The concept of dessert is not native to Asia where sweets are more commonly eaten as snacks than as a meal ender. It was only after the penetration of Western culture that modern restaurants started listing sweets under the "dessert" label in their menus.
This delightful sweet snack with mangoes, tapioca pearls and coconut milk is very popular in Vietnam. It is also a popular dessert served in modern Chinese restaurants in the Philippines. It appears to be an adaptation of a very traditi...onal Chinese sweet which, unlike the Vietnamese concoction, rarely includes coconut milk among the ingredients.
There are many ways to prepare and serve this sweet snack. Some cooks prefer to make a thick pudding-like tapioca and coconut milk mixture while others opt for a soup-like consistency. Whether you prefer the thick or the thin version, here are three ways to enjoy this snack.
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Mango and tapioca pearls in coconut milk, first version
Spoon the tapioca pearls into a glass. Sweeten the coconut milk by stirring in some sugar. Pour over the tapioca pearls. Do not fill the glass to the brim as you will be adding the mangoes and you do not want the coconut milk to overflow.
Cut the mangoes into cubes and drop into the glass.
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Mango and tapioca pearls in coconut milk, second version
Cut the mangoes, scoop out the flesh into the blender and puree.
Stir together the mango puree with equal amount of coconut milk. Add enough sugar to reach your desired level of sweetness.
Add the cooked tapioca pearls and stir. Ladle into glasses or bowls and serve.
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Mango and tapioca pearls in coconut milk, third version
Cook the tapioca pearls in pandan extract instead of plain water. Drain and cool.
Spoon the pandan-flavored tapioca pearls in one side of a bowl or dessert glass.
Cut the mangoes into cubes and place on the other side of the bowl or glass.
Pour in the coconut milk sweetened with sugar.
Optionally, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.