I am obsessed by one lunch spot by my office: Dishes. It’s one of these catch-all deli joints with salads to order, sandwiches, soups, baked goods and a hot/cold salad bar by the pound. Except it’s super elevated. Think couscous almond cranberry salad instead of fried rice. Crispy coconut shrimp instead of soggy mystery meat. But it’s not the pay-by-the-pound bar counter or even the baked goods I go for, it’s the prepared dessert.
A few months ago I was craving something sweet (what’s new?) to go with my deviled egg salad and steamed veggies with light tahini sauce. It was then I discovered the coconut tapioca with fresh mangos stirred in. Little did I know that this innocent sugar fix would soon become a weekly addition. Even if I didn’t really want the overpriced fixings at Dishes, I knew I needed to go for the pudding. The tapioca is a reasonable $3 or so; it’s the rest of the $10 barely-there salad that gets you. So I had a thought. Why couldn’t I make my own coconut tapioca?
Smitten Kitchen provided the perfect base recipe with a few tweaks. Mainly mango in the tapioca, not just on top. Here is my first attempt. It’s not perfect. There’s a lack of creaminess and lightness that the version at Dishes has, even though I did use full-fat coconut milk. While this pudding will serve as a great substitute…for now…I’d love to figure out a way to get the fluffy, almost melt in your mouth tapioca flavor that I so crave. Help me?
Mango Coconut Tapioca (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen) Serves 7-8
- 1/3 c small pearl tapioca
- 2 1/2 c coconut milk (I used full-fat)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 1/2 c diced fresh mango, divided
In a medium saucepan, soak tapioca in coconut milk for 30 minutes. Whisk in egg yolk, sugar, salt and vanilla bean seeds, if using (if using extract, you’ll add it in a bit). Place saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer, then reduce it to very low heat so it’s barely bubbling, and cook it until it thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup diced mango. Pour into pudding cups (or 4oz mason jars for on the go option). Chill for at least 3 hours until pudding is set. Reserve remaining diced mango at room temperature.
To serve, take pudding out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving so it can rise to room temperature. Top with a tablespoon of diced mango and serve.