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Need help cooking tapioca pearls for pudding

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I want to make a coconut-milk based tapioca pudding, but after extensive internet research it seems that every recipe I find for tapioca pudding uses a different approach. So I have a few questions I was hoping people could give me some thoughts on. I'm using white, small pearl tapioca.

1) Do I need to soak the pearls before cooking? I've seen some recipes in which they say overnight, others that say 20 minutes, and others that don't call for soaking at all.
2) How long does the tapioca need to cook for? I was mostly planning on playing it by ear, waiting until they tasted and looked done (translucent).
3) Should the tapioca be rinsed after cooking? I've seen a few recipes say call for this, saying that it will prevent the pudding from getting too gelatinous and gooey.
4) This goes hand in hand with the prior question, but I'm trying to figure out if it makes more sense to cook the pearls in the coconut milk, or if I should cook them separately in water and then add them to a coconut milk mixture. My thinking was, if I want to rinse them, I go with the latter route. If not, it seems it would make more sense to cook them in the coconut milk.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I am interested to know why you couldn't use Minute Tapioca. The recipe on the box ("Fluffy Tapioca Pudding") calls for milk, but there's no reason you couldn't substitute coconut milk and the whole procedure would be a lot easier.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Querencia

      It's not that I couldn't use instant tapioca, but I have the small pearls on hand and would like to try using them.