Chinese desserts are so underrated. You either love them or avoid them. Popular in Hong Kong, Tong Sui (糖水) literally translates as "sugar water" a sweet dessert soup that's served warm or chilled at the end of the meal. I don't know much about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) but some popular dessert soups are known to have restorative properties and can help cool you down during hot summer months.
As Chinatown has been on lockdown for over 2 months, I found myself craving this comfort food that I grew up with, and made my own (despite the plastic packaging for the pearls), It was super easy to make, and even better, as I was able to use considerably less sugar. From red bean soup to black sesame, sweet silken tofu (dou fu fa 豆腐花) to walnut soup, I love them all, but Taro Tapioca Pudding has to be one of my favorites, so I started with this one.
Makes 6-8 servings
1 cup (160 g) small tapioca / sago pearls
1 lb (450 g) taro or sweet potato, peels and cut into small 1/2" (1 cm) cubes
11/2 cups (350 ml) coconut milk
1/2 cup (100 g) raw cane sugar
In a small pot, bring about 6 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add the tapioca pearls and boil on medium heat for 10 minutes until they start to become translucent. Stir the pot occasionally to prevent the pearls from sticking to the bottom of the pot. After 10 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Place the taro in a large stockpot, and add enough water to cover it all by half an inch (1 cm). Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until softened.
Add the coconut milk and sugar, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar. Strain the tapioca pearls and add it to coconut-taro soup, stirring to combine. Reheat if you prefer a warming soup, or let it cool, to serve.