Thursday, May 21, 2009

Honeydew with Tapioca Pearls in Sweetened Coconut Milk

A very refreshing after-dinner dessert, this concoction is a popular South-East Asian favorite, patented after the Taiwanese bubble tea craze of the 80's. The one ingredient that many may not be familiar with is the tapioca pearl, the tiny ball-like jelly that you see in the photo. As the name suggests, these tiny pearls are made from the root vegetable, tapioca. It can also be known by its other South American names like yuca or cassava. The best thing about tapioca is that it is gluten-free and is sometimes used as a thickening agent. Commercially, processed tapioca can normally be found as tiny balls or pearls but is also available as larger-sized pearls as well.

Before using these pearls, soak them in water for an hour or so. Bring a pot of water to boil and turn down the heat to a simmer. Now add the pearls to the pot and start stirring gently. Immediately, you should see those white-colored pearls turn opaque and later on, translucent. As soon as those pearls become translucent, they are done. Pour them onto a sieve and run cold water over it to remove the starch. The end result should be tiny translucent balls that are ready for consumption.

Now, prepare the coconut milk by heating it up together with some water, sugar and a pinch of salt. When you get it to your desired sweetness, turn off the heat and cool it down in the fridge. Next, cut your honeydew melon into cubes and refrigerate. When all the ingredients are sufficiently cooled down, you can now assemble them. Start with the honeydew and then add the tapioca pearls. Finally, top it off a couple of good scoops of that sweet coconut milk. You can also replace the honeydew with any other kinds of fruit like mango or cantaloupe. You can even use flavored jello if you want. If you are so inclined, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top to make it even yummier! Go crazy!

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