Ever since his business trip to Taiwan a year ago, my husband has been obsessed with bubble tea. He craves it like I crave ice cream. It’s the chewy texture of the tapioca pearls that he loves so much. His craving for bubbles led me to a startling realization: I didn’t know the first thing about tapioca. Can you believe I'd never cooked or even eaten tapioca in my entire life? So I picked up a package of small pearl tapioca and one of large pearl tapioca to play with. My trial run with the small pearls, which I based on a loose guess about what proportion of tapioca to liquid to use, was a great success. Even Hubby, who’s definitely NOT a coconut lover, loved the Coconut Tapioca Pudding I made. Let’s just say my experiments with the large pearls continue…
Coconut Tapioca Pudding
1/3 cup small pearl tapioca
1 13 ½-ounce can coconut milk
¼ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Place the tapioca into a small saucepan, add enough water to cover by several inches, and bring to a boil. Drain, rinse with cold water to remove the excess starch, and drain again. Return the tapioca to the saucepan and add the coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tapioca pearls are tender and clear all the way through. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk and lime juice. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate overnight before serving.
Serves 4. Taste often to test for doneness—the tapioca pearls will have no trace of white in the center when they are ready. If you like, add a tiny bit of finely grated lime zest along with the lime juice. The pudding can be served immediately after it’s made, but I like the texture much better once it thickens overnight. Serve topped with fresh tropical fruit.