother’s was having her “universe” removed. She stopped telling me things after that…

    I’ve been craving rice pudding lately, but this looked fantastic. May have to shift plans to try this out!

  25. This looks sooo good. I’m definitely putting this on my list. I have one, maybe obvious and slightly stupid, question. I have a small fridge and I don’t own any pretty pudding cups, would it be acceptable to put the pudding in a larger container (i.e. tupperware) and store it in the fridge that way?

  26. I love pudding and should make it more. thanks for the inspiration. I appreciate your “measured quantities of not excessively decadent desserts” philosophy; especially this time of year when everyone jumps on the fitness/diet resolution bandwagon.

  27. Coconut and tapioca seem like they would be a delicious match! I wonder what it would be like to add pineapple and rum to make this a piña colada pudding…

  28. Sounds delicious…can’t wait to try it. I recently made a similar coconut tapioca pudding from the book Bakeless Sweets (by Faith Durand of TheKitchn) and it used bananas in it…which was yummy but the banana flavour was very Ripe Banana and not everyone in my house took to it. I think your flavours will be delicious!

  29. I normally make asian sago with mango for my father. We have slightly bigger pearl of tapioca than this one but I am sure it would work well both ways. I know from experience alot of people do not like the look of these pearls because it reminds them of frogs eggs or eyes… Funny they say that but say chia pudding is delicious…

    Stunning recipe deb and I can not wait to try it. Would this recipe work with frozen mango too? I have bunch in the freezer from over tree and I would like to make a dent in it.

  30. Tapioca is the king of puddings. I love it! My mother in law makes it special for me. I know it’s not hard to make but hers just tastes best and it’s such a treat. Yours looks fabulous but then of course I’d have to break down and make it for myself. Oh, the dilema.

  31. You’re psychic because I’ve been eyeballing/lusting for a coconut tapioca recipe from one of Bobby Flay’s cookbooks for a solid month now. I even bought the small pearl tapioca and just keep delaying as my husband won’t eat a single bite. Woe to them, cheers to us!

  32. This looks incredible! And I’m with you when it comes to “yes – dessert in January” and something like this is the very thing. (And that story about your preschooler is just priceless and gave me a very good laugh…sorry! :)
    Being Asian, I adore tapioca but usually in warm “dessert soups”. I did try a coconut tapioca recipe ones but the fact that it called for agave – and I used it – didn’t quite work out for me. You’re inspiring me to give it another go because the mango topping looks and sounds divine. I’m pinning!

  33. Any ideas for those of us not fabulous enough to own pudding cups or a tip on which fabulous ones might be worth procuring?

    1. Emily — I actually use small glasses probably intended for juice. My favorites for pudding (that are also cute glasses and almost impossible to break) are Duralex Gigone. You see photos of fancier glasses (crystal cocktail glasses) in most of the photos because I made a second batch of the pudding to retest, thus all of my Duralex glasses were in use! Anyway, when buying kitchen stuff, I always look for old brands that have been making the same things for decades so there’s a good chance if I break one in 10 years, I can still replace it, and for things that are plain enough that they can be used for many things, such as glasses that can be fruit or pudding cups. I even put chocolate pudding in champagne flutes last month for a dinner party and it made something totally humble look … ready for a party.

  34. I always look at the “One Year Ago” etc., recipes as I scan down to the recipe ingredients du jour. If any of you people failed to make the Ethereally Smooth Hummus or more notably the Apple Sharlotka put those two on your list immediately- FABULOUS- stunning, easy and delicious.Truly not to be missed! You will thank me for reminding you, and Deb, (as always) for sharing them!

  35. I love love love tapioca pudding! My mom always made it when I was young. And I love coconut so it is a double win. I am definitely making this recipe soon.

  36. This reminds me a lot of the dessert/snack we ate constantly in Thailand – mango with sticky rice. Sticky rice cooked with coconut milk and topped with mango slices. Can’t wait to try this!

  37. Hooray! My husband has a slew of food allergies (wheat, dairy, and nuts to name a few) and I’m always happy to see a dessert recipe that requires zero substitutions for us.

  38. Coconut cream can also be bought already separated in its own full-strength can, I’ve bought it at Trader Joe’s but I’m sure Whole Foods and the like probably also carry it.

  39. As I was reading this, the song line “put the lime in the coconut” started playing in my head. It will not be silenced until I make this pudding!

  40. I’ve been making it chocolate tapioca pudding (using part coconut milk) and serving it underneath fresh pomegranate, its a great contrast of flavour and colour. The mango and lime twist I might leave until summer.

  41. Yum! I make a similar baked pudding with sago pearls, coconut cream, cream & vanilla with a little brown sugar. So good, and the addition of mango/ lime puree & whipped coconut cream is genius!

  42. Thank you! I live in one of those aforementioned places where the idea of putting on fancy socks to go outside is a foreign concept and where there are currently mango sellers along all the highways. I know what I’m cooking this weekend.

    (but seriously thank you, I’m use to a lot of SK stuff being out of season for me and needing to wait 6 months to cook stuff so it is really nice to be able to make something this weekend (and plums are back in season to, I can start catching up on my backlog of plum dishes))

  43. Mmmmm, sounds delicious! Do you have to use canned coconut milk, or would the sold-in-quarts, thinner variety be ok? Would it compromise the thickness?
    Compromise the thickness?
    Did I just say that?

  44. You cracked me up with the line: ” something that my husband doesn’t much care for (because he is wrong)”

    My husband also doesnt enjoy tapioca and I don’t understand why! It is beautiful.

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe, I will be giving this a go over the weekend!

    -Jess

  45. Whaaaat?! Not only have I had the craving for tapioca for the first time in, like, 15 years (I just kind of forgot it existed & then suddenly remembered & became obsessed), but I have coconut milk, vanilla bean, limes, AND mangos in my kitchen this very moment. This pudding and I are going to rendezvous come Saturday. Thank you!

  46. You’re killing me here! I love tapioca and haven’t had it in ages, but ugh, daughter’s bat mitzvah coming up…must remain strong and lose holiday pounds! Oy!

  47. You have single-handedly enticed me to try tapioca again. My one and only experience was an unfortunate one (Grandma’s house, etc.), but if anyone can change my mind, it’s definitely you.

  48. My Grandmother used to whip the egg whites left over from using the yolks and fold them into the pudding. Made it nice and fluffy instead of gluey, like tapioca pudding can get. I think there are or were even instructions for doing this on the Minute Tapioca box. I know..raw egg scaredies would frown on this practice. Love the mango idea. I’ve only ever tried pineapple.

    1. Susan — Whoops, meant to add that as a footnote! The Bob’s package says you can do it (they want you to beat half the sugar with the egg white(s) but I think you can skip that) and temper it, add a little pudding to it, then folding the pudding-egg white back in and then (this is the part that made me skeptical) stirring it while you cook it for 3 more minutes, which seems could un-fluff most of it.

  49. Thinking of you all in the polar vortex over there, but really grateful for this recipe, it is going to be perfect here in sunny Sydney after a BBQ this weekend!

  50. This sounds absolutely delicious! I was lucky enough to come home to tapioca pudding tonight and that will suffice until we go the extra mile to the tropics. So many times I’ve craved for something warm and creamy and tonight I realized that tapioca pudding is the perfect answer. Such and ideal winter treat!

  51. Oh my. I am definitely with all of you tapioca lovers. It is just the best. And so impossible to find anywhere that makes it…so thank you Deb!!! I do have a question, in the hopes of lowering the fat content just a little (I know, not the point of dessert, but alas….) – have you ever substituted egg whites for yolks in a pudding or custard? Would it work? Obviously it would not be as rich, but it seems like perhaps whisking in 2 egg whites as opposed to one yolk could maybe work…?? Thanks so much!

  52. Deb, I think that the egg whites hold some of the air better when stiffened into a meringue then can hold up some under the goo and the rise with the heat. How does genoise work or those 7 layer cookies; those lighten under heavy batter and heat? However it does it, it probably works to lighten it while cooking in with the pudding. You might audition that just to see how it does it. Surely there will be another occasion when these pearls of comfort get to ward of winter chills. Now you have my curiosity peaked and my taste buds at attention!

