4.30.2011

Tapioca temptation


Tapioca needs a new image.  Considered to be one of those old-fashioned, plain and boring items, tapioca is one of those desserts that all too often appears in hospital food. But these wonderful, chewy pearls are so much more exciting thank you think.  They have serious potential.
A number of cultures use tapioca – a starch that comes from the cassava root – in their cooking and baking. Growing up in my Indian home, we used tapioca to make payasam.  A milk (cow’s or coconut) based dessert, sweetened with sugar or jaggery (a dark sugar byproduct that tastes like molasses) and spiced with saffron and cardamom, payasam is an Indian dessert staple. There are a number of different versions of payasam, depending on which ingredients you select from a long list that includes rice, lentils, semolina, raisins, and almonds.
For my tapioca image overhaul, I decided to use one of my favourite flavours: coconut. I cooked the tapioca in water and separately made a liquid mix of coconut milk and coconut sugar, vanilla and a pinch of cardamom. I served this rich, coconut infused pudding with raspberries and flaked almonds  - simple and delicious!

coconut tapioca with vanilla and raspberries
serves 4

1/2 cup tapioca pearls
4 cups water
1 1/2  cups coconut milk
2 tbsp coconut sugar (or alternative sweetner)
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch cardamom

Bring a pot with water to boil, add in tapioca pearls and cook while stirring – about 10-12 minutes until almost transparent.  Strain and keep aside.  In another pot, add coconut milk, coconut sugar, vanilla and cardamom and mix well on medium heat.  Add cooked tapioca and cook a few more minutes (adjust for taste and thickness).  Take off heat and keep aside to cool down.  I like to refrigerate my tapioca for a few hours to let the flavours infuse and to ensure the pearls increase in volume, which adds to the creaminess of the dish. 
If using raspberries, add a bit of sugar and mix to form a delicious sweet liquid and add to tapioca and finish with almonds. Enjoy!

13 comments:

  1. First time here......Loved ur wonderful clicks....
    Tapioca dessert with coconut is a wonderful combination...Happy to follow u



    http://www.panchamrutham.blogspot.com/

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  2. Heavenly dessert and beautiful photos!

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  3. You do make tapioca look positively high brow with this dish. I would have never thought it could look so good. I love the addition of the coconut and the raspberries make such a gorgeous, stark contrast. Beautiful.

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  4. I don't think I have ever seen tapioca look so good. Saffron. Yum.

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  5. Looks so incredibly good! What a lovely little blog you have here. Your photos are just beautiful as of course are your dishes.

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  6. Most definitely delicious as well as plain out beautiful!

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  7. You can make anything look beautiful. I actually hate tapioca, I think we had hideous version for school dinners. You make me want to try it again. You should work for the Tapioca Marketing Board !:D

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  8. Such beautiful photos! And what a great dish- a while ago I did something a bit similar, but with lychees, almonds and lime. Was lovely too. But next time, I'm trying this!

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  9. I love tapioca and when done well, it's delightful. Yours looks extra delightful!

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  10. Thanks for the wonderfully kind words friends! Always appreciated...

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  11. Simply stunning photos!!! New follower :) thanks for the inspiration using tapioca pearls! Looks so delicious.

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  12. Oh this does look good and so very pretty!! A wonderful simple combination, I need to reintroduce tapioca to my pantry!! yum!!

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