Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Cardamom and Caramelized Bananas

January 31, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 3-4
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • Tapioca
  • 2 cups water, possibly more, depending on the brand of tapioca
  • 4 pods green cardamom, cracked but whole
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup thick coconut milk, plus extra for serving, if desired
  • Caramelized bananas
  • 2 bananas, ripe but firm, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Tapioca
  2. Bring water, cardamom and salt to a boil in a medium pot.
  3. Add tapioca, and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to keep mixture at a gentle boil.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  1. Caramelized bananas
  2. 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.
  3. Place bananas atop tapioca and drizzle with pan juices and/or extra coconut milk to serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • gingerroot
  • JoanG
  • Midge
  • MaryMaryCulinary
  • hardlikearmour

6 Reviews

gingerroot April 4, 2011
Coconut tapioca with banana might be one of my all-time favorite desserts. Mostly I've enjoyed this at my favorite Thai restaurant, and the banana is definitely not caramelized. But to add caramelized banana! YUM!! I cannot wait to try this. Thank you for the recipe!!
JoanG February 23, 2011
I was working on a coconut tapioca pudding too, but couldn't get it just right.
Will have to try yours.
Midge February 10, 2011
What a gorgeous photo and yum!
MaryMaryCulinary January 31, 2011
Thanks! You two are quick! Antonia, this is so delicious in summer when mangos are ripe and delicious. I looked at them today, but they were so sad and hard, and so was the pineapple, so bananas it was!
hardlikearmour January 31, 2011
You had me at coconut tapioca pudding!
AntoniaJames January 31, 2011
Me, too. Really like the mango/pineapple alternatives. Am really looking forward to trying this one! ;o)