  53. I love jumping on to your page. It’s always a happy place of lovely recipes and beautiful photography. Until today. Oh my, tapioca. It’s like suddenly being dropped into a nightmare. I think tapioca is like fruitcake, you either love it or you hate it. I love fruitcake, but hate tapioca. Just looking at it has me shuddering. I shall stay away for a little bit until the nightmare ingredient slips away, then return to be happy once again.

  54. My grandmother used to make tapioca with a layer of cherry jello on top. I know it sounds disgusting, but she always served it to us in a cherry shaped bowl, and it was spectacular to my little girl self.

    This recipe sounds just as wonderful for my now adult palette. Can’t wait to try it.

  55. This looks amazing! I’m not sure if we have tapioca in Germany- I will have to look. I would probably substitute out a rice pudding for the tapioca if I can’t find it (after all, then it becomes even more reminiscent of Thai mango sticky rice, right?). And the whipped coconut milk is a new idea for me – could be a revelation ;-) Thanks!

  56. I saw a similar recipe in one the TastingTable emails and since then I so wanted to try. I’ll definitely follow your version though, it looks waaaay better (sorry TT!) :-)

  57. Deb, I’m a huge fan of your work, and love your cookbook. I just wanted to say thank you for including things like describing the consistency of the ingredients and that it might worry you, etc. Those are the details that I think take your blog to the next level for me. As a home cook, that’s what I need to know. Because when I’m cooking something new, I’m often thinking – is it supposed to look like this or did I make a mistake?
    Funny side note, the first time I made stock and took it out of the fridge the next day, it had turned to gelatin. I thought I did something wrong and threw it all out! Eee!

  58. @Armenie, I think the frog-eye and BB shot referred to the different sizes of tapioca. Aside from the minute tapioca which is just ground up tapioca, there are two sizes of pearl tapioca, small and large. I grew up on minute tapioca, and the first time I made pudding with the large pearls, I kinda got an impression of something akin to frog eyes too. Much too large for my taste. I haven’t tried the small pearls yet, but they would be the BB shot size. Those are funny names for tapioca though!

  59. Bleeuuuurgh!! Sorry everyone, but tapioca plops me straight back into the dining hall at school in the UK 50 years ago, redolent – in taste, texture, appearance and smell – of unloved victuals. It was served regularly with a dollop of strawberry jam. Semolina was another pudding-from-hell. If I could get over the texture, I must say Deb that the mix of flavours would be enough to entice me away from my Zen zone wherein only fresh fruit is acceptable for dessert. Ah, January has a lot to answer for (not to mention Christmas).

    Love your blog. xxx

  60. Wow! That looks amazing. I had an almost identical dish at one of Toronto’s beloved North Thai restaurants, Sukhothai. Amazing dish!!! Thank you for the recipe. I think I will make some tonight.

  61. My husband is crazy for tapiaco pudding, so I’m going to try the recipe this weekend. I usually just pick-up Swiss Miss tapiaco while running through the grocery store, so he’ll be thrilled. Thanks!

  62. Not to make you jealous or anything but… A great way to use up the remnants of two trays of mangos that are currently taking up my freezer space (1 tray = 12 mangos, it’s a glut). Mango season here in Australia, I just need to wait for a cool day so I can cope with cooking the tapioca on the stove. I dream of a goretex-and-socks type climate, we’ve been experiencing heat waves down under.

  63. This reminds me of the coconut tapioca pudding I had at the Peruvian restaurant, La Mar, in San Francisco last week. Although, they used pineapple instead. Tapioca is one of my favorite kinds of pudding. I am glad to see you share this love.

  64. Made this for my elderly mom who loves tapioca pudding but just buys Cozy Shack at the store. So much healthier and more delicious! This is going in the weekly batch of food I make for her-thanks for the great recipe!

