Chilled Tapioca-Cantaloupe-Coconut Milk Dessert Soup (สาคูแคนตาลูป)
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup uncooked tapioca pearls
  • About ½ cup of sugar, more or less to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk (low-fat is okay) or cow's milk or a combination of both, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon salt (not optional; the salt makes a difference)
  • 2-2½ cups ½-inch balls of cantaloupe or honeydew melon (or a combination of both), kept chilled
  • 1 cup crushed ice, optional
  1. Put the water in a 1-quart saucepan; bring it to a boil, covered.
  2. Add the tapioca pearls and 1 tablespoon sugar to the boiling water; give it a stir to prevent clumping. Cover the saucepan and lower the heat just so the water is simmering instead of boiling furiously. After 5 minutes, give the tapioca another stir. Continue to cook until the tapioca pearls are translucent and the liquid becomes mucilaginous. This should take about 5 minutes longer. (The tapioca pearls will not become entirely clear; some will remain opaque white at the core even when they're cooked through. To be sure, taste a small spoonful to see if they're ready, i.e. soft yet chewy and no longer hard and gritty in the center.)
  3. Add the coconut milk and salt to the tapioca; stir to combine. While the mixture is still warm, add the remaining sugar to the pot, one tablespoon at a time, and taste as you go until the mixture is sweet enough. (If you plan on serving this with crushed ice, you need to add more sugar to the mixture than you think prudent as the ice will melt into the soup and dilute it; what starts out as adequately sweet could end up bland in the process.)
  4. Once the taste is right and the sugar has fully dissolved, cool the cooked tapioca until it comes to room temperature. (You can use this time to prepare the melon, if you haven't done so.)
  5. When the tapioca has cooled, decide whether you would like to serve this dessert a) chilled or b) iced. If A, chill the tapioca mixture until very cold. Then divide it among 4 dessert bowls. Divide the melons among the 4 bowls. Serve chilled. If B, skip the chilling; simply divide the tapioca soup among 4 dessert bowls (large enough to hold twice the volume of each portion). Then divide the melon balls and crushed ice between the 4 bowls, stir, and serve immediately.
The tapioca-coconut milk mixture can be made up to 3 days ahead. The cantaloupe (and the ice, if applicable), on the other hand, needs to be added just before serving.
Recipe by SheSimmers at