The mix of salty and sweet in this tapioca pudding with coconut is typical of many Thai dessert recipes. For an authentic taste, add up to 1/4 teaspoon more salt to the tapioca base and corn. You can make the pudding up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill.
1 cup pearl tapioca (1/16 to 1/8 in.) or quick-cooking tapioca
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt (see notes)
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels or chopped peeled fresh or canned water chestnuts (optional)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
How to Make It
In a 3- to 4-quart nonstick pan over high heat, bring 4 cups (3 3/4 cups if using quick-cooking tapioca) water to a boil. Gradually stir in tapioca; reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until transparent, 15 to 30 minutes for pearl (5 to 8 minutes for quick-cooking). Mixture will be very thick.
Add 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup coconut milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in corn, if using. Spoon into eight small bowls or ramekins (1/2 to 3/4 cup each).
In a 1- to 2-quart pan, mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch. Add remaining 1 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir over high heat until mixture is boiling, 3 to 4 minutes. Spoon equally over puddings and spread to cover tops. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes, then cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. Just before serving, garnish with strawberries.