  65. I just wanted to let you know, since you mentioned it, that the caramel brownies are practically award winning. My friends, even the ones that swear they don’t like dessert (who are these people? is that because they never get really good dessert??) eagerly await the dessert course at our gatherings to taste what I have baked.

    And these brownies have ruined me. If I want to impress someone, forget my macarons…. they die for these brownies!!

    So thank-you for the recipe, I still make it often. Not sure I can sell this fabulous looking pudding (although i will enjoy it for sure) after they have had “thee” brownies!

  66. As Lee said, Trader Joe’s sells canned coconut cream that doesn’t need chilling to solidify. There is no watery portion. It’s magnificent! I mix it with cocoa powder and stevia to make chocolate mousse so rich I serve it in shot glasses. As for tapioca-haters: it’s the texture, right? Sorry about that; when you know that, you’re wise to avoid it. I’m a pudding girl from way back, so can’t help but think there’ll be more for me! My mom made magnificent puddings: chocolate, tapioca, rice. In my northern Minnesota village, mangos weren’t seen outside of canned fruit cocktail, back in the mid-20th century. As a CA woman, I love love love mango, so this mangolicious tapioca pudding is right up my alley! Thanks Deb!

  67. We just love tapioca pudding here! When I make a batch with the Minit brand, it disappears in record time. I serve it with sliced bananas, maple syrup and a marsschino cherry (or 3). My 16 yr old daughter calls it her baby food!

  68. Tapioca pudding reminds me of family banquets at Chinese restaurants. The tapioca pudding was baked and formed a sweet film on top, which I thought was the best part.

  69. Ever since having coconut tapioca pudding in hawaii 22 yrs ago, I have been trying to recreate this dish. I share your deep and faithful love of these starch globules. This is a recipe I will certainly try.

  70. Someone here, (that would be Maui…sorry!) makes coconut tapioca with passionfruit custard – similar idea to mango, and soooo delicious, needless to say. Try it!

  71. I told my preschool teacher the exact same fib when I was 4. It had nothing to do with her having a tummy and everything todo with me wanting a sibling. My mother still hasn’t let me forget it, nor did she ever give me a little bro or sis!

  72. I just love your blog Deb and enjoy reading the comments (and your answers) after each post. Regarding your new Facebook sessions, does that mean that we should not ask any (as many?) questions anymore in the comments? Or is the Facebook session just a quicker way to receive your answer? Confused. I do admire you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. p.s. I’ve been wanting to tell you that your Miso Sesame dressing is one of the best things I have ever eaten and I am thoroughly addicted – thank you!

  73. Will you archive the facebook chat in such a way that those of us without facebook can still read it and access it after the fact?

  74. Try Elizabeth Falkner’s recipe, which is made with cilantro, Thai basil, Ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal. You can leave out the last three if you can’t find them, and add lemon rind, and the result is spectacular.

  75. @ #48 Lauren — funny, that! I was thinking the VERY same thing when seeing the
    recipes from this date for the last couple of years. The hummus is still on my
    to-do list but not forgotten, and the Apple Scharlotka is right in there with yummy desserts or weekend breakfasts for January. To be served with whipped cream on
    Sunday morning….!
    Question to Deb: I love the flavour combo of the tapioca pudding recipe. Perfect mouth-feel for January. Speaking of mouth-feel, and since it will still be *pudding month* for a few weeks, would you do more recipes a la popsicles? I am thinking especially of a chocolate *mousse* or pudding, made with avocado. Wow, had some with whipped cream at a friends birthday without being told it was avocado until several mouthfuls into it, and was completely fooled! I would love a *Deb* version of that…pretty please???

    1. karen — You might like these fudge popsicles. You could probably puree in some avocado for texture or flavor.

      Hannah — I will try to. I at least think that FB has permalinks to posts now, so that would be something I could bookmark and share.

  76. I love tapioca pudding! And I can’t have milk, so I make it with coconut milk. I can’t wait to try your toppings – sounds divine!!
    #9 Nicole – I’ve successfully made tapioca without the egg yolk for a friend who can’t have eggs and it sets up just fine once cooled. I think I just used the recipe off the bag of Bob’s Red Mill small tapioca, replacing the milk with coconut milk and omitting the eggs. Canned coconut milk gets pretty solid when chilled, even after cooked in a pudding.

