This Purple Sweet Potato Tapioca Pudding is naturally colored with purple sweet potato, flavored with coconut milk & filled with chewy tapioca pearls. Not only pretty, but very tasty! Great make ahead dessert to serve on dinner parties!
Hello everyone! It has been a while! I know I have been gone for long. Thank you for your patience. Happy to report that Bryan and I are all settled in at our new apartment.
We’re enjoying life in Bay Area so far. Things are a little bit more quiet. Trees are everywhere. Other than furniture shopping, we have been searching good food all over town. Oh yes, there’re lots of amazing food. To count a few, there’re Chinese dumplings, Indian curry, & Taiwanese boba drinks. That make Bryan and I happy. Also, we have been meeting up a few friends who used to live in LA and moved up to San Jose over time. It’s nice to be catching up with them.
While we’re busy getting the apartment ready, Christmas has come and gone, New Year sneaked in right after, and now, Chinese New Year is around the corner (1/25)!
For Chinese New Year, I’m just making this Purple Sweet Potato Tapioca Pudding. The word pudding (gao) sound similar to “high” in Cantonese and this has come to symbolize a higher income and position. In other words, it sums up to having a great year ahead.
Purple sweet potatoes are NOT purple yams (ube). But in the US, purple sweet potatoes are sometimes mistakenly for purple yams. Good news it that purple yams are very hard to find in the US, so the purple root vegetables in your supermarkets are highly likely to be purple sweet potatoes. There are two main varieties of purple sweet potatoes in the US. One with purple skin (Stokes) and one with white skin (Okinawa). You can usually find them in Asian supermarkets. Fall and winter (right now) is the peak season for sweet potatoes.
To make the pudding, first steam the sweet potatoes. Once they’re fork tender, let them cool. Now, move on to the tapioca pearls. Tapioca pearls are not boba. They’re much smaller and white in color. Once they’re cooked, they’re transparent. They have the same chewy texture like boba, that’s why they’re great in dessert. Cook them in boiling water for 10 minutes and then cover and set aside for 20 more minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside and sweeten with a little bit of sugar. Divide the pearls into your favorite containers.
Next, scoop out the flesh from the sweet potatoes. Blend with coconut milk & milk until smooth. Pour everything into a small pot. Add some sugar and melt the gelatin. Pour the mixture into the containers over the tapioca pearls. Chill in the fridge for 4 hours. You got yourself some pretty pudding.
The pudding is sweet, aromatic, creamy with chewy tapioca pearls. You can get a hint of the sweet potatoes. That natural purple color is absolutely gorgeous. And it’s delicious too! It’s a fun dessert to make ahead and chill until ready to serve. You can serve them at a dinner party too. Enjoy!
Purple Sweet Potato Tapioca Pudding
- 1 large or 2 small purple sweet potatoes (about 300 grams)
- 50 grams tapioca pearls
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar (divided)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold drinking water
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 400 grams canned coconut milk
- 200 grams whole milk
- Prepare 12 glass containers, ramekins or silicone molds. Each container should be able to hold 1/3 cup of liquid.
- Rinse the sweet potatoes under running water and rub the skin clean. Pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
- In a medium pot, add a few inches of water and fit a steamer basket inside. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the steamer. Bring the water to a boil. Place the sweet potato(es) in the steamer. Cover the pot with a lid. Reduce heat to medium, and steam until fork-tender, about 30 – 40 minutes. Once cooked, remove from steamer and set aside to cool.
- In another medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add tapioca pearls, stir and cook for 10 minutes. Cover with a lid, remove from heat and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain the tapioca pearls into a strainer and rinse under cold water until cool, stirring occasionally. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Add 5 tablespoons sugar and mix well with a spoon. Divide the tapioca pearls into the prepared 12 containers. Set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, add coconut milk and milk.
- In a small bowl, add the cold drinking water and sprinkle the gelatin over. Mix quickly and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Cut the sweet potato(es) into half. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Measure out 225 grams sweet potatoes. Add to the blender with the milk. Blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot. Add the rest of the sugar and cook over medium heat until sugar is melted. Add the gelatin and turn off heat. Stir until gelatin is melted.
- Carefully fill each container with the sweet potato mixture while stirring quickly to loosen the tapioca pearls. Transfer the containers to the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours. If using a mold, run a knife between the pudding and mold. Turn the mold over and pop the pudding out carefully. Serve cold.
- Purple sweet potato is sometimes mistakenly labeled as purple yam. If you’re living in the US, it’s mostly purple sweet potato because purple yam is very rare to find. There are two variety of purple sweet potatoes in the US. One is Okinawa (white skin), and the other is Stokes (purple skin). You can usually find them in Asian supermarkets.
- You only need 225 grams of steamed sweet potatoes for this recipe. But you will need to remove the skin and the tips at both ends, so buy one (or two) that is weighted 300 grams.
- Tapioca pearls are NOT boba. They are white in color and much smaller, slightly bigger than sesame seeds. They can be found in Asian supermarkets or on Amazon.
- When you are done cooking the coconut milk, milk, sweet potato, sugar & gelatin, you should have 4 cups of liquid.
- For storage, once the pudding is set, cover them with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. They can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.