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Jun 29, 2009 06:46 AM

tapioca pudding

it seems so simple, i cannot get it. never liked it as a kid and have no desire to eat it now, but b/f my likes it and has asked me to make it for him. (he doesn't cook...)

he likes large pearl tapioca. so we bought a bag in an asian grocer. there a million recipes on the net, but he seemed to think a crock pot is the way to go. i have never ever used a crockpot or cooked tapioca before. so, i put the pearls and some milk, along with some vanilla and brown sugar in the pot, turned it on low. after about 4 hours, i could see it thickening, but the pearls were very raw. after 5 hours, the milk broke and i threw everything out.

today, i soaked 1/3 cup of tapioca in 1 cup of water. the pearls are completely broken after 1 hour soaking. many recipes say to soak overnight!

i want to make this on the stovetop, no eggs. help, please?

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    1. Rather than creating a treatis of my own experience with tapioca, allow me to suggest you read through this, IMO, very good information on the subject.
      You'll understand what it is, how it's made, how long (or short) to soak it and how it compares to instant tapioca products.
      I will say that I disagree with the length of time suggested for soaking, both on the page link I provided and the recipe you're following. I believe it's best to give the pearls a bit of a squeeze from time to time, at about 10 - 15 minute intervals, to make sure the consistency is appropriate to the recipe I'm working with.
      "No eggs"? For tapioca pudding? Isn't that heresy? Without the eggs I think you're going to end up with a rather starchy mess that isn't really pudding.
      But, to each his own.
      Your milk may have broken because, a. it got too hot or, b. it's fat content was too low. Don't let your milk come to a boil. If you see bubbles forming, take it off the heat, let it cool down, reduce the heat, then put it back on the burner.

      2 Replies
      1. re: todao

        it was full fat organic milk, in a crockpot, on low heat. as for the eggs, lol, b/f swears his mom never used eggs, but i suspect he remembers incorrectly.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          I'm not sure what "organic" milk is. It still comes from the udder of a living animal so I guess it's something that is taken from animals who have been pasture fed on land that is free of unnatural chemicals (seeing as how natural chemicals are necessary to make the grass grow in the first place). So the organic aspect of the ingredient shouldn't have any affect whatsoever. A crockpot on low heat doesn't mean much. "Low heat" on one crockpot will not be the same as low heat on another type, style, brand. You should be using a digital instant read thermometer to monitor the temperature of your liquids if you're using a crockpot for tapioca. The other issue with crockpots for tapioca is the lack of control over temperature. You either click to one point on the dial or another and, typically, that's all the control you have. So they're not a very good choice for things like puddings.

      2. I soak large tapioca in milk overnight, then drain and cook over a double boiler with milk, coconut milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir constantly for 20-30 minutes, remove from heat and let cool, during the cooling process it will thicken. Hmm, what are my proportions...for 4 of us I do 1/2 cup tapioca, soaked in 1 cup milk, then cooked in 1 can unsweetened coconut and 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs and a smidge of vanilla. Top with chopped mango or pineapple. Yum!

        1 Reply
        1. re: yamalam

          do you add all the ingredients at the same time? or eggs much later?

          and as i posted above, after only an hour of soaking on my second attempt, the large pearls already had turned to mush.

          is this like beans, and if the store turns them over quickly they don't take as long to cook? (or need much soaking, in this case?)

        2. Tapioca is DH's favorite dessert too. I just buy the red, white, and blue Minute Tapioca box and follow the directions. It has to cook but is extremely foolproof. It's one of the few things I don't make from scratch, True confession. He says it tastes great... just like his mother's LOL.
          He has it all to himself.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gio

            I've always used this product, as well. White sugar, not brown, and real vanilla. It's the way the pure vanilla flavor comes through that I love about this pudding.

          2. I make tapioca once a week and keep it on hand as a staple, that's how much we like it. I use Minute Tapioca. 1) Separate three jumbo eggs. Whip the yolks a little and put them in a large saucepan with 4 cups of milk. Add 6 tablespoons Minute Tapioca and a pinch of salt. Stirring pretty often, bring this to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, put the bowl with the egg whites on the counter next to the stove so you can hold the electric beater in the bowl and beat the egg whites stiff with 1/2 cup of sugar with one hand while stirring the custard mixture with the other. You are using all the recipe's sugar in the egg whites so they will stay up after you beat them stiff. As soon as the custard is boiling, dump it all at once onto the beaten egg whites and whisk with a whisk until all is combined. (The heat of the custard cooks the egg white.) Let this cool a bit, whisking occasionally, then add 2 tsp vanilla. This version of tapioca is very fluffy. Once you've got this method down you can make it in ten minutes. Good with any fruit, whipped cream, or liqueur.