  77. 44 degrees C here today, so maybe not pudding weather… but for when it cools down, does anyone know where I can find tapioca in Australia? I loved it when I lived in the States, but have never seen it down under.

  78. This dessert looks really yummy. Unfortunately we don’t get tapioca in South Africa. We have something called sago maybe one day I’ll try to incorporate those flavours in that. Thanks for the inspiration!

  79. I didn’t even understand what you meant about no dessert in January until I had re-read the first sentence. We just made turtle brownies over here, since my n-y resolution is to clean all the random food out of my pantry and freezer. (Pecans and chocolate, double score on the resolution!) Lucky for me, you printed this recipe, though, since we’re having a close friend over tonight who is on a reduced-cal vegan diet for ten days strong so far. Thanks!

  80. I’m making this now and I’ve been cooking for 20 minutes and the tapioca pearls are still opaque in the middle. I assume they need to get fully translucent before chilling? This is my first time with tapioca pudding – smells amazing!

  81. Instead of regular sugar why not coconut sugar? I am going to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing! I will try coconut sugar.

  82. scale that bitch up! Use 2 cans of coconut milk, 1/2 cup tapioca and 1//2 cup sugar. Beat the egg white and fold in at the end. The more the merrier.

  83. Try Kara Natural Coconut Cream,
    To whip, chill & whip.
    One of the best coconut cream products
    available & no need to chill to remove water —
    there is no water, just coconut cream.
    Available in most Asian markets.

  84. Amazing! I am not a fan of pudding but the idea of coconut and mango…yum!! I was not able to get small pearl tapioca so I just used the Instant Minute version. As it was cooking I saw how thick it was right away and went ahead and added the rest of the Coconut milk (so I ended up using two full cans of Goya). I was a little lazy and just served it with chunks of the refrigerated Del Monte Mango. Delicious!!

  85. I make something very similar to this often, without eggs. Doing the whipped egg whites thing at the end does make it fluffier and alleviates some of that “gummy/slippery” texture of tapioca, but I like that texture and the eggs are one extra step. I sometimes stir in chopped dried apricots while cooking – they give a nice tart contrast to the sweet. I’ve used coconut palm sugar and it’s delicious! Changes the colour from white to a bit tannish, so it’s not as “pretty” but it tastes very good :)

  86. Made this for dinner tonight, amazing!!! I used the brand of coconut milk from your photos, worked amazingly! Tons of coconut cream. I did make a kinda big change, I swapped the tapioca instructions for soaking chia seeds in the coconut, kinda January-healthy :) so delicious, I’m going to make this with every fruit ever!! Thank you!!

  87. After an ice storm here something tropical sounded perfect, but I could not find a fresh (never mind ripe) mango. I used a handful of dried mango pureed with mango nectar and the lime juice. Turned out great!

  88. This is very simple idea, i want to give it a try, maybe i will use fresh pearl on bucket usually it gets red or green, i will find it in supermarket easily, but i am not sure about the mango, i thought here in Indonesia, the season went off since first thing on new year. Thanks for the idea.

  89. So! Good! And thank you for telling exactly how long to soak the tapioca pearls. I garnished with dried pineapple and papaya chunks on the pudding which looked great. I’ve put coconut milk on the grocery list so I can make it again.

  90. These were amazing. I made them for a dinner party and everyone loved them!

    The mangoes I bought turned out to be rotten. So I improvised with some kiwi fruit and pineapple. I layered it with the whipped coconut cream and it looked beautiful.

  91. Hi Deb could you just use tinned coconut cream instead of waiting for the coconut milk to separate? Can’t wait to try this as a sago/tapioca fan from childhood… My mum used to make lemon sago for desserts which my husband absolutely loves too…

    1. Karen — If available to you, absolutely. As two cans of coconut milk yield a bit more than you need for this recipe, my thought in suggesting one separate the milk from cream was that people could use two cans in their entirety (rather than just having some extra coconut milk).

