61. A Recipe for Coconut Cream Tapioca with Mango

For Neirin & Ianthe, who I’m sure will like this, &, in a couple of years, try making it as well as eating it

OK then, my little ones, this
like you is very much a work in progress
improving as we go along like you
& like you cheering, even ludicrous
full of potentiality to transform
now, except to you, things are never new
& this recipe gains from its mirroring
throwing back an individual & thus disordered mess
against the commonplace of branded uniformity
except they aren’t, but vary quite pleasingly
like little children again, each a separate self
so we’ll make these as small pots
to eat where & how we wish
sweet transient drops I offer

For it we’ll need
(it’s almost believable)
here to make 2 portions
                        30 g tapioca – not big balls for bubble tea
                                       but littler that’ll grow like seeds
                        30 g sugar
                        160 ml coconut milk – well mixed!
                        40 ml single cream (but rich!)
                        + either a can of mango purée
                          or 1 fresh, soft, ripe mango
                          depending on what you can find
things needed simply thus
                        place all but the mango in a little pan
                        & put on a low heat
                        stir it & check it
                        everything frequent
                        when it sets to boiling
                        lowest heat that’ll simmer
                        still stirring occasionally please
                        & in about 25 minutes or more
                        you’ll find this translated
                        not commonplace but creamy
                        when the tapioca pearls
                        have gained their translucence
                        soft, oh yes, as frogspawn
                        – meanwhile if you’ve got fresh mango
                        perfectly ripe1 & delicious
                        cut off & peel one side
                        then process into mush
                        put this inside 2 little pots
                                          ramekins or jars
                        so it’s a low level
                                            oh a fifth
                        then once the tapioca is ready
                        let it cool a little
                                             but not to set
                        then spoon on top
                        & eat at your leisure
                        just at room temperature2

[I have got this recipe by reconstructing a gorgeous pudding Ginie & I regularly buy at Waitrose, that combines the mango/tapioca/coconut we variously got in some Malaysian dishes at the C & R in Rupert Court3, but gaining a hit of pure West Country cream. The home made version is a little rougher, but fresher. The tapioca cream could be spiced – cook in a cardamom pod or two, sprinkle cinnamon – but, really, it’s just a good specific taste as it is.4 Try it, dear little children! Not just for its own sake, but as a post‑colonial relic, linking these grandparents’ childhoods, one of tropical tastes & Singapore streetfood (and beyond, the exoticism of cassava cultivation – beware the cyanide!), with the other’s stodgy but comforting English nursery food of the days of Empire, what all good children named frogspawn.]

 

 

1 is all, too & absolutely

 

 

2 Yes, it is a Laodicean dish! Embrace this! Never stark antinomies, fit only for Manichees, but all the infinite gradations of actuality.

 

 

3 We look forward to taking you now it’s reopened, as we took your mother & Uncle Nick.

 

 

4 Other variation is to use sago pearls – though our local East Asian store, Oriental Spice (now reborn as Oriental Phoenix), next to the launderette at Hockerill, doesn’t stock them, nor any of the local supermarkets shelve dry sago or tapioca.

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