The beauty of this tapioca pudding recipe is that it is eggless, and made with just 5 simple ingredients.
Most tapioca pudding recipes are full of eggs, so this is a real treat if you don’t eat eggs!
The 5 ingredients are tapioca, milk, sugar, cardamom, and vanilla. You get a subtle aromatic quality and flavor from the cardamom and vanilla.
A traditional tapioca pudding is flavored only with vanilla, so the new twist here is the cardamom.
Cardamom has a sweet, and somewhat intense flavor that’s somewhat comparable to mint. It’s very popular in Indian sweets, because it supports the digestion of milk and fat.
This tapioca pudding tastes amazing in this simple form, but if you desire, you could also add some rose water or orange blossom water to the mix.
Or add a pinch of saffron to the milk to give the pudding a beautiful pale yellow hue with a subtle hint of flowers from the saffron.
You could also embellish your pudding with seasonal fruit. For food combining, it would be best to cook the fruit into a compote.
Plum compote would be amazing, I think. Not only because of the sweet and sour flavor, but also the color contrast.
How to make
To make the pudding, you will need about 30 minutes to soak the tapioca pearls in the milk with the cardamom. Soaking helps the pearls to fully hydrate.
Next, choose a heavy pot with a solid base to reduce your chances of burning the milk. Milk has solids in it that tend to settle out and burn on the bottom of the pot if you aren’t careful.
You will be successful by using low temperatures and patience to heat the milk. Taking your time gives the tapioca more time to hydrate and cook. It also helps you to avoid scorching the milk. It never pays to hurry milk.
After the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir frequently during this stage, and pay close attention as the tapioca thickens.
When the pudding is fully cooked, the tapioca beads will swell up and become entirely translucent, and the custardy part of the pudding will thicken dramatically.
As long as you follow these tips, you’ll be successful. It isn’t as hard as it sounds.
What is tapioca exactly?
Tapioca is a starch extracted from the roots of the cassava plant, a species native to Brazil. It’s cultivated in tropical environments around the world where it is a dietary staple.
At grocery stores you can purchase tapioca pearls in small, medium, and large sizes.
When the pearls are cooked, they transform from opaque to translucent.
If you’ve heard of, or tried, a bubble tea, the “pearls” in those teas are made from tapioca.
Bubble tea pearls are large, and sometimes they’re colored black. For this recipe you want to use small or medium pearls, and they should be colored white.
Tapioca health benefits
Tapioca pearls are soft and chewy. They have a special quality that traps in moisture in a gel-like form.
This is a very simple starch that’s very easy to digest, particularly for individuals who are deficient, and/or having trouble gaining weight.
When combined with cooked milk and sweetener in this pudding recipe, the tapioca feels cooling and soothing in your digestive tract.
Some experts say that tapioca is rich in resistant starch, which is a food source for the good gut bacteria in your colon.
Tapioca is an important food for cleansing and detox. It binds to toxins that circulate in the body, and escorts them out through your stools.
Perhaps for this reason, tapioca is popular cleansing and fasting food in Indian cuisine.
Eggless Tapioca Pudding
For the pudding
- ¼ cup tapioca, (see notes)
- 2 cups whole organic milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar, (see notes)
- 4 whole cardamom pods, crushed (see notes)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 2 tablespoons cashews, chopped
- Rinse tapioca in cold water 2-3 times until the water runs relatively clear.
- Combine tapioca, milk, sugar, and cardamom in a medium saucepan and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Bring to a slow boil over low heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and stir frequently to prevent sticking as the pudding cooks, about 20 minutes. It will thicken as it cooks. (See the notes below for instructions on how to know when it is ready.)
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Portion into 4 small dishes.
- If you decide to add the optional garnish, heat ghee in a tiny skillet on medium-low heat. Add chopped cashews and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly golden brown. Add the golden-brown cashews evenly over the puddings while still warm.
- Enjoy warm, or refrigerate until set and enjoy cool. It is much better warm in my opinion.
Which tapioca should I buy?For this recipe you want to use small or medium pearls, and they should be colored white.
How do you know when the pudding is done?Keep in mind that the cooking time can be longer (or shorter) than 20 minutes, especially if your pearls are larger. The tapioca will tell you when it is ready if you watch carefully. When it’s fully cooked, the tapioca beads will swell up and become almost entirely translucent. The custardy part of the pudding will also thicken dramatically. Keep tasting and assessing at this stage. The thicker it is, the more critical it is to keep stirring.
Double the recipe?Use two tablespoons of tapioca for every cup of milk for a fairly thick pudding. If you want yours thinner, use less tapioca or more milk.
More sugar?I used about half the sugar than what most recipes call for. I find the sweetness level very sufficient, but you could always add more if you like. Someone who prefers sweet things will probably want more. I also used a very natural and unrefined sugar. An unrefined sugar is full of minerals and less sweet than refined sugars. See my sugar recommendation on Amazon
Cardamom pods or powder?I used 4 green cardamom pods and crushed them coarsely in a mortar and pestle. After crushing I picked out the outer shells by hand and discarded them. So the crushed seeds I used were coarsely crushed. Substitute crushed pods with ½ teaspoon powdered cardamom. ref: