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Haupia Tapioca Pudding with Cardamom & Fresh Fruit | Recipe



Happy hump day everyone, and welcome to my new and improved Life Out of Bounds! I hope you are loving it as much as I am! I am still doing some minor tweaks to take it exactly where I want it to be, but one, I am almost done; two, I am never done, and constantly tweaking and modifying, just to keep things interesting.

I have to admit, today I was planning on sharing another blog post with you, but what with all the blog redesign work, I have not had the time to finish editing the photos. I decided to tempt you with one of my favorite desserts instead.




Flans, creme caramels, custards, and puddings in general are my favorite desserts, and tapioca pudding certainly qualifies, especially when made with coconut milk. And coconut milk tapioca pudding is something I fell in love with in Hawai’i, having enjoyed it in (usually) Thai and (one) Laotian restaurants around the islands in both warm and cold version, thick and thin. One of my favorites is warm, not too thick and with bits of Okinawan purple sweet potato, or taro.

But this version is by far my absolute favorite, as I have created it just the way I like it. It has coconut milk in it, and also a touch of one of my favorite spices: cardamom, and it makes all the difference. Then, the fruit you decide to top it with is up to you, though lilikoi (passion fruit), guava, and luscious, ripe mango are among my favorite choices as they complement the delicate flavor of the coconut milk really beautifully.

And for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Haupia is coconut milk pudding in Hawai’i, usually served cut into squares. The word Haupia, however, also indicated the use and flavor of coconut milk, which I love!





yields 6-8 servings

  • 350 gr. (1 & 1.2 cups) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 750 ml. (3 cups) whole milk + 1 cup for serving as needed
  • 170 gr. (6 oz.) medium/small pearl tapioca (the one in the images above is medium)
  • 110 gr. (3.8 oz.) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 large, ripe and firm mango, cut in small cubes
  • other fresh fruit as desired
  • fresh mint sprigs for garnish




STEP 1 – Pour the coconut milk and 3 cups of milk into a large pot. Add the cardamom, sugar and pinch of salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tapioca and continue to cook over medium/low heat, stirring often until the tapioca pearls are tender – about 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the pearls. The consistency will be creamy. Remove from heat, cover and let the pudding cool to room temperature. The pudding will continue to thicken until cooled, and most of the liquid will be absorbed. DO NOT leave the stove while the tapioca is cooking. Milk boils over quickly, and tapioca tends to stick to the bottom of the pot. Stay there and keep stirring!

Note: This phase can be completed up to 2 days before serving. If you are not going to serve the dessert immediately, transfer to a glass container, cover and store the cooled tapioca in the refrigerator.


STEP 2 – Completion & Serving

Unless you prefer a thicker pudding, add the extra 1 cup milk (or coconut milk, or half of each), and heat through without boiling. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then scoop it into the serving bowls. Top with fresh cubed mango and other fruit, and decorate with mint leaves.




This is a simple, but very satisfying dessert that will soon become a favorite.  It is excellent both cold, warm and even hot; thick or thin – it is a matter of personal taste. I know it may not be as exotic in the United States, where I know most baby boomers had so much tapioca pudding as children that they now can’t stand the idea of it. But for the Italian me, never having tried it until I moved to Hawai’i, it is absolutely wonderful, especially if a little warm and diluted like it is served in Thai restaurants.


I hope you will enjoy it, and if you make it, do let me know what you think.



And if you enjoyed this recipe, you might also be interested in these other desserts:



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