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Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露 | Yi Reservation

Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露

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{Recipe} Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露 - The perfect summer gluten-free dessert

It’s finally summer here in New York City.

Being my all-time favorite season, summer just makes me feel excited about things – even with less exciting things such as re-organizing my file cabinets, washing the windows in my apartment, cleaning out the entire refrigerator and discovering things I have zero recollection of, and the list goes on but you get the ideas.

{Recipe} Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露 - The perfect summer gluten-free dessert

Oh, another thing that I am really excited about is that today I am going to share one of my favorite summer desserts – chilled tapioca pearl pudding.

Tapioca pearls are made from tapioca starch which is gluten free and the pearls come in different sizes and colors. Most of us are probably familiar with the large black tapioca pearls used in Asian bubble tea but the focus today are the tiny white tapioca pearls.

{Recipe} Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露 - The perfect summer gluten-free dessert

These small tapioca pearls are flavorless but with a little magic (i.e. a good recipe), they can be transformed into killer desserts such as this popular Asian style coconut tapioca pudding!!

{Recipe} Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露 - The perfect summer gluten-free dessert

The original recipe came from my good friend Steve H. who got it from a family restaurant. Be warned, this creamy, rich, and coconutty goodness not only keeps you cool in the summer time but is also extremely addictive and I have in several occasions witnessed people going for the third servings at parties.

{Recipe} Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露 - The perfect summer gluten-free dessert

The version I am sharing today is slightly modified to cut down the sugar and fat content so you won’t feel guilty about having 3 servings in a row. Also, the addition of taro is strongly recommended as it balances the sweetness and richness of the coconut milk. If you absolutely can’t get taro, you can also substitute with fresh mango or cooked red beans.

{Recipe} Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露 - The perfect summer gluten-free dessert

Lastly, if being gluten free is not healthy enough for you, you can also make this dessert vegan. Just simply replace the milk portion with water and more coconut milk.

Now go ahead and give this recipe a try and run the risk of getting a serious tapioca addiction 🙂

Coconut Tapioca Pudding 椰汁西米露

Yield: 6

Prep Time: 10

Cook Time: 15

Total Time: 25

Make these super delicious Coconut Tapioca Pudding dessert following this step-by-step recipe at yireservation.com.


  • ½ cup (60g) tapioca pearl
  • 2.5 cup water
  • 1 cup (160g) fresh large taro, cubed

Coconut Milk Mixture

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar, can be adjusted to your own taste


  1. For the coconut milk mixture, combine the milk, coconut milk, and sugar in a soup stock. Bring to simmer and turn off the heat. Let it cool off and set aside. I prefer my mixture less sweet but you can adjust the amount of the sugar to your own preference
  2. Bring 2.5 cups of water to boil in a pot. Add the tapioca pearl to the boiling water and cook over low heat
  3. Constantly stir the tapioca to prevent sticking as liquid dries up. Cook the tapioca pearls for about 10 minutes all together. You should notice that the pearls turn translucent with a tiny white dot in the center. Turn off the heat and finish up the cooking by covering the pot with a lid for another 10 minutes
  4. In the meantime, cut the fresh taro to 0.5” cubes
  5. In another cooking pot, combine the taro with 2 cubs of cold water and bring to boil. Continue to cook the taro over medium heat until the taro cubes become soft. The total cooking time is about 9 minutes or until the cubes are cooked through
  6. Transfer the cooked taro to a mesh strainer and drain off the liquid
  7. Add cooked tapioca and taro to the coconut milk mixture and stir to mix. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. The tapioca pudding is best served cold and you can store the extra in the fridge for up to 3 days

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  1. 26

    Hi. My sons don’t like taro. Any suggestions on what to put in the tapioca pudding besides taro? Thank you.

    • 26.1

      HI Janti, i’d try substituting with sweet potatoes or just make it without any root vegetables. Hope this helps.

  2. 25

    Hello Yi,

    This looks fantastic! I just wanted to ask if the yield (being 6) will produce 6 bowls of the pudding. I am trying to make around 150 of these. Would that mean I will have to follow the recipe 25 times?

    Thank you,

    • 25.1

      Hi SM, thanks for checking out the recipe. To answer your question, yes the yield is roughly 6 cups so you do need to make 25x to feed 150. If you have some time, I’d suggest you make once according to this recipe so you know if you need to adjust the portion size. Hope this helps.

  3. 24

    Would it be possible to cook the cubed taro or yam with the tapioca so as to retain some of the vegetables starch in the final soup? I would think this would also add some thickening for those who prefer a more pudding like consistency. Also,could one add unsweetened dried flaked coconut to this without ruining the texture? I am truly a coconut lover!

    • 24.1

      hello Freyda, it is possible to cook the taro/yam directly with tapioca, however, you’d need a bit more water as taro/yam will soak up the liquid pretty quickly. Yes, dried coconut flakes should work – I’d break them into even smaller chips though. Hope this helps!

  4. 23
    Alexandra Thompson Reply

    I’m making something very similar and it’s a little too thin for my liking… any suggestions on how to thicken it a little?

  5. 22
    Alexandra Thompson Reply

    I’m making something very similar and it’s a little too thin for my liking… any suggestions on how to thicken it a little?

    • 22.1

      hi, if it’s too thin, you might need to use a bit more tapioca or reduce the liquid. Using more taro might also help thicken. Hope this helps.

  6. 21

    Love this recipe!  Was so scared to try to make one of my favorite Chinese treats and your instruction was spot on!

    Plan on serving at mynNew Years party next week….Thank you and Xinnián Kuàilè!

