Monday, February 15, 2016

Coconut Tapioca Dessert-- Valentine's and Family Days Weekend...

I had dinner plans down for Valentine`s Day... I wanted to make the family this incredible Creamy Lobster Fettuccine I made for V-Day long ago for my hubby when our twins were babies. The secret to the sauce was creamy horseradish mixed with whipping cream-- decadent huh? Well, sometimes life is better left unplanned... because adventure awaits. That afternoon, we took the kids-- all three of them on the subway together for the first time!! It was a big deal mostly for me, because my hubs and I were outnumbered (and I always dread tantrums and scene-causing in public, plus our mini-van is so blissfully convenient) with the three of them trailing us, winding through streets and tunnels, hopping on the bus, subway and then UPS Express train to Pearson (free the family day weekend)... Well, it proved to be quite uneventful thankfully, even having waited for an hour in queue for the train. I'm so proud of them. Back at Bloor station at 6:30pm, no way was I preparing dinner, so we asked what the kids wanted to eat, and they all shouted "pizza" in unison. So Pizzaiolo it is! Commuting altogether again will definitely be in the horizon when driving downtown just doesn't make economic sense, so there is my Happy V-day wrapped up in a bundle of happy pappy little smiles, first rides on the trains and no fussy cooking (because I was planning to grapple a pair of lobsters! :))

With Valentine's and Family Days back-to-back (did you know that today is a.k.a Canada's flag day?), I whipped up a simple Asian dessert with the proper red and white colours to pay homage to both.  Coconut Tapioca Dessert made with coconut milk, sugar, small tapioca pearls, chewy palm's seeds and bouncy coconut gels... all store-bought items-- all I had to do is heat, cook, drain and assemble :). Serve warm or cold. If cold, why not also throw in some vanilla ice cream for extra sweet measure. Toting to my parents for a dinner get-together-- aside from just making breakfast, talk about a non-cooking weekend to boot :)

Sébastien's favourite dessert.

Coconut Tapioca Dessert

1/2 pkg. (400 g) of dried tapioca pearls or about 2 cups (look for it in Asian supermarkets)

3 cans (400 mL) coconut milk
1/4 cup Chinese rock sugar or brown sugar
1/2 cup water (add more for desired texture)
1/2 can palm's seeds, drained and well-rinsed (the syrup that the seeds are in is super thick)
1 jar (340 g) coconut gel (look for it in Philippine aisle in Asian supermarket), rinsed and well-drained

NOTE: coconut gels come in many different colours. There is a lot of noise in the food industry about the harmful effects of food colouring. While I always use non-coloured coconut gel in this kind of dessert, I opted in this rare occasion to use red to give nod to the significant dates. Each serving had about 4 to 5 pieces of gel in the dessert. 

The coloured coconut gels tend to bleed, so best to add to dessert upon serving.

Bring a pot of water (about 8 cups) to a boil; carefully add the tapioca, and cook on medium heat until the pearls are translucent with a tiny bead of white in its centres. (Overcooking will cause the pearls to go mushy and sticky). Stir occasionally to prevent clumping and sticking. When done, rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly until no starch is felt on the cooked pearls. Meanwhile, empty the cans of coconut milk in another pot and cook with sugar and water on medium until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool. Adjust sugar and water to your preference.

If serving cold, let milk cool completely first before storing in fridge to further chill. Or you can add ice cubes or ice cream after 30 minutes. TIP: I put the pot outside on my patio in the cold to chill faster. Do not cool in fridge as it will bring up the fridge's temperature, and can make other foods unsafe. Follow below after images.

If serving hot, add the tapioca to the coconut milk, stir well and let sit for two minutes. Add the palm's seeds and gels to each serving (the coloured gels bleed so best to add just upon serving).

NOTE: I always heat up canned coconut milk before using. Although coconut milk is cooked during the canning process, I think it's a safer measure to heat it up thoroughly before using-- you don't know how long it has been canned. 

Left: Not Done Right: Done

Add tapioca to the milk and stir well. Just before serving, add palm's seeds and coconut gels in each dessert bowl. Add ice cream if you wish. Mmm.. yummy, refreshing and fun with different textures!

Best to eat same day. Leftovers are good to eat in one more day otherwise, the dessert soup gets thick and starchy, as the pearls swell and gelatinize.

The kids spent Valentine's Day making up cards for their school friends. They were celebrating after the weekend rather than before. My hubby and I got hearts from each one. Awwww!

Busy at work crafting and writing XOX.

A no-nonsense brekkie with eggs, bacon and best breakfast potatoes ever

Then off to our adventures on the train(s) we went...

On the 25 minute UPS Express ride from Union Station to Pearson Airport.

Family dinner at my parents with my siblings' families! Homemade Tandoori Chicken, Crab Cake Cones, Broccoli, Lettuce & Tomato Salad with Japanese Onion Vinaigrette, Pasta and Bolognese Sauce.

 I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine's Day and if you are in Canada, a Family Day too! 

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