Asian Cuisine · Desserts

Taro Tapioca Dessert


Chinese desserts have always ranked lower than American/European desserts in my book. Despite the lack of chocolate molten lava cakes or baklava, there are some Chinese desserts that are definitely worth mentioning. One of them being taro tapioca soup.

This dessert combines the subtle flavor of taro, rock sugar, coconut milk, condensed milk, and tapioca to quell any last minute dessert cravings after feasting on a Chinese banquet.

You’re more likely to get served oranges as a dessert from a Chinese restaurant but occasionally you might get this tasty treat. It’s sporadic – I haven’t figure out the scenario which qualifes for this treat (besides just asking).

I’d still be wary of chinese chocolate anything (cake, pastries) …although I have seen considerable improvement on the chocolate jelly roll!


1/2 cup pearl sago/tapioca (increase to 3/4 cup if you prefer more tapioca per spoonful)
2 cups mashed taro (frozen or fresh)
1 can of coconut milk (unsweetened)
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of splenda/or sugar or condensed milk (traditional recipes use rock sugar – use it if you’ve got it)


1. Remove skin from taro and cut into chunks (if using frozen taro, proceed to next step)
2. Add taro to a boiling a potful of water and cook until tender (fresh taro takes about 20 minutes, frozen takes 5-7 minutes)
3. Drain excess water and mash with fork until majority of the taro is smooth (leave chunky bits if you want chunks of taro in the dessert)
4. In a separate pot, add tapioca to another boiling pot of water. Boil for 5-6 minutes, turn off the heat and cover for another 10-15 minutes.  Begin checking tapioca after 10 minutes – the tapioca is done once it has turned translucent (no white center). Drain any excess water.
5. On low heat, add can of coconut milk  and 2 cups of water to the pot with the taro. If you are using rock sugar, add it in during this step since it takes awhile to break down. Stir the mixture until the taro has “blended” with the coconut milk and then add tapioca.
6. To sweeten the dessert, get creative with sugar, splenda, condensed milk, or rock sugar. The sweetness is based on personal perference so start small, taste, and add more if necessary! My favorite combination is to use dissolved rock sugar and condensed milk.
7. If you prefer a soupier consistency, add more coconut milk or water.


9 thoughts on “Taro Tapioca Dessert

  1. generally, oranges are the standard. but if you are attending a celebration of some sort or your host orders it then the desert will be a little fancier, like the taro desert.
    “I’d still be wary of chinese chocolate anything”: chinese people generally don’t serve chocolate for desert (traditionally). That is to say, chinese desert may not be good to you because that’s what sets us apart; our food isn’t european food.

    Hi Anonymous,

    I’ve got nothing against Chinese desserts – I enjoy them quite a bit (I am making red bean dessert with tapioca this weekend! yum.) It’s when I come across a dark chocolate mocha cake where I am wary. Most Chinese versions of chocolate cake often turn out bland. If the sign says dark chocolate mocha – I want to taste dark chocolate with mocha.

  2. I’ve been looking for a recipe for this for a while now. This sounds delicious! How many servings does this recipe make?

    Hi TmCcluskey!
    Unfortunately I don’t know how many servings it makes, I do always end up freezing a lot of it. My guess is about 8-10 servings!

  3. Hi Tiffany, I was wondering how much water is needed? Because if it is just 1 cup of coconut milk and taro and tapioca and a little condensed milk, won’t it not be soupy at all?

    Hi Phoebe – thanks for the catch! You need at least 2 cups of water for a soupy consistency. Add more coconut milk or water to adjust consistency of the soup to your preference. I would suggest only leaving this soup in the fridge for 2-3 days at most. Freezing the soup works …I’ve had it in the freezer for 3 months and it tasted fine when I defrosted it. You may have to add a little more water/coconut milk after you defrost it.

  4. And also, if there are leftovers should I put them in the freezer or can I just put them in the refrigerator and how long can it last? Thank you very much.

  5. Thanks for the recipe.

    There’s a restaurant in Chicago that served this dessert ice cold with honeydew and cantaloupe balls in it. It was awesome, but I don’t think they offer it anymore. :(

  6. Hello,
    I was wondering do you need to have taro in it and if not would you know how it will taste? I’ve been looking for something like this but never could find it. Because i never knew the name of it..
    Thank you, Haunani

    1. Hi Huanani! You don’t need to add the taro, you could try using red bean (azuki) or mung beans. I’d imagine just using tapioca would be decent but I think that using another ingredients (e.g. taro, azuki, or mung beans) makes the flavor more complex! Let me know how it turns out if you try it without another ingredient.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s