I love tapioca pudding of all kinds. It's got such an interesting texture, but you've got to admit that it doesn't have much flavour. Here, instead of vanilla, I've used cardamom pods, which complement the coconut and banana beautifully. Other tropical fruit such as mango and pineapple would also be great here. The thick coconut milk called for is the top layer from an unshaken can of coconut milk. Just spoon it off. - MaryMaryCulinary —MaryMaryCulinary
Test Kitchen Notes
It turns out tapioca pudding, beloved childhood treat, is really easy to make at home (no more pudding cups!). It also goes really well with cardamom and coconut milk, and caramelized bananas dress it up and add some sweet tang. I tried a few different variations: using Bob's Red Mill's Small Pearl Tapioca, I preferred using 3 cups of water for a looser and creamier pudding with nice chewy bursts, but note that other brands might behave differently or require a quick soak before simmering (just check the instructions on the package). —Kristen Miglore
water, possibly more, depending on the brand of tapioca
pods green cardamom, cracked but whole
small pearl tapioca
thick coconut milk, plus extra for serving, if desired
Bring water, cardamom and salt to a boil in a medium pot.
Add tapioca, and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to keep mixture at a gentle boil.
Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently as it tends to stick. Tapioca is ready when it turns clear, without a white dot in the centre.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add thick coconut milk and stir in. It will thicken as it cools, so add more water now if you want to make it thinner. Divide amongst dessert bowls and let stand while you prepare the bananas. Serve slightly warm.
Heat butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bananas, cut side down. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Turn when browned and brown other side.
Place bananas atop tapioca and drizzle with pan juices and/or extra coconut milk to serve.