Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pineapple Coconut Tapioca - Or Learning Spanish I Got A Completely Different Recipe Than The Chef Intended

The story goes, I'm learning Spanish.  Duolingo is a great way to get a basis in a language, so I have been practicing.  But once you get a basis, you want to stretch out a bit.

I thought if it worked for kids here in English, why not try Sesame Street?  Ok, so it's Plaza Sesamo and it worked quite well.  I can follow along Plaza Sesamo well enough that I'm smiling my way through it.

I picked up a cartoon called Franny's Feet, or what translates to the Magical Feet of Franny on V-Me (PBS) and I'm following it fairly well.  It is for a slightly older audience than my current level but that's how you learn.

And no matter what someone says about it, I still think it's a bit weird to have a kid try on other people's shoes, fall into a wormhole, then have a trippy adventure and come home only to find she "kept" something from the journey.  Sounds like something someone described on an acid trip to me, but it helps with my Spanish.

I thought I would try a cooking show.  I am a good cook, some of my dishes are excellent.  Just search this blog for some fascinating recipes.  Chef Laura is on a network called HITN which is out of Brooklyn, NY.  It does PBS one better since there are no damn commercials!

I watched Chef Laura Rosa Lopez make a Pineapple Coconut Tapioca dessert.  It looked like a "Drink" you might have, since when she ladled it out into the parfait glass it was still liquid.  It was still warm then so that may explain it.

But since my own Plaza Sesamo level Spanish got in the way, I found myself watching the recipe being prepared about 30 times on the DVR and then making mental notes.

I am sure what I did was something different than what Chef Laura did.  She folded Whipped Cream into the Tapioca to make it 'lighter' at the end.  After doing a lot of research, I came to the conclusion that if you are in a Hispanic family, you probably have your own recipe.

Therefore, here is mine.  I will give the Spanish recipe complete with my notes, then I will clean it all up and add the recipe I made.  My own heavily adapted recipe made a pleasant tapioca pudding with a virgin Pina Colada taste.

Since I still have the recipe as Chef Laura prepared it, I will definitely revisit her method.  It looked interesting, and I rather like the challenge - both of preparing it and of learning Spanish.

Next time I make this recipe, I will change the process.  I'll be soaking the tapioca in the juice from the pineapple and add in water to get to 1 1/2 cups.  Then cook the whole lot together.  It will add extra pineapple flavor to the recipe and bring it into a more tart balance since the coconut was rather sweet from the sugar that they use to process it.

Recipe In Spanish:

  • 1/3 taza de tapioca
  • 1 1/2 taza de agua
  • 1/2 taza de azucar
  • 1/4 de taza de coco rallado - grated coconut
  • 1 taza de pina fresca picada - pineapple chunks
  • 1 lata de leche evaporada - 1 can
  • 1 cda. de vainilla - scant tablespoon

Recipe in English:

  • 1/3 cup Tapioca Pearls
  • 1 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup grated coconut
  • 1 cup Pineapple Chunks in juice
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla


  • Soak the tapioca pearls in 1 1/2 cup of hot from the tap water (125F) for an hour, stirring gently every 15 minutes or so.
  • Cook at medium heat the tapioca pearls in the water with coconut and sugar until tapioca is transparent.
  • Add the pineapple chunks without the juice, and can of Evaporated Milk and reduce heat to medium low.
  • Add and mix in a Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract.
  • Pour the dessert into parfait cups and garnish.
  • Optional - For extra lightness, fold two cups whipped cream into the tapioca pudding.
  • Chill before serving.

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