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Coconut tapioca with lemongrass curd and fresh mango

The flavour of lemongrass lends itself to both sweet and savoury dishes. This dessert utilizes the zippiness of lemongrass to splice through the richness of coconut cream and accent the bounciness of sago pearls. 



Coconut Tapioca

  • 150 g (51/2 oz) dried white tapioca pearls
  • 3 green lemongrass stems, bruised
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) can coconut cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional, particularly if using a sweeter cream)

Lemongrass Curd

  • 3 lemongrass stems, white part roughly chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) lime juice
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg
  • 80 g (23/4 oz) butter, diced


  • Diced mango, or other fresh fruit, to serve
  • Julienned lime zest, to garnish


Coconut Tapioca 

  1. Bring 12 cups (three litres) of water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Pop in the tapioca pearls and bruised green lemongrass stems and simmer away over medium-low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, or until soft and only slightly opaque through the center, stirring occasionally.
  3. Drain the tapioca through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the lemongrass, and rinse with cold water. In a bowl, combine the coconut cream, salt and sugar, if used. Stir in the tapioca. Chill for one hour, or until thickened slightly.

Lemongrass Curd 

  1. Place the chopped lemongrass in a heavy-based saucepan with the lime zest, lime juice and sugar. Bring to just before the boil, then remove from the heat and stand for 20 minutes to infuse.
  2. Strain through a fine sieve and return to the saucepan. Add the egg yolks and whole egg, then whisk until creamy yellow in colour. Switch to a flexible spatula and stir continuously for seven to eight minutes as the mixture thickens to a custardy consistency, coating the back of a spoon; if you run a finger through it, the streak should stay put. Pour the eggy mixture into a blender or food processor and stand to cool for five minutes or so.
  3. Start the motor, then add the butter cubes, a few at a time, continuing to blend on a low speed until incorporated and smooth.
  4. Strain the curd into a bowl if you plan on using it all, covering directly with a layer of parchment paper to stop it from developing a film, and chill for at least one hour to cool completely. (Alternatively, strain into sterilized jars and refrigerate until needed; the curd will last unopened for up to three months, or one to two weeks once you crack in.)



  1. Divide the curd among four glasses. Top with the tapioca, then the mango, and garnish with julienned lime zest. Enjoy! 

TIP: Instead of granulated sugar, you can use palm sugar or even coconut sugar if you prefer, but for a truly bright-coloured curd, stick to the white stuff.

Excerpted from In Praise of Veg: The Ultimate Cookbook for Vegetable Lovers by Alice Zaslavsky. Text Copyright © 2022 Alice Zaslavsky.Design and Illustrations Copyright ©2022 by Murdoch Books. Photography Copyright ©2022 by Ben Dearnley. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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