  92. Hi Nell re tapioca in Australia – it is called sago often but is the same- you can find it in Coles in the same aisle as the pavlova mix, jelly and other dessert mixes – often past the tinned fruit section, usually on a bottom shelf for some reason…

  93. This is divine. The flavors are subtle, not too sweet, and the consistency of the pudding once chilled is perfect. I didn’t make any of the toppings but the pudding is delicious on its own – especially for breakfast!

  94. Thank you for this: I am in Melbourne, Australia and the weather is ridiculously hot – over40°c — too hot to cook and too hot to eat, but this was perfect, just what we needed!

  95. This is possibly my favourite coconut flavour combination. Maybe slightly behind coconut and lime. P.S Sago pearls in coconut milk is a crazy popular dessert here in Asia — pretty sure it’s essentially the same thing as tapioca pearls!

  96. I made a double recipe of this last weekend when we had friends to dinner, and the consensus was that the pudding was the best part — none of us thought the mango or whipped coconut cream added to the dessert (which surprised me, because I love mango). I think, really, that this speaks to how incredibly good the pudding is, as it doesn’t need to be dressed up. Also, having made a double recipe, we had leftovers – and the pudding was even more delicious on day 2. I made it with about 2/3 full-fat coconut milk and 1/3 whole milk.

  97. Thank you so much for posting a pudding recipe that I and other Lactards can enjoy!
    I didn’t want to waste the remaining coconut milk from my two cans, which turns out to be about 3 1/2c, so I tweaked the rest of the measurements. I used 1/2c of tapioca, 2 yolks, 1/2c of sugar and a slash more vanilla extract. It was creamy and delicious and almost too sweet. To cut the sweetness I added juice from one large lime to one mango ratio. The tartness was a great contrast! Thanks so much again! Love this blog and my family loves all the yummy food from it and your cookbook!

  98. I made this this week and the flavor is amazing. I used full fat coconut milk and strangely the fat (coconut oil) separated out a bit in the fridge and hardened after the chilling. Hmmmm… Will try another batch and see what’s what.

  99. @Karen on the coast – I make a chocolate pudding with avocados, greek yogurt, cocoa powder, honey and lemon juice. I’ve started skipping the yogurt as it’s not easily obtained where I live now.

  100. Hi Deb- just a question of terminology- you say in the note preceding the recipe that the whipped coconut cream can be made with the cream from the bottom of a can of coconut milk. Later, in the instructions for the cream, you say to use a can of coconut cream- which is sweetened and syrupy (at least the Goya kind I got). I put the rest of the liquid toward the tapioca (which is now soaking) but I’m worried that it will be too sweet if I put in the sugar as well- did you use the liquid from coconut cream or milk in yours?
    Thanks!

  101. Just discovered powdered coconut milk which comes in 3 sachets that can make 3 cups of coconut milk or 1.5 cups coconut cream just by varing the amount of water used… It’s Ayam brand made in Malaysia…

  102. Maddie — I’m sorry, I’m so confused, I don’t see anywhere that I suggested the use of canned Cream of Coconut … can you point it to me? I can fix the error if so. And of course, no, don’t use that stuff. It’s very sweet and syrupy. You can get what you need for both the coconut milk and cream in a can of full-fat coconut milk.

  103. OMG I so agree, tapioca puddings are way too under-utilized in the kitchen. Tapioca is so amazing in desserts, but I get it that sometimes it’s a taste you have to “acquire” if you weren’t raised with its chewy, sticky texture.

  104. Hi Deb! Where do you buy small pearl tapioca in NYC? I’ve checked a few stores but haven’t managed to find any yet. Am dying to try out this recipe, so any advice would be so appreciated!

