First time I ever had tapioca (or sago as some know it) was in Malaysia about 10 years ago. I was in Kuala Lumpur for work and met up with an old school friend who was working and living there. He took me to a 'bubble tea' house and we took the monorail to this quaint little place designed to fit it seemed 30 people seated in an area the size of my bedroom. Everyone was friendly and Russell told me I was going to love it as I watched the huge milkshake-like glasses with enormous straws move past me. Eventually our order arrived. It was like milky sweet flavoured tea and at the bottom were little balls of jelly-like bubbles (the sago) which explained the width of the straw.
My first sip I was mixture of excited and perplexed. The texture of the sago reminded me of boogers but the tea was all so good. It felt so naughty. It tasted so great. They were beautiful and cold. It was hot and sweaty outside - we made our way through the menu and between us I think tried the entire menu. We had dinner and I headed back to my hotel room. It was a lovely evening.
Next day I was off to Bangkok but I couldn't move. I felt like someone had kicked me fair in the back and I was holding my breath. I struggled to get on the plane and called into the office and gave my apologies as I didn't feel well. I called my family - my Dad being in the Navy had done his fair share of tours of south-east Asia and I thought he might know what to do. My Dad asked me exactly where the pain was and asked me what I had eaten/drank in the past 24 hours. I told him about the bubble tea house and he laughed and asked how many I had: 'Oh about 8 or 9 of them'. He said 'Liss, you've given your kidneys an overload of tannin. You don't drink tea normally - your poor kidneys are teaching you a lesson'.
And it seemed they were. On Dad's orders I drank a lot of (bottled) water that night, about six litres and by the next afternoon I was fine. That night I went out for dinner with colleagues and was served coconut banana tapioca pudding - and fell in love. Not a booger in sight. Please give this a try if you haven't had it before - the kids will love it and so will you!
2/3 cup raw sago or tapioca
400g tin coconut cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large sugar banana
In a microwave rice cooker, place all ingredients with exception of the banana and stir well.
Place in microwave for 15 minutes. Remove, and leave to sit for 5-10 minutes.
Chop banana and then stir through chopping it up a bit more with the spoon as you go.
So friends - have you tried sago or tapioca before? Do you think you might?
Print this post in friendly format