Lessons in Tapioca

Posted in Dessert, Fruit, Mango, Taro on April 8th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with tapioca this week. Mangos too of course, oh yes the mangos are coming, but first it was taro.

Looking for a way to use up that leftover coconut milk, I found Taro coconut milk with tapioca off of a blog with a really great name. Following her process all too well, I also ended up with a gelatinous blob of my first (and only) try, although looking back she said “solid block” so I’m thinking perhaps ‘gelatinous blob’ is just the natural state of cooked tapioca.


  • 2/3 cup mini tapioca pearls
  • 600g (about one med) taro
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

I cut this way way back to use up half a can of coconut milk, the end of a box of instant tapioca, and while I have some baby taro I originally planned to use, I went ahead and finished off the bag of frozen taro pieces I had in the freezer too.

Gelatinous tapioca blob and the coconut milk-taro didn’t want to mix so well but I could tell this would be a good one if done correctly. Apparently I wasn’t expecting much from the start because I didn’t bother to take pictures.

It did however set me off on a mission to find real tapioca pearls, whatever they might be. Hers were green. I ended up with a multicolor bag, because given the choice between plain old white and colorful I had to go with the colors. Actually given the choice between a package that gave some kind of cooking directions and one that didn’t I’d go with the former but it wasn’t an option.

Just… tapioca.

I had to use the cooking directions from the recipe instead, this time Mango Coconut Tapioca Pudding.



  • 1/2 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar


  • Soak the tapioca pearls in about 1 cup of water for about two hours.

  • Then bring another cup of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the sugar to the water and stir until completely dissolved. Then drain the tapioca pearls thoroughly and add to the boiling water. Immediately turn the heat down to low.

It continues with stirring and covering for 20 minutes to keep cooking but my tapioca was pretty much cooked at the time it went into the pot. Into the fridge to cool, as instructed.

Mango puree

  • 8 ounces mango flesh
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Put all the ingredients for the mango purée into a blender and pulse until they are completely blended. Refrigerate the mango purée.

The immersion blender has become one of those how-did-I-live-without-this items. This went into the freezer to hurry things along.

  • Add the mango purée to the tapioca pearls when chilled and mix thoroughly to make the pudding.

See, out of the fridge, gelatinous blob, and I followed the instructions.

It wasn’t breaking up so well here either so the only solution I could see was to get a bigger bowl where I could mix more vigorously.

Now that’s starting to look like something.


  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 6 raspberries
  • 1 kiwi
  • 8 ounces fresh mango flesh

Of course I wasn’t going to go out and buy all these fruits and berries just for my little experiment, but I did happen to have strawberries. I even rolled my eyes at myself for cubing my last mango for a pretty picture.

But a pretty picture it did make.

Now is probably a strange time to admit that my only experience with tapioca before this has been in bubble tea, so I don’t even know what this is supposed to taste like. I offered Andrew a taste first and he didn’t like it. I found that eating it with the garnish, especially the cubed mango, made it pretty good, but not so much on its own.

My biggest complaint it that it’s too sweet. If I was to make it again I’d leave the sugar out of the mango puree – the sugar in the tapioca and the natural sugar in the fruit should be enough. Then I would have plenty of fresh fruit for a topping, enough to last the whole bowl, not as a “garnish”. Finally, I would remember that there are raspberries in the freezer which could have made for an even prettier picture.

Taro (with cat)

Posted in Breakfast, Taro on October 14th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I found a new frozen taro product in Uwajimaya today. “Handmade Shredded Pancake with Taro (For Vegan)”.

The top line says “Bring vigor to your lift and give meals the wholesome nutrition”.

Handmade Shredded Pancake with Taro (For Vegan)
flour, water, vegetable oil, taro, sugar, salt

Cooking method:
Spread the tear pastry (oil and defrosted unnecessarily) and keep on turning to the other side of the pastry till the cake crust is swollen and the surface of the cake crust turns golden brown.
This product has been added with moderate seasonings; soy sauce paste, chili sauce, and other sauces can be added depending on personal taste and flavor.

I’ll give another report when I’m brave enough to open the bag and figure out those instructions. In the meantime, here is Merlin licking the bag.

Taro Pancakes

Posted in Breakfast, Taro on October 2nd, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I would best describe taro as an awesome purple potato, that’s neither potato or purple. it’s a root vegetable, and while there is a purple hue to the inner flesh, taro dessert products are dyed to the purple color people expect the same as mint flavor is expected to be green.
When I found out that Uwajimaya had fresh taro root I had to find a recipe to use it. Had I known there was such a thing as taro pancake mix I may have never started this project but instead I jumped straight into How To Make Your Own Taro Pancake[s].

Every time I read about cooking with taro there’s a warning not to eat it raw, and be careful touching the raw flesh because it can be irritating. Luckily I’ve never had a problem with touching it bare-handed but gloves are recommended if you do.

taroI sliced off the ends and chopped away at the skin with a large kitchen knife. (I don’t think you can call this “peeling”.) Then I cut it into pieces and boiled as if I was making mashed potatoes. Unfortunately I ended up with much more taro than the recipe called for, and without anything else to do with it much of it went to waste. I’ve been really happy to see that QFC now sells what looks like mini-sized taro.


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1 or 2 cups mashed (steamed or boiled) taro
  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water (or milk)

And then,

  • A pinch of yellow food color (optional)

I don’t understand this last one – if you wanted to dye your pancakes shouldn’t it be purple?


Sift together the first four ingredients twice.

Don’t tell anyone, but I only sifted once!

Add the eggs and the corn oil to the sifted dry ingredients. Mix together until moistened. Add the mashed taro, and again blend together. Gradually add the water (or the milk) to the mixture. Do not try to smoothen the lumps in the batter.

Pour batter unto hot skillet and cook until golden brown turning once when top begins to bubble slightly. Serve with syrup of your choice.

I love breakfast for dinner which is what these were. These pancakes were sweet enough on their own to not need any toppings, which is great because I can’t think of what would go on taro. (I’m not a syrup person myself.)