Taro-Coconut Tapioca Dessert Soup

Whenever I finish dinner at a Chinese restaurant, I always cross my fingers and hope that dessert is taro-coconut tapioca soup — it’s my absolute favourite, much more yummy than tofu fa, red bean soup, or orange slices.

A couple months ago, it occurred to me that I could make this dessert at home and eat it whenever I wanted! I looked up recipes and was surprised at how easy it is make and how few ingredients you need. Check it out:

2 cups water
1/2 cup tapioca pearls
3 cups of water
1 cup taro (1-cm cubes)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup rock sugar

Measuring cup
1 small pot with lid
1 medium pot
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Wooden spoon
Paper towel (and rubber gloves, if your hands are sensitive)


  1. Boil 2 cups of water and add 1/2 cup of tapioca pearls. Gently boil for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tapioca is mostly translucent. Take the pot off the burner, cover, and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (about 15 minutes).
  2. Wash the taro, using rubber gloves if your hands are sensitive, then peel and cut it into 1-cm cubes.
  3. Boil 3 cups of water, add the cubed taro, and gently boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1/3 of cup rock sugar (about 3 medium-sized lumps) and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Stir to dissolve the sugar, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tapioca and simmer for 5 more minutes. You can add extra rock sugar or water/coconut milk to taste. (I like my soup thick and not to sweet 🙂
  6. Serve hot during the fall/winter, or chill and serve cold during the spring/summer.

You can find all of the above ingredients at most Chinese supermarkets. I went to T&T and they had everything I needed, including the cute little white bowls I served the soup in (made in Korea!).

The one caution about taro is that the hairy peel can be quite itchy. My hands felt a tiny bit prickly after handling the taro without the paper towel. Make sure you thoroughly rinse the taro and your cutting board after you peel it and again after you cube it, to get rid of any little hairs.

I’m used to seeing big, light purple, speckled taro (the dasheen variety), but when I was at T&T, and the only taro they had was Japanese taro (also known as eddoe or satoimo). It turns out there are hundreds of different cultivars of taro, and it’s used in recipes all around the world. If you want to learn more, you can read more about taro on Wikipedia.

I’m so glad I tried making this dessert soup! Now I don’t have to wait for family dinners at Chinese restaurants to get my fix ;P


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