This recipe is really simple! And very good. It only requires 4 ingredients and is one of my favorite Asian desserts so far.
I decided to make this dessert for an Asian night that my friend chefs at the Cordon Bleu and I planned. There were quite a few Asian chefs at the Cordon Bleu from all over and that night we were glad to have our friends from China, Indonesia, Malayasia, Singapore, the Philipines, and a Korean-American.
The food was delicious, Joey, from Singapore, brought a curried chicken with hard boiled eggs in it- it had a distinct cinnamon flavor to me. Miguel, from the Phillipines, brought a chicken and onion slow-cooked dish I forgot the name for. Greg, a Philipino-Chinese, brought delicious veggie glass noodles, simply seasoned with soy sauce, but the mushrooms were great! David, an amazing chef from China was at the wok all night stir frying with only chop sticks like the real Chinese do and was completely in his element; he left the party very happy that all enjoyed his food. He made a pork and tofu stir fry, that was not oily at all like the Chinese dishes I tasted in China which made it irresistible. All agreed is one of the favorite dishes there. He also made a stir fry with pork in a broth-sauce that I couldn’t try because I was stuffed but looked like it would be delicious with rice to soak it up. He also helped Damla with her stir fry noodles with vegetables and Silvana with her filling for her duck and bok choy spring rolls, as well as the frying. We worked hard! But it turned out to be a success! Also, Ensan, a passionate Nicarguean-Chinese, made his unbeatable fried rice. The other dishes were fried wontons by Stephani, store-bought Kimchi, more and more noodles, pickled eggs with saffron, and real Tamago from Choco, a Japanese girl, and my sushi and dessert.
So anyway, I got the inspiration for this dish from Pho 14, a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris’ Chinatown that we frequented, probably too often, for living in a city so reveled for its French food. But they make this dessert, that I could not get over how good it was when I first tried it because I rarely have had coconut milk and really I don’t think I have ever had tapioca before that. The texture is perfect, and it seems to be the perfect dessert after eating a spicy pho. It completely cuts the heat in your mouth.
My re-creation turned out pretty well, and some of my friends said it came out even better than the restaurant’s so that’s a compliment, especially because I have only begun my journey into Asian cooking. I really spent a week researching what the heck tapioca is, and how you prepare it, and it paid off.
Tapioca actually comes from the cassava root, that is common in Brazil, and it is ground up and then mixed with water I believe and rolled out to thinner than a pencil. Then it is cut. They are called tapioca pearls when they are done. You can buy instant tapioca which just needs to be rehydrated with water with a short cooking time, or unprocessed tapioca, which needs to be soaked overnight, or at least 2 hours before cooking. I used the unprocessed tapioca and the results were excellent. Just prepare a day in advance for soaking time.
I soaked 2 cups of tapioca, but I then made two separate batches, just to make sure it came out alright. So here, I will write the recipe for only one batch of tapioca. But, if you plan to make more, just soak another cup of tapioca.
Banana in Coconut Milk with Tapioca (Che Chuoi Chung Recipe)
Makes 1 batches. Each batch can serve about 4-6 people
For soaking overnight:
1 cup tapioca pearls, unprocessed
4 cups water
1cup soaked tapioca or half the tapioca (measure after it has been soaked because it
½ cup sugar
1 can coconut milk
3 bananas (best to use Thai green bananas)
Pinch of salt
First, soak 1 cup tapioca in 4 cups of water in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
Put 1 cup of the tapioca (or half of what has been soaked) in a pot, with 1 can coconut milk, and about ½ cup sugar, and a pinch of salt. You can add a little more water cleaning the can of coconut milk because it becomes thick as the tapioca absorbs the liquid.
Mix frequently on a medium to low heat, so the sugar doesn’t burn, about 7-10 minutes until the pearls become translucent and the mixture begins to thicken.
Cut the bananas down lengthwise and then into thirds cross sectional so you have 6 separate pieces. If you use regular bananas, I add them, then cover the pot and move it off the heat because the bananas will soften with the residual heat. If you use thai green bananas, add them 2 minutes before the end of cooking in with the tapioca pearls so they can cook and soften. Et voila. Serve hot!