  105. Thank you from the bottom of my heart (and the waistband of my husband’s sweatpants) for this recipe. Sweet fancy Moses. Thank you. I served this for dessert after making pad thai for our house guests. They are now planning to stay forever. They are unaware that my husband is evicting them immediately so that I can reproduce a vat of this pudding for his private and shameful consumption. The only thing I changed was to use only one can of coconut milk and sub regular milk for the remaining 3/4 cup because the canned coconut milk seemed alarmingly thick. I wasn’t planning on doing the whipped coconut cream in the interest of time, so didn’t want to deal with 2nd can. It turned out fine, but I can’t wait to try it again with all coconut milk!

  106. Just made this and can’t wait to eat them!!! Thanks for the very thorough instructions. Pudding is sometimes tricky!

  107. I made this right after the recipe was published and it was amazing. I’ve been asked to make it for a winter luau party, with smaller portions to serve 40. How do you recommend I adjust the recipe? Just multiply ingredients as appropriate and follow the recipe? Or make multiple batches? Is there anything else I need to keep in mind if I work with a much larger quantity? How far ahead could I make the pudding–any longer than one day before? Thank you!

  108. Re: Maddy’s question about cream of coconut vs. milk, i think she is referring to the recipe text:
    “To make whipped coconut cream: This a bit of advance planning. Place 1 can of full-fat coconut cream in the fridge overnight […]”.

    Instead, it should read:
    “To make whipped coconut cream: This a bit of advance planning. Place 1 can of full-fat coconut *MILK* in the fridge overnight.”

  109. We’re sweltering in Australia at the moment and I am just considering making some sago pudding with some backyard mangoes from my sisters. Thanks for the hints about whipping coconut cream. I’ve always wondered how they got the dense coconut cream on my favorite commercial sago puddings.

  110. Deb, this is truly outstanding. Instant tapioca has now been banished from my kitchen, and I’m small pearl all the way. I have been doubling the recipe and using a single can, making up the difference with low-fat milk. Not as good as the full-on coconut, but easier on the calorie load. And last night we finally had a mango worthy of this concoction — it was heaven.

  111. First time commenting, I think. Deb – this is my favorite of all your posts I’ve ever seen. Yes, I KNOW it is just pudding. But for some reason I’ve become obsessed. Could it be because I have a 20-month old daughter who is JUST old enough for me to slip some sweets to, at least those that feel a little more wholesome, and pudding feels deceptively wholesome? I love the whole process. The stirring, the thickening, the tasting, the cooling, the peeling back of the skin, the serving of an ever-so-slightly sweet yet rich and creamy from lots of milk and eggs pudding perfect for her first taste of dessert. I’ve made this recipe six times since you first posted it using a blend of fresh young thai coconut milk and flesh and shared it each time with my daughter for her afternoon snack, to our delight. Heaven.

  112. This was delicious!!! I had my first cup warm. I had my second cup cooled, with mango puree. I will make this over and over for the rest of this long New York winter and beyond.

  113. It looks really yummy!! Thanks for sharing.I have never made tapioca pudding, I make caramel custard pudding.I shall give it a try. I like more lightly sweetened, so I’ll try to drop 1/4 cup sugar, and I also will replace the full-fat coconut milk with regular milk for my fist batch.

  114. Hi Deb, m from Sri Lanka, and a fan of your site. nice collection, simple and colourful dishes. and this dish specially, we have something quite similar to tapioka pearls, called SAGO, made out of palm stem starch. we too cook the pearls in coconut milk and add dried raisins, crushed cashew nuts, jaggery and clove powder. i will definitely try this dish in the coming weekend. I’m sure this will be a hit and my 3 yr old son would love this.

  115. Hi! You mentioned that u made 2 versions, the second with whole milk. How did that turn out compared to just coconut milk? Would that would work with 1% milk? That’s what I usually have in the fridge. Thanks!

  116. Made this a second time, but I ran out of vanilla extract, so I substituted almond extract (1/4 teaspoon) and I think I might even like it more!

  117. Bobbie — They both turned out well; the one with all coconut milk (of course) had a stronger coconut flavor. I think 1 percent would be fine if you use a full-fat coconut milk.

