Chefs' Recipes

Palisa Anderson's pandan, tapioca and young coconut pudding

Fragrant pandan, chewy tapioca and sweet young coconut combine in a more-ish Thai dessert.

  • 20 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus soaking
  • Serves 8
  • Print
"This is an oldie but a goodie," says Anderson. "We will often knock up this quick dessert as a snack and have a pot on standby around the farm – everyone is always hungry from working in the field and having this little sugar buzz keeps us going. The trick with any grain is to soak it overnight – not only will it help with cooking time, it will help unlock nutrients and rid the grain of phytic acid which inhibits mineral absorption. So soak away." Begin this recipe at least two hours ahead to soak the tapioca.


  • 1 small taro (50gm; see note), peeled and finely diced
  • Jasmine extract (see note), to taste
  • 500 ml (2 cups) coconut water from 2 young coconuts, 1 cup flesh reserved
  • 3 pandan leaves, tied
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls, soaked in cold water (2 hours or overnight)
  • 250 gm caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp pandan extract (or to taste; see note)
Salted coconut
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp rice flour


  • 1
    Cook taro in a saucepan of boiling water until tender (6 minutes). Drain.
  • 2
    Combine jasmine extract with water to taste to make up 250ml. Combine with coconut water and pandan leaves in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add tapioca, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until translucent (5-8 minutes). Add sugar, stirring to dissolve, then reduce heat to very low. Add pandan extract, stirring until green, then add coconut flesh and taro. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is sticky and a runny, gelatinous consistency (5-8 minutes).
  • 3
    For salted coconut, bring coconut cream to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour and ½ tsp salt until smooth, then whisk until starting to thicken (2 minutes).
  • 4
    Serve pudding warm or at room temperature with a drizzle of salted coconut cream.


Taro, jasmine extract and pandan extract are available from Asian grocers. To make jasmine extract, simmer ½ cup (firmly packed) jasmine flowers with 500ml water for 5 minutes. Then steep for 20 minutes. Whisk in sugar to taste. To make pandan extract, blend 15 chopped pandan leaves in a food processor with a splash of water, then pass through muslin or a fine sieve. Use more leaves for a more vibrant colour.
Drink suggestion: Passito-style sweet wine. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.