Saturday, September 5, 2009

Banana Coconut Tapioca Pudding

It is official.....I am a coconut! If you are what you eat, this summer I've gone from being a "nut" to a full fledged "coconut." I LOVE using Bob's Red Mill's raw shredded coconut and/or canned coconut milk (Trader Joe's has a great "light" version for around a buck). 

I've also been cooking a lot with ripe bananas. I was born in the year of the monkey, so this fruit is part of my cosmic nature. 

I love combining bananas and coconut because it tastes so tropical and delicious. This summer I created another way to include both these flavors into one yummy dessert. Here's the drill: 

PREP #1: add 1/3 cup tapioca (med/large - not the "quick" stuff) to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add water until you've reached 1 cup. Let stand for at least a 1/2 hour or more. The tapioca will suck up all the water and really plump up. 

PREP #2: In a large mixing bowl, mush up 2 to 3 ripe bananas

PREP #3: In a small bowl or cup, combine 2 tablespoons corn starch with 2 tablespoons cold water. Whip mixture with spoon until throughly combined and liquified. 

Once tapioca has stood long enough, you can move onto the cooking phase. 

COOKING PHASE: (medium heat)

In a saucepan, add the following (stirring constantly): 
~the tapioca (from Prep #1)
~2 cups dairy-free milk (I use a combination of soy and rice) 
As the mixture cooks, add the following: 
~One can coconut milk (light version is OK)
~1/3 cup sugar
~1/4 tsp. salt
~1 to 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
~the bananas (from Prep #2)
Keep stirring and add:
~Raw shredded coconut to taste
~Corn starch/water (from Prep #3)
~Cinnamon to taste (I add a lot because I love this stuff)
~Nutmeg to taste
~(optional) Ginger (powder) to taste
Keep stirring until the mixture becomes very thick and boils. 

Remove from stove and pour contents into individual bowls or one large bowl. Let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge. It tastes good warm, but it changes once it has completely cooled down. The pudding becomes more firm and the taste really intensifies. 

NOTE: I've also made this pudding with roasted almonds. Just put a couple of handfuls of almonds on a cooking tray and heat them for a few minutes at a high temperature. Be sure not to burn them. I usually do this in my toaster oven. Then chop them up and add to pudding as it is getting thicker. You can add them around the same time as the coconut. 

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