I was reminded a few days ago, out of the blue, of a delicious tapioca pearl pudding that a wonderful neighbor used to make during Diwali. I was fortunate to have spent my childhood in a community where we had families from different states and was royally spoiled by our Goan, Punjabi, Kannada and Maharashtrian neighbors. Diwali meant platters of deep fried namkeen (savory snacks), Ganesh Chaturti meant modhaks (sweet dumpling) and all festivals came with a multitude of deliciously rich sweets that I can’t stop reminiscing about without salivating!
Sabudana Kheer (tapioca pearl pudding made with milk) was once such decadent dessert. As a child, this kheer was a lot more fun to eat than the kheer I was generally used to – made with vermicelli or rice. Every little bite of sabudana had an addictive chewy-quality to it, that was irresistible to my 10 year old self. Sort of like the addictive joy that comes with bursting bubble wrap…or is it just me who thinks that way?
- 3/4 cup tapioca pearls
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Golden Delicious apples
- 1 tsp butter (omit the butter for a vegan option)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 persimmon
- Pressure cook the tapioca pearls in the coconut milk and sugar for 20 minutes. I used my electric pressure cooker at high setting for 20 minutes and let the steam release naturally. If not using a pressure cooker, pre-soak the tapioca pearls in water for 30 -40 minutes and cook in coconut milk for 10-15 minutes, until the pearls have doubled in size and are translucent.
- While the tapioca is cooking, dice the apples and persimmons. Keep aside the persimmons aside and transfer the diced apples to a saucepan. Caramelize the apples by heating them with butter and brown sugar and the cinnamon powder, keep stirring for around 5 minutes until the apples are beautifully caramelized and tender. I dare you to resist licking the deliciously aromatic sauce from the caramelized apples off your spatula!
- Assemble the pudding – In a glass serving cup, layer the tapioca with some of the persimmon and caramelized apple, alternate with a layer of tapioca followed by some more of the fruit. Serve warm (which is how I like it on a nippy Autumn day), or chilled, as you like it!