May we begin by admiring the colour of this? Nature has the ability to tint this pudding (and these rolls) my favourite shade of purple, all thanks to the purple sweet potato. The ube type from Hawaii, if you’re lucky enough.
Speaking of Hawaii, I CAN NOT WAIT UNTIL SUMMER!
I know, I know, it’s only January and the term started like four weeks ago but all that’s been on my mind is summer. For me, it’s Christmas then summer. Oh the dreary four month periods between those two seasons? Meh, could go without. My parents are getting ahead of the game and arranging summer vacation plans already. This year is especially exciting because we’re heading to Maui! So ever since they announced that, I’ve been fixated on doing travel research and planning the itinerary details. Midterm next week? Let me finish reading this article on ‘Top 15 Best Beaches in Maui’.
A few years ago, my family and my best friend’s family spent our spring break in Oahu. I would consider it my favourite vacation up to date and have been longing to go back. The weather, the vibe, the landscape, the people, and the food was beyond enjoyable. After a pleasant hike up Diamond Head, my friend and I climbed up a tree and just lay on its branches until the rest of our party returned. A light island breeze and the warm beams of sun made it ideal to nap in. Just don’t fall out of the tree…
The farmers’ markets were bursting with local produce and exotic fruit galore! While on vacation, our diet was primarily papayas, so we’d stock up at the markets. Acai bowl in one hand and a backpack full of papayas (no joke, like eight of them), I’m one happy soul. I remember there was a mom-n-pop roasted ube stall at one of the smaller farmers’ markets. Their adorable daughter, maybe 6 years old or so, did the advertising: “sweet potato for sale!” The massive amethyst purple sweet potatoes were definitely enticing; how I wished I wasn’t so full from lunch. I pledge to eat more ube this summer in Hawaii, despite the heat, because they are so expensive in Canada!
To those that have been to Maui, I’d love to hear what the most memorable parts of your trip was! What would you consider ‘must do, must see, must eat’?
I’ve still got 8 exams and several months to countdown until paradise, so until then, these purple sweet potato tapioca puddings will provide us all with a taste of Hawaii. They are so easy to make and are especially great if you need to prepare a dessert in advance. Blend the sweet potato with almond milk and maple syrup, mix in the cooked tapioca, and then chill. I grew up eating tapioca pudding, whether it be the baked kind at dim-sum or my mom’s chilled mango tapioca pudding in the summer. Oh I’m thinking about summer again.
I considered topping these with haupia, a Hawaiian coconut milk pudding, but wanted to keep it simple so I went with coconut yogurt instead. A generous drizzle of black sesame tahini makes these extra special. Taaadaaa, a delicious vegan and gluten free treat! *jazzhands*
- ½ of a medium purple sweet potato, about 1 scant cup
- about 2 cups water
- ¼ cup small tapioca pearls
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or milk of choice
- 3 tbsp coconut cream
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp maple syrup, to taste (or sweetener of choice)
- Coconut yogurt and black sesame tahini, to decorate (optional)
- Wrap a washed sweet potato in aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 60 to 65 minutes, or until very soft and thoroughly cooked. Let it cool before attempting to peel it.
- Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Once at a boil add the tapioca pearls and boil for 2 minutes. Then, cover the pot with a lid, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tapioca pearls are completely clear and no white centers remain.
- Drain the cooked tapioca pearls over a very fine sieve and rinse with cold water. Set aside. This step can be done in advance. Store cooked tapioca pearls in a container in the fridge.
- In a blender or a food processor, blend the almond milk, cooked sweet potato, coconut cream, salt, vanilla extract, and maple syrup until smooth.
- Transfer the sweet potato mixture into a mixing bowl and use a whisk to mix in the cooked tapioca pearls.
- Portion into serving jars or bowls and top with yogurt if desired. Tapioca pudding is best enjoyed chilled so refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Top with black sesame tahini before serving.