One of my pleasures in life is to introduce people to new ingredients, provide them with a recipe to showcase them, and slowly but surely expand the Aussie pantry.
Today, the ingredient is tapioca - a starch extracted from the root of a cassava. It’s a typical Brazilian delicacy native to South America, and comes in the form of flour, flakes and pearls. Some classic South American dishes that are based on tapioca are farofa, which is toasted tapioca flour mixed with onion and garlic; feijoada - Brazilian stewed pork and beans served on a bed of farofa; Pão de queijo - the traditional cheesy bread of Brazil made with tapioca flour; and tapioca puddings - similar to a rice pudding, only tapioca pearls are used instead.
Feeling cultural yet? I certainly am! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you closed your eyes and imagined me on a beach in Brazil with a picnic of Pão de queijo!
The texture of tapioca pearls (when cooked well) is the main attraction - tiny balls of jelly, coated in rich coconut sauce … a match made in heaven! I promise you, once you make these puddings, you’ll be a tapioca convert. So I’ll sign off and say, ‘variety … it’s the spice of life’!
2 x 400ml light coconut milk
¾ cup water
¾ cup tapioca
1/3 cup caster sugar
¾ cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 nectarines thinly sliced
1 tbsp. super fine caster sugar
Violets for decoration
For the coconut sago place the coconut milk, sago and the water in a medium saucepan. Stand for 30 minutes.
Place sago mixture over moderate heat. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until the mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat to very low; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until sago is tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in sugar. Cool slightly.
Spoon sago mixture into 6 x 1-cup heatproof glass serving cups or bowls. Place on a baking tray. Cover with cling film; chill for 2 hours or until firm.
To make the coconut caramel, heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan. Add the coconut sugar and stir until dissolved, making sure no sugar sticks to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a gentle boil then remove from the heat and set aside.
Toss the nectarine slices in the sugar. Serve the puddings topped with a few nectarine slices and some edible violets.