My family is the definition of blended family. Marriages, kids, divorces, re-marriages, more kids. We’re all a big, loving mish-mash of DNA that are always there for one another. A blended family can a lot of times mean a drastic age difference among siblings, and that’s what my sisters, brother and I have. My siblings range from 12 years to 8 years older than me, and that means that they had a decidedly different parental experience than I did.
Just imagine how different of a person 8 years can make you, let alone 12? My parents were not the same parents that my sisters or brother had.
I think a lot of sibling bonding comes from shared experiences. I didn’t have that with my siblings. When I was going into first grade, my oldest sister was headed off to college. The number of shared experiences I have with my three siblings is very small compared to a traditional family. So for that reason, I tend to latch onto the few things we did share. And one of those is tapioca pudding.
A few times a year, Dad would buy a box of instant tapioca pudding and we’d mix up a giant batch in a stainless steel bowl. We’d eat tapioca pudding for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert until we couldn’t even fathom the idea of eating another spoonful of the sponge-y beads. My sisters have the same memory as they were growing up. I’m not sure we ever actually did the tapioca-making together, but we all had the same experience, nonetheless.
Every now and again, I get a craving for a nostalgic bowl of tapioca pudding. The classic vanilla pudding is easy to whip up and you can find a recipe for it almost anywhere. I chose to literally spice up my batch with the classic flavors of chai tea (without the tea).
You can find tapioca pearls at most international food markets. Check in the baking area, that’s where I found mine.
Vanilla Chai Tapioca Pudding
Makes 2-4 servings
- 1/2 cup tapioca pearls
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 square cheese cloth
- 2 cups unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
- 1 vanilla bean (can sub 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Combine tapioca pearls and water in a small bowl. Allow pearls to soak for one hour. Drain.
- Place the cinnamon stick, ginger, and cardamom pods in the middle of the cheesecloth and tie closed.
- Mix tapioca pearls and all remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan, place the cheesecloth packet in the pot.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until tapioca pearls are completely translucent (there should be no white parts).
- Remove from heat, remove the spice packet and discard, spoon pudding into individual serving dishes and chill until cool.
Do you like tapioca pudding?
It is definitely one of those things that people either love it or hate it.