  118. So funny:) I had all the ingredients except the tapioca pearls! What I did have was dried shredded tapioca. Bought at a chinese food market, it looks like candy and comes in a colour mix. Soaked a cup of these overnight and made the tapioca with coconut milk and milk and an egg and a little honey. I’m eating it at this very moment, the shredded tapioca makes it seem like there are gummy strips in it, which I love. Thanks for your lovely recipe.

    Oh note about thai coconut milk it does separate well! Happy tapioca.

  119. I have the same type of small pearl tapioca that’s used in the recipe, but it’s been opened about 6 months ago and in the cupboard. Is it still good? It was sorta rolled closed.

  120. Hi Deb. Thank for the recipe! I have just a few questions… I accidentally switched the granulated for confectioners sugar. Does that make a difference? Also, can you melt tapioca if the heat is too high? I kept turning the heat up because it wasn’t quite simmering, but I think I needed to just wait longer instead of turning up the heat, because the tapioca looks like it has melted… :( My bad for making this in a hurry. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    1. Stephanie — No, tapioca will not melt. Confectioners sugar is, indeed, sugar but there’s also some cornstarch in there so it works a little differently. The pudding might come out a little thicker. What kind of tapioca did you use? Did it set in the end?

  121. I have made this so many times since you posted it a year ago, and it’s great each time. It’s also adaptable. When I don’t have (or want to open) a second can of coconut milk to get to 2 1/2 cups, I substitute in a 1/2 cup almond milk. I’ve also changed up the toppings. In the fall I put a bit of nutmeg in the pudding and topped it with Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter. Delish! Today when I didn’t have fresh or frozen mango, I topped it with cherries pureed with a touch of almond extract. Also, because it leans toward jello, as you said, I like it best when made the day I plan to serve it.

    Altogether a great recipe and one we’ve enjoyed so much in our house!

  122. Can u store the whipped coconut cream for future use and for how long does it keep? Gonna try this recipe for my next conscious eating party :)

  123. Am I the only one who had a problem with the tapiaco not soaking long enough. I followed the directions to the T. Now, I’m back re-reading because my tapiaco box says it has to soak overnight! I cannot get the brand you used in my area. I used small pearl though, non instant. Soaked for about 35 in milk. The flavor is amazing, but unfortunately, I do not think I will get the pearls to be translucent. bummer!

  124. Did anyone else have issues with the texture after setting? The coconut milk fat seperated & left an unpleasant mouthfeel. I’ll try reheating before serving. I’ve never had that happen with a dairy tapioca.

  125. Can anyone tell me the difference in taste when using all coconut milk vs the coconut milk & milk mixture?
    Alternatively, is there anyone that used all coconut milk and would use the mixture next time or vise versa?
    My mom loves tapioca and I want to make this for her Mother’s day brunch, but I don’t have a lot of time for trial and error this weekend.
    Thanks in advance for any input!

  126. Mango is not in season now in Australia and i would like to make this again.. What is another thing i can use to make this? I like it with just coconut but not sure what else i can decorate it with? Would blueberries work?

  127. Rebecca (from comment 199) – I made it with full-fat coconut milk only and it was way too greasy. Also, something happened during the heating and the color became grayish. I am definitely using half normal milk next time.

  128. I live in a tropical”clear beads of an every-so-slightly chewy starch that’s basically the caviar of the plant kingdom and deserves an equal amount of adulation” lol, I loved this post! I live on a tropical place with eternal summer and let me tell you it’s not that dreamy to get 365 straight sunny days haha.
    Those “tapioca pearls” here are called Sagu and they are usually cooked with red wine, sugar and cinnamon sticks and served with a custard – usually vanilla cream.

  129. Oops, my comment got a bit confusing and I forgot a part so here again:

    “clear beads of an every-so-slightly chewy starch that’s basically the caviar of the plant kingdom and deserves an equal amount of adulation” lol, I loved this post! I live on a tropical place with eternal summer and let me tell you it’s not that dreamy to get 365 straight sunny days haha.
    Those “tapioca pearls” here are called Sagu and they are usually cooked with red wine, sugar and cinnamon sticks and served with a custard – usually vanilla cream.
    But they look absolutely delicious in this pudding recipe too specially combined with mango and coconut. Xoxo