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.
The first bite was odd but then I enjoyed it. Light with a creamy interesting texture and the coconut milk in the topping had a velvety mouth feel.
I used fresh sweetcorn instead of water chestnuts. Don't skip the strawberries on top, they added a nice slightly tart balance.
My husband had two bites then wouldn't eat anymore, he doesn't like coconut or the texture of tapioca. My 14 mo. old liked it and every bite I had I like it more. I even ate leftovers for breakfast the next few days.
I'll make this again, even if just for me.
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