This is how it happens: It was Tuesday afternoon and I was getting ready for Romney Ride, the New Orleans version of Soul Cycle, trying desperately to stay on task and on time when I heard it on the radio.
Out of context.
I still don’t know what the rest of the story was about — a new band? A recipe? The child of a “celebrity”?
All I could think about through my work out was tapioca. Back….two….three…four TAPIOCA…two…three…four…TAPIOCA.
Hmmmmm. A creamy strawberry tapioca? A shaved coconut tapioca? Coconut mango tapioca? Could I put in chocolate chips and make a chocolate mint tapioca? BACK….two….three….four….no, no chocolate chip tapioca. Yuk. But the coconut idea had legs. I knew I had coconut, ginger and vanilla at home as well as a very ripe mango. It was destiny.
And that’s how the seed is planted. I spent most of Tuesday night with Nick sleeping soundly next while I poured through cookbooks, online websites and texting friends wondering what what makes great tapioca. And WHY do I remember my slightly uppity cousin saying to me when we were 6 and 8 respectively “Everyone whose anyone eats tapioca”
This is a Tapioca for the people. And it was out of this world delicious.
- 2" (5 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half lenth-wise
- 2 cups (475 ml) milk
- 1/3 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 1/3 cup (240 ml) tapioca (not quick cook)
- 1 can (13.6 fl oz / 403 ml) coconut milk (I prefer Thai Kitchen coconut milk)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the tapioca and the coconut milk.
- In a smaller saucepan combine the rough cut ginger, milk and sugar.
- Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, then run your knife along the length of the vanilla bean scraping up the vanilla seeds. Add vanilla seeds AND the vanilla pod to the milk mixture. Cook at a low simmer for 20 minutes.
- The Kitchn has a longer explanation of how to do this here.
- After the tapioca has soaked for 30 minutes and the milk mixture has simmered for 20 minutes, combine both mixtures in the larger saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the tapioca pearls are fully translucent with no white inside (see photo on post).
- Remove from stove, let it cool to room temperature and then put into individual serving dishes. Refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. Top with sliced mango or shredded coconut or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- You can also put the entire serving into a mixing bowl and refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. If the tapioca gets too gelatinous you can add milk to bring it to your desired consistency.