  7. 20

    Do you have to strain the tapioca pearls after you cook them, or do you add the water along with the pearls?

    • 20.1

      hi Timothy, sorry for getting back to you late. There shouldn’t be much water left once the tapioca pearls are cooked. If there is water, please do remove the water before you proceed. Hope this helps.

  8. 19

    Do you have any tips on picking a good taro?

    • 19.1

      hi Tina, sorry i don’t have any specific tips other than looking for dense and heavy taro. If it looks dry or you see cracks on surface, it probably means the taro has been sitting there for a long time. Hope this helps.

  9. 18


    Where did you buy the small tapioca pearl?

    The ones I have come across are much bigger.

    Let me know. Would love to try this recipe.


    • 18.1

      Hello KG, I normally get my small pearl from my local Asian grocery stores here in NYC. If you don’t have that option, try buying it online. It’s even available in Amazon> Here is an example: http://amzn.to/2FMOeXL
      Hope this helps.

  10. 17

    Hi, if you are adding fruit like Mango or Pineapple when do you add it in. Is it the same process as Taro.

    I had this dessert during an monthly gathering of International university students. This is where we get together and have a meal once a month and get to meet other int’l students. Most of the time the students volunteer to cook for about 40 people to show off their culture’s cuisine. When the Chinese students hosted we had a very good meal and the food was so different(in a good way) that we could experience authentic Chinese food and share cultures.

    • 17.1

      Hi Matthew, thanks for sharing your potluck experience with me. It sounds like a great platform to learn culinary cultures from around the world. To answer your question, I’d not cook fresh fruits such as mango r pineapple at all. I’d just add them right before the pudding is ready to be served. I hope this helps.

  11. 16

    Is it okay to eat it without putting it in the refrigerator?

    • 16.1

      Hi, you can totally serve it in room temperature or warm (in winter time). It’s preferred to serve it chilled in summer though.

  12. 15


    Thanks so much for the recipe! This turned out great. I love Chinese cooking and have been trying my best to learn so I can make it for myself at home. 🙂

    I used maple syrup sweeten, and used purple yam instead of taro. Still came out really good!

    • 15.1

      Hi Meg, thanks for the feedback. The maple syrup and purple yam idea sounds excellent – I’ll have to try it myself next time. Thanks again for checking out my blog!

  13. 14

    Can you use Minute Brand Instant Tapioca? Thanks.

  14. 13

    I think your conversion of Cups to Grams in incorrect. Please update which measurement is the correct on to use.

    • 13.1

      Hi Cal, thanks for checking out this recipe. I’ll have confirm the gram measurement next time I make it but in the meantime please use cup measurement. Thanks again!

  15. 12

    Thank you for the receipt. Where do you get the coconut milk? Are they can milk? I found some coconut milk in half gallon next to the almond milk in the refrigerator section. Would that work?

    • 12.1

      Hi Howard, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. The coconut milk/cream I use normally come in a tin can. In this case, you might want to use coconut cream to get that creamy and rich texture/flavor. The coconut milk you were referring to is a little light in flavor. Hope this helps.

  16. 11

    Great recipe.this one is right on the money,think the key is the milk and full fat coconut milk combo for one…..a soup consistency is traditional and what I was looking for but I agree,perhaps the translation should be soup not pudding.
    Btw,banana is also traditional in some parts of Asia and is a good substitute for the comment about fruit.I have also used purple yam in place of taro.great post,classic dish.thanks.

    • 11.1

      hi Jacob, agree on the soupy consistency point. I think most restaurants call it pudding that’s why I used that name but perhaps I should have used a more precise name. Thanks for the banana suggestion. I’ll try that next time I make this!

  17. 10

    Not a fan of.mango or taro. Other fruit suggestions. ..

  18. 9

    I am so glad I found your page and this recipe. This is one of my favourites! I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can finally make this at home 😀 

  19. 8

    This is a very watery pudding!
    The translation should be sweet soup.

  20. 7

    This dessert is new to me and looks delicious.
    What I find very exciting is that tapioca pearls are glutenfree, perfect to prepare for my friends who have to stick to a glutenfree diet.

  21. 6

    I haven’t had tapioca in years and I certainly have never had it with taro and coconut. This looks so good and reminds me that it’s past time to pick up some tapioca. Thanks!

  22. 5

    First, I love your profile image. High 5 (paws?) to cat love! I am not a fan of Summer, especially in NYC (I’m melting!), so I am happy that at least you are enjoying it! But why wouldn’t you with his delicious pudding?!

  23. 4

    Delicious cooling and refreshing dessert. Sweet dessert soups are so delicious in the summer. I hope NY is treating you well. Take care and happy belated Dragon boat festival! BAM

  24. 3

    This is exactly how I love my tapioca soup. Coconut and taro…my favourite combo!

  25. 2

    I haven’t had tapioca pudding for years! And you’re right — it’s a great warm weather dessert. This looks fantastic — thanks so much.

  26. 1

    This may not matter but do you suggest large taro or small?

    • 1.1

      Hi DB, thanks for the question. It actually makes a difference as the two kinds of taro have very different texture. This recipe calls for the large taro and I will update the post to clarify. Thanks again for bringing this up.

      • Thanks! Might use palm sugar, too.
        Noticed that you have Coconut Tapioca Pudding listed as an ingredient in the recipe. You might want to remove it to avoid confusion.

        • Thanks DB. Recipe updated. Palm sugar sounds fantastic – will try that next time I make it (this weekend)!

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