Vietnamese Mango Tapioca Pudding

*The Vietnamese word for mangoes is xoài, pronounced soai.

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If you happen to be in Vietnam in xoài season, you have to try them. Seriously!

The mangos here are one-of-a-kind. I remember that sentiment being expressed in an endearing scene from the movie “Indochina” where the main character, a French colonist, handed her adopted daughter a plate of mangos that looked so juicy and delicious. I don’t remember much else about the movie but that scene has stayed in my mind for years.

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I also remember a phone call a few years ago with a Vietnamese friend of mine who’d just moved from New York City back to Saigon. “Finally I had a plate of Vietnamese xoài”, she said. “It’s juicy and sweet and fragrant. Sweeter than Mexican ones and juicier than those from Haiti…” I agree with her. When I was living overseas, when summer days got so hot that I lost my appetite, a perfectly ripe Vietnamese mango was all that I dreamt of.

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Mangoes are in season here now. Big carts of mangoes are lining on the streets from my way home to the market. They’re so fresh I can literarily see sap dripping from the stems  of the fruits. It’s not difficult to be creative with mangoes, both in savory dishes and in desserts. The medium-ripe, crunchy mangoes are really delicious in salad, like this shrimp and mango salad with mint and peanut I made last summer.

Today I made this Vietnamese-style dessert with ripe mangoes, coconut cream, condensed milk and tapioca. You can find tapioca in Asian supermarkets, and if you’re a fruit person like me, you’ll love this dessert at first taste. Mango cubes and tapioca add contrasting textures, and the coconut and mango flavors blend to make this dessert a perfect summer choice in just a few easy steps.

Take a look at the recipe below to see how to make it for yourself. Chúc ngon miệng!

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Vietnamese Mango Tapioca Pudding


Mangoes: 3 ripe ones

Coconut milk: 1 -1.5 cup (depending on how condensed it is)

Condensed milk: to taste

Tapioca: 1 cup


Pit the mangoes and cut into cubes.

Blend half of the mangoes with coconut milk and condensed milk, then put the mixture in the fridge.

Boil a pot of water. Add tapioca to boiling water. Stir regularly until the tapioca pieces become transparent. Strain the tapioca under cold water so it won’t become sticky.

Add tapioca, mango cubes into the mango and coconut mixture and serve.

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