Easy Tapioca Pearls Coconut Milk Dessert- Soft and chewy tapioca pearls are served in creamy and sweet coconut milk is a simple yet delicious dessert and learn how to cook tapioca pearls correctly.
Tapioca pearls are one of those things that you can be assured many Asians enjoy to eat (including myself). I remember the days back when I was still in college, the bubble tea pearls or 珍珠奶茶 that was originated from Taiwan (I believe!) was crazy popular. It seemed like everyone had bubble tea whenever I went. It seems like the bubble tea fever is back again lately. Or has the bubble tea fever ever gone down at all? Anyway, I never really into bubble tea, but I do love tapioca pearls coconut milk dessert 🙂 Anything in coconut milk really!
WHAT ARE TAPIOCA PEARLS?
Tapioca pearls are also known as boba pearls. They are basically made of tapioca starch that is extracted from cassava roots. They come in different sizes and different colors, from tiny pearls to the large pearls (like shown in the photo below). They are usually available in dried form in Asian grocery store. When they are cooked, they will gel and turn translucent.
DO TAPIOCA PEARLS HAVE ANY TASTE?
They actually have no taste on their own. They are most commonly seen used in bubble tea, but also widely used in many desserts in Southeast Asia.
HOW DO I KNOW THE TAPIOCA PEARLS ARE DONE COOKING?
Small pearls will cook faster than the large pearls, like the one I used in this recipe. You will commonly hear that
when the middle whitish part disappears and they turn completely translucent, they are done. Well, that’s not entirely correct! Why? because I’ve experimented on that and they actually do not turn completely translucent. There will still be some white part in the middle of the pearls no matter how long you cook them, but the pearls are actually soft and chewy and not hard anymore. So, IMO, that’s not a good indication that the pearls are done. Taste it and you will know when it’s done! If it is soft in the center doesn’t taste starchy then it’s done. If it’s still starchy, cook a bit longer.
DO I NEED TO SOAK THE TAPIOCA PEARLS BEFORE COOKING?
I’m glad you ask! because I’ve seen many videos that do that and so I tried. Mine turn into mush when I soak these large pearls! The starch literally dissolves in the soaking water! Someone please enlighten me here why would one soak tapioca pearls!!!!
So, I did not soak the tapioca pearls before cooking. I don’t feel like it’s necessary anyway.
TIPS ON HOW TO EASILY PREPARE TAPIOCA PEARLS SUCCESSFULLY
1. Bring water to boil
Bring water to a rolling boil
2. Add tapioca pearls
Add tapioca pearls in the boiling water and then lower the heat to medium and let the large pearls cook for the next 1 hour
3. Drain cooking water
Once you drain off the cooking water, refresh with clean water to stop the cooking process
HOW TO STORE COOKED TAPIOCA PEARLS
I don’t recommend cooking tapioca pearls in a big batch. Cooked tapioca pearls are best used on the same day, but if you have extra, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days max. The longer you store them, the harder they become. Here’s how to store them:
1. The cooked tapioca pearls tend to clump together, that’s normal. Transfer them to a container and pour in some room temperature water you can use a spoon to separate the clump. Cover and store in the refrigerator
2. When ready to use, only get the amount you need, drain off the water you store the tapioca pearls in and scald the tapioca pearls briefly in hot water to bring back the softness and chewiness again
Now are you ready to join the tapioca pearls club? 🙂
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Easy Tapioca Pearls Coconut Milk Dessert
- 1 cup large tapioca pearls
- 6 cups water
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 100 gr sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 pandan leaves knotted
Cook the tapioca pearls:
- Bring 6 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add tapioca pearls in and lower the heat to medium to let it gently simmer for the next 1 hour. Have a taste to see if the tapioca pearl is soft and no longer hard in the middle and taste starchy. It may still have the white spot in the middle, but that's not an accurate indication to see if the pearls are cooked through or not. The pearls may be soft and cooked through and still have the white spot in the middle
- Once the tapioca pearls are cooked, strain off the cooking liquid and rinse with clean running water to stop the cooking process. They are ready to be used. Please read my post above on how to store the extra tapioca pearls
Make the coconut sauce (can be made ahead):
- Place the sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Do not bring to a boil, just let it come to a gentle simmer to dissolves sugar. Remove from the heat. Store in a glass container and they can be kept in refrigerator for up to 1 week max
- Scoop few tablespoons of the tapioca pearls onto a small serving bowl. Ladle the coconut